This course explores the mineral, energy and food resources of the ocean and environmental impacts that arise from the exploitation of these resources. The focus is on offshore drilling for energy resources, exploitation of marine organisms, and pollution associated with human activity. This course consists of a lecture plus discussion section. It includes examination of the popular science writing and research science writing, including data presentation. Topics covered include:
The movement of water in the ocean: Winds and ocean currents; Stratification, mixing and deep ocean circulation; Residence times and box models
- Law of the Sea
- Mineral resources: phosphates (guano), manganese nodules, mid-ocean ridge minerals; carbon cycle and the oceans; energy demands on the planet; petroleum-producing sediments; and gas hydrates
- Oil spills (drilling, transport, waste discharge): offshore drilling; oil spill cleanup; and oil spill environmental impacts
- Collapsed fisheries: maximum sustainable yield; fishing techniques; fishing down the food chain; keystone species and ecosystem change; invasive species and globalization; ecosystem change and marine geochemistry; marine preserves; and aquaculture
- Boundaries of the ocean: coastal erosion; coastal development, reclamation, dredging and deposal of spoil; human waste products; coastal dead zones; amplification of toxins; and great garbage patch plastics
- Climate change: ocean acidification — shell hell; polar oceans; coral reefs; and sea level
A 3000-word term paper (25%), a 1000-word popular science article (15%), and a 3000-word paper incorporating editing suggestions (10%). Three exams will count for 15% of the final grade each. Example questions will appear in the weekly online quizzes and in class assignments. Questions include fill in blanks, labeling and drawing diagrams, problem sets, multiple choice, and essay questions. Quizzes and in-class assignments will count 5% of final grade.
It is intended for students interested in the resource and environmental issues associated with the watery 70% of the Earth’s surface; Science concentrators, especially in Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lecture 3 hours per week, discussion with GSI 1 hour per week.