Jun 19, 2024  
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2019-2020 
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG] See drop-down menu above to access other catalogs.

NSCI 528 - The Ocean System

(3 credits)
Why is the ocean so big? Why is it salty? How deep is it? How does the ocean work ? Starting with these simple questions, this seminar investigates this complex system by looking at the way its components - the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere and biosphere - interact. The course begins by considering how plate tectonics shape ocean basins and where the water that makes up the oceans originated. The ocean’s physical characteristics have framed the origin and diversification of life across a variety of ecosystems.  The course looks in depth at habitats such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, tidal zones and deep-sea hydrothermal vents, as well as the characteristics of marine organisms ranging from plankton to porpoises. The middle section of the course examines the unique properties of the water molecule. The fact that water exists as solid, liquid, and gas and has extraordinary heat-trapping ability has important implications for Earth’s climate and local weather. So does the action of waves, wind, and density variations, which drive deep-sea and surface currents. Learners emerge with an understanding of the role that symbiotic relationships and other biological adaptations have in the dynamics of oceans, and how this is threatened by human activities. Throughout the course, profiles show oceanographers at work with technologies such as ocean-going robots and core-drilling programs that herald a new era of ocean exploration. Offered online by the American Museum of Natural History. For more information about this course and associated fees, please contact the College of Graduate Studies.