OCEAN 200 Introduction to Oceanography

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“America is a nation intrinsically connected to and immensely reliant on the ocean. All citizens—whether they reside in the country’s farmlands or mountains, in its cities or along the coast—affect and are affected by the sea.” This quote is from a government-commissioned report entitled “Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century”.

We have 4 main goals for students taking this course. Students will:

  1. gain an understanding of the importance of ocean processes for the functioning of our planet,
  2. acquire the basic skills required to understand and quantify how the ocean works, 
  3. experience the excitement of ocean studies through exposure to the latest oceanographic findings, and
  4. understand the interdisciplinary nature of ocean processes through examination of specific case studies.

To accomplish these goals, the course is divided into three sections. In the first section, you will learn about the earth’s water cycle, formation of ocean basins, and large-scale wind patterns and ocean circulation. In the second section, you will learn about the connections among dissolved compounds in the ocean, global patterns of primary productivity, and the health of marine food webs and ecosystems. You will also learn about the oceans role in global warming and changes in the Arctic Ocean in response to a warming planet. In the third section, you will learn about the impacts and interactions between humans and our local waters by examining the characteristics of Puget Sound. Each case study will build upon what has been learned in the previous sections and will examine in more detail how humans are influencing these systems.

Ocean 201 is an 2 credit companion lab course, open to both majors and non-majors. It is required for majors and optional for non-majors.