Oceanography is the great, “big picture” science. The world’s ocean is the single biggest factor influencing the Earth’s climate, weather, and history of life on the Earth. It has served as a source of food, mineral resources, trade, transportation, and leisure for humanity since pre-historic times. The science of oceanography covers the biology, geology, chemistry, and physics of the ocean, as well as the history of marine exploration. All of these subjects will be covered in this class as we discuss and explore, for ourselves, the nature of the marine environment. Studying oceanography WHILE AT SEA is a unique opportunity that will give students daily opportunities to observe and explore, FIRST-HAND, the ocean, its impacts on the Earth, as well as the impact of humanity and terrestrial processes on the oceans.
Field WorkCountry: Hawaii, United States
Date: December 16, 2018
The Hawaiian Islands are the most famous island archipelago in the world. They are visited by millions of people every year due to their beauty and climate. However, they also serve as important examples of hot spot volcanism and ocean island evolution. They have a unique diversity of both endemic and non-endemic species of marine life.
Hanauma Bay State Park is a beach park and snorkeling area within the extinct Koko Crater volcano. The volcano is one of the youngest on the island of Oahu and formed during the resurgent stage of volcanism on the island. In this crater we will see typical Hawaiian marine life and will explore and discuss beach and reef processes.
On the hike to Makapu’u Lighthouse we will make observations related to the volcanic history of the Hawaiian Islands, including early and late-stage volcanism and coastal erosion. With luck, we will be able to observe humpback whales from the lighthouse overlook.
Finally, we will also visit Waimanalo Beach Park where we will observe debris from the “Pacific Garbage Patch” and do a beach clean-up project.
- Students will learn of the geologic history of the Hawaiian Island chain and the connection between volcanic processes and the sea.
- Students will gain experience in surveying and documenting coral reef environments and observe the relationship between the various forms of life that inhabit and/or build the reef.
- Students will gain a first-hand experience in the oceanic processes that impact coastal areas as well as the impacts that humans also have on the marine environment.