Introduction to Oceanography

Discipline: Environmental Science
Instructor: Genovese
Credits: 3
Day: null
Start: 1640
End: 1755
Field Work: Day 1 - Valetta - Monday, 29 July | Malta
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course provides an introduction to the scientific study of the ocean by examining the
geological, chemical, physical, astronomical and biological aspects of, and influences upon
the world’s oceans. Specific attention will be devoted to significant mesoscale processes and
features present in the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent waters. A variety of human-induced
stressors will be studied in order to understand their impact upon the health of our oceans.

Field Work

Country: Malta
Day: 1 - Valetta - Monday, 29 July

 July 29 (Valetta, Malta) The Field Lab will introduce students to a variety of oceanographic concepts, with the Maltese coast as our backdrop. We will be engaged in 3 major activities:

  1.  A visit to the University of Malta’s International Ocean Institute and Physical Oceanography Unit to learn about current and long-term research projects
  2. Land and Sea interactions:  a survey of the beaches of Malta to examine: a) the processes that transport sediment along the coast, b) how wave magnitude affects beach sediment composition, and c) wave origin and propagation as seas, swell, and surf.
  3. Snorkeling or intertidal surveys of near-shore or shoreline coastal habitats to correlate the benthic community type with sediment characteristics and wave exposure.
 You will make field notes on your observations at each site, along with supporting photographs as appropriate. In our next class we will have a Field Lab debriefing where we will discuss how our observations relate to the broad oceanographic concepts in discussed in class. These observations will provide a baseline against which comparative observations at subsequent ports of call can be made. Academic Objectives:
  1. After completing this Field Lab, participants will understand how coastal oceanographic processes shape near-shore ecosystems.
  2. Participants will connect the experience to course concepts through a written journal supplemented by a annotated photo log.
  3. This Field Lab will provide students with a baseline by which they can make comparative observations at subsequent ports of call.