An introductory course to oceanography covering the dimensions of the science of oceanography, the physical and chemical properties of sea water, waves, tides, currents, life in the ocean, and the geologic structure of the ocean floor, environmental concerns, and human use of the oceans.

3 credit hours; no prerequisites; no recommended special preparation; basic reading skills required; partially satisfies natural science requirement for Assoc. in Arts degree in the community college and for the Bach. of Arts degree at the university; no laboratory or field trip required for this course, but concurrent participation on oceanography field trips or field-trip courses or in the Marine Option Program is highly recommended -- see below.

Dr. Floyd W. McCoy
office: Hale 'Imiloa 115;
telephone 236-9115*
laboratory: Hale 'Imiloa 117A;
home telephone: 263-5976
fax: 247-5362

* a message is recorded here, changed weekly, concerning field trips, assignments, etc.

Consultation hours:
Mon. & Wed, 0930-1230, Tues., 0930-1230.
other times by appointment (best to look for me first in the laboratory (room 117A), then in my office.)


Required: Garrison; Essentials of Oceanography, 3rd edition, Thomson
Recommended:  Butt, Russell and Grigg; Surf Science, U. Hawaii Press

Activities outside of class: 

A website of the week will be announced for ten weeks during the semester, from which either questions on a quiz will be based or a short essay might be required.  Documented attendance at a Marine Option Program (MOP) talk, to a visiting oceanographic ship, or to lectures/seminars in the Departments of Oceanography/Geology &Geophysics/Zoology at UH Manoa, can lead to special credit.

Ancillary Activities:

Numerous seminars, talks, symposia and exhibits occur throughout the university system and at various museums, you are particularly encouraged and welcomed to these.  Whenever possible, these will be announced in class.

The Marine Option Program (MOP) is a certificate program at most campuses of the university that encourages direct participation in the science, sociology, art, management, engineering and literature of the oceans.  MOP participation is essential to a career in oceanography within Hawaii.  MOP is an especially viable and active program at WCC; as a university-wide program, you may easily transfer MOP credits, projects, contacts and friendships to any campus following graduation from WCC.  Announcements concerning MOP events and programs are made in class and/or posted on bulletin boards in the MOP office, Hale 'Imiloa, room 118.

  Supplementary, non-required reading is in the library, both on reserve and on open shelves; these include magazines and books; you are encouraged to peruse this literature.

A selection of web sites involving oceanography is listed below.

The Aerospace Laboratory in Hale 'Imiloa, room 135, contains wonderful exhibits and images of the oceans from space.

"The sea lies all about us... the continents themselves dissolve and pass to the sea, in grain after grain of eroded land... for all at last returns to the sea - to Oceanus, the ocean river..."  Rachel Carson, American author, "Silent Spring", 1962

"Water, water everywhere... ."  Samuel Coleridge, American poet

Mode of Instruction:  Lectures that expand upon, and update, the information presented in the textbook; a special emphasis is placed upon descriptions of current research concepts and new information from this research; movies and videos compliment lectures.

Course Objective:  An emphasis on geological, physical, nearshore and environmental oceanography, in addition to politics/law of the sea - biological oceanography, marine technology/engineering, and the history of oceanography, are interwoven throughout the course (Zoo 200, Marine Biology, emphasizes biological oceanography).  The emphasis in OCN 201 is to provide an appreciation of: (1) the physical construction and impermanence of ocean basins on the earth's surface; (2) the global, grand recycling-mechanism provided by plate tectonics; (3) the characteristics, internal changes, stirring and movement of seawater; (4) the oceans' influence in determining climate; (5) management of the oceans by man, and (6) anthropogenic impacts -- past, present and predicted -- on the oceans .

Type of examination: written; questions require essays of varying length from short (single sentence) to longer (no more than 10 minutes) answers; some questions may involve plotting information on maps.

Examination/Grading schedule:

Short essays:  ten are planned, each based upon the website of the week        
One midterm: 1 hour, covering all material discussed up to the examination date; if this examination is not taken on the scheduled date, a make-up exam. will be given (this will be a different, and more difficult, exam.).
Final exam.: 2 hours, concerned with the entire course, with some emphasis on the last third of the course; must be taken on scheduled date.
Extra/special credit:  awarded for visits to oceanographic ships in port, for attendance at symposia, exhibitions and talks at WCC, UH-Manoa, Bishop Museum, etc., as well as for participation in various Marine Option Program events - before doing any of these, please check with Dr. McCoy.

Grading scheme: numerical grades calculated from an average of all test scores, with the midterm = 35%, the final = 45%, and quizzes/short essays = 20% of the total grade; total possible numerical grade = 100; letter grades assigned with:

                  A = 90 - 100        B = 80 - 89

                  C = 70 - 79          D = 60 - 69

                  F = < 60               CR/NC = credit/no credit

                  N = course not completed due to unforeseen difficulties; this grade assigned rarely

                  I = incomplete due to unusual circumstances and assigned only with permission of the instructor; no credit given until this grade is changed to an A-D letter grade - it is your responsibility to make this change.

Field Trips:  Not required but highly recommended:

         Marine Option Program:  various field trips, visits, and participation in marine activities at oceanographic laboratories and facilities throughout Hawaii; watch bulletin boards and the newspaper for announcements; no credit, no registration required; the Marine Option Program is a certificate program of the University of Hawaii with an active program at WCC; offices are in Hale 'Imiloa, room 118.

"So many questions, so many mysteries.  It is only by going down ourselves to the depths of the sea that we can hope to clear them up."  Auguste Piccard, French explorer

"Grey-eyed Athena sent them a favorable breeze, a fresh west wind, singing over the wine-dark sea."  Homer, Greek bard of the Archaic Period

Schedule of lectures and corresponding chapters in the textbook:

"All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not filled."   Ecclesiastes I, 7 (about 200 BC/BCE)

 "I never saw the use of the sea.  Many a sad heart it has caused, and many a sick stomach... the boldest sailor climbs on board with a heavy soul and leaps on land with a light spirit."  Benjamin Disraeli, "Vivian Grey", 1837

1 Introduction, metric (SI) system; Marine Option Program, 2,
latitude & longitude, map projections; geography of the oceans
Appendices I, III, & IV
---------------------- Geological Oceanography ---------------------
2 Geography & bathymetry of the seafloor 4
Continental margins 4
3 Mapping the seafloor 2
Structure of the earth 3
4 Plate tectonics 3
5 Underwater volcanism & hydrothermal vents:
geology/biology/chemistry 4, 12, 14
Geologic time - origin of the earth, oceans, atmosphere & life
1, 12, Appendix II
Paleo-oceanography and sea-level changes 5, 11, Appendix II
6 Marine sediments and fossils, marine stratigraphy, marine habitats
5, 13, 14
Seafloor sedimentary & biologic processes 5
Sampling methods 2, 5
------------------- Chemical Oceanography ---------------------
7 Chemical & physical properties of water 6
8 Heat budget of the earth & oceans 7
Climate & atmospheric circulation 7
-------------------- Physical Oceanography ---------------------
9 Review 1-7, 11-14,
Midterm Examination appendices I-IV
10 Temperature, salinity & density distribution at the surface 6
Horizontal circulation: Coriollis force; Eckman transport 7, 8
Horizontal circulation: geostrophic transport 8
Ocean-surface circulation patterns 8
11 Temperature, salinity & density distribution at depth 6
Light & acoustics in the ocean 6
Vertical & thermohaline circulation 6
Oceanic circulation patterns, El Nino/La Nina, Pacific Decadal
Oscillation/Atlantic Decadal Oscillation 7, 8
12 Shallow and deep-water waves 9
Internal waves & tsunami 9
13 Tides
------------------ Nearshore Oceanography ------------------
14 Nearshore (littoral) oceanographic processes 11
15 Beaches and coastlines 11
Estuaries 11
--------- Environmental/Political Oceanography ----------
16 CO2 cycle, global climate change, sea-level changes 6, 15
Marine pollution; International Convention for the Prevention of
Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Protocol) 15
Law of the Sea (LOS); Coastal Zone Management (CZM)
Appendix V

* Chapters are those in the 3rd edition of the textbook.

N.B.: The history of oceanography, the techniques, equipment and methods use in doing oceanographic work, as well as marine biology, are imbedded within every lecture rather than isolated into a separate series of lectures.

     "I must go down to the sea again, for the call of the running tide,
     Is a wild call and a clear call that cannot be denied..." John Masefield, poet "Sea Fever"


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