Introduction to Oceanography Lecture and Lab

Hilary Lackey

Mount San Antonio College,
Two Year College


In this course, we will investigate the geologic origin and physical dynamics of ocean basins, waves and coastal processes, the chemistry of seawater, and how biological activity affects the oceans. The lecture and lab includes field studies that give you hands on experience with physical and biological aspects of ocean systems. We will spend several class periods focusing on how to use case studies and data on atmospheric and oceanic factors to model and predict climate change, and to understand the interplay between ourselves and the Earth's climate system.

Course Size:

Course Context:

Introductory course at a community college. No pre-requisites. Most students are taking it to meet general education requirements. They must pass with a grade of C to transfer to a four-year college.

Course Goals:

At the end of the course, you should be able to:
  • explain the role of plate tectonics in forming ocean basin landforms.
  • describe the chemistry of seawater and understand simple chemical reactions in the ocean.
  • explain the impact of the oceans on weather and climate.
  • apply your knowledge about the structure of the oceans to predict distribution of sediments and life.
  • describe and predict natural patterns of climate variability in the world's ice, oceans and atmosphere
  • perform basic climate modeling using parameters such as greenhouse gas concentrations, ice cover, and sea surface temperature.
  • discuss a current environmental issue relating to the oceans, explaining the science involved and using your knowledge to recommend solutions.
  • interpret nautical, topographic, and bathymetric maps, cross-sections, graphs; and other data.
  • apply critical thinking and quantitative skills to scientific problems.


Quizzes, exams, homework assignments.


H. Lackey Ocean 10 Linked Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 224kB Jun18 13)