3494.16 - Physical and Biological Oceanography

Course number
Physical and Biological Oceanography
For joining this single course, the courses “Earth, ocean and atmosphere” and “Marine Biology 1” is required.
To give an overview of the effects physical and climatic processes have on the marine ecosystem.
Biology of small organism in the sea. Environment in the boundary layers. Biology of the mixed layer in the open ocean. Freshwater run-off and tidal mixing in coastal waters. Coastal upwelling regions. Fronts in coastal waters. Tides, tidal mixing, and internal waves. The biology of major currents, gyres, rings, and eddies. Biological consequences of ocean circulation variability. Physical and biological aspects of global climate change in the oceans. The coverage will be global, but with a focus on the Northeast Atlantic and Nordic Seas. In addition to the textbook, students also have to present results from selected scientific papers, thus they learn to read elaborated and extended material and thereby get up-to- date knowledge on the field.
Learning and teaching approaches
Lectures and problem solving, oral presentation and written summaries of selected scientific papers. The presentations are graded.
Learning outcomes
On completion of this course students will be able to: 1. Fundamentally understand marine ecosystems dynamics and ecosystem functioning. 2. Have acquired knowledge about the challenges of life in the sea on scales from micro meters through to thousands of kilometres, from molecular diffusion and viscosity to tidal mixing and further up to large ocean currents and gyres. 3. Understand how bottom-up and top-down processes influence marine ecosystem dynamics. 4. Understand how physical and biological processes vary among regions such as estuarine, coastal and open ocean systems and understand how the physical processes affect the living organisms. 5. Understand how ecosystems will respond to weather, climatic variability and anthropogenic perturbation. 6. Understand the importance of managing and conserving marine resources.
Assessment method
Oral exam and around 4 presentations of scientific papers and written summaries of the papers. Each presentation is graded and average of these accounts for 25% of the final grade and the oral exam accounts for 75%.
Marking scale
Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems: Biological-Physical Interactions in the Ocean (2005). K.H. Mann & J.R.N. Lazier. 512 pages, Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1-4051-1118-8. Additionally, around 8 selected scientific papers, presented by the students, are also part of the curriculum. The papers are available on Moodle as pdf-files.
Eyðfinn Magnussen