Introduction to Ocean Science

Lauren Sahl

Maine Maritime Academy,
Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


This is a survey course covering the geology, biology, chemistry and circulation of the ocean.

Course Size:

Course Context:

This course is an introductory course with no prerequisites and does not serve as a prerequisite for other courses. It is taken by students majoring in business, marine engineering and marine transportation. It is required for some of the students, for others it is an elective.

Course Goals:

Students should be able to:
  • find and use tide data on the internet.
  • interpret an unfamiliar navigation chart.
  • use GeoMapApp to create a bathymetry profile for anywhere in the ocean.
  • predict Ekman transport in unfamiliar wind situations.
  • predict the direction of geostrophic currents given a horizontal pressure gradient.
  • predict locations of major bathymetric provinces based on the locations of lithospheric plate boundaries.
  • identify regions of active seismicity based on locations of lithospheric plate boundaries.
  • predict upwelling and downwelling given a wind field.
  • read and understand any news item with oceanography content.
  • understand oceanography well enough to make informed decisions when voting.
  • know what currents they are likely to encounter when they set out on an ocean voyage.
  • take precautions so they do not introduce invasive marine species.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

The discipline-related goals are achieved through a combination of lectures, in-class activities and labs. In each setting understanding is emphasized, rather than rote memorization. Students are assessed in a variety of ways including, answering reflective questions, being given tasks where a deliverable is required, and being given a situation and asked to analyze it.



Syllabus for Introduction to Ocean Science (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 34kB May29 13)