101 Oceanography of the Pacific Northwest
This course will introduce you to the fundamental principles of oceanography by focusing on the waters that surround us - the Washington coast and Puget Sound. Topics including the geologic history of the Pacific Northwest, the physics and chemistry of coastal waters, marine foodwebs and ecology, and environmental concerns will be introduced using relevant and timely case studies. A lab section is run concurrently with the lectures. The lab work is designed to give students hands-on experience with the topics introduced in lecture and in the text.
Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:
- Explain the geologic history of the Pacific Northwest, and understand why our region is susceptible to seismic and volcanic activity and tsunamis
- Describe the fundamental physical and chemical properties of seawater, and explain the temporal and spatial variation in these properties
- Describe the major water currents and circulation off the Washington coast and in Puget Sound
- Explain the formation of waves, and understand the differences between the major wave types
- Explain why coastal waters are biological highly productive and diverse, and why the future productivity of such regions is uncertain
- Explain how the ocean influences life on land, and the role it plays in global climate
The class is structured as three lectures and one lab every week. The lab section is run concurrently with the lectures. Lab activities are designed to enhance and enforce concepts introduced in lecture and in the text. Class participation is expected, and attendance in lab is mandatory.
This course is intended for nonmajors. There are no prerequisites for this course, and a background in the sciences is not required.