This course provides an introduction to the study of oceans. Topics to be covered include: early ocean exploration and the development of the science of oceanography; tools and technology for ocean exploration; the origin and evolution of the Earth and its oceans; continental drift, sea floor spreading and plate tectonics; geomorphology of the seafloor from the continental shelf to the deep sea, including the global distribution and origin of the features such as submarine canyons, ocean ridges and rises, trenches and fracture zones; paleoceanography and the origin, distribution, and historical record of seafloor sediments; climate change and its driving forces; marine mineral and energy resources including the origin and distribution of petroleum and impacts of extraction, transportation, and utilization; salinity and ocean chemistry; the circulation of the oceans; tides and waves; climate change and sea level fluctuations; beaches, shorelines, coastal processes and hazards; pollution and other human impacts on the oceans.
Field ClassCountry: Mauritius
Day: 1 - Wednesday, 18 March
Mangrove forests and coral reefs harbor much of the biodiversity of tropical marine ecosystems. Mangrove trees and coral provide structural complexity to near shore marine habitat, allowing the co-existence of diverse species assemblages. When that structure is damaged or removed, these ecosystems can collapse. Mangrove forests have been cleared throughout much of the tropics for coastal development, while coral reefs are threatened by ocean acidification and other human sources of habitat degradation. In this lab, we will visit a mangrove restoration program associated with the UN Development Program and a local organization restoring island coral reefs, exploring both habitat types to learn about their ecology, conservation problems, and restoration efforts. Academic Objectives: 1. Explore general interactions between ecology and development 2. Learn of the effects of changing ocean acidity on coral reefs. 3. Investigate strategies for mangrove and reef restoration.