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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rebecca A Woodgate
OCEAN 497
Seattle Campus

Advanced Special Topics in Oceanography

Class description

Recent years show unprecedented change in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean. What is currently known about the complex Arctic Ice-Ocean system and the ecosystems it supports? What will be the impacts of continuing change within and beyond the Arctic? In this interdisciplinary course, we will explore the interacting physical, chemical and biological components of the Arctic System, including: -- riddles of Arctic Ocean circulation -- defining roles of the sea-ice cover -- likely shifts in nutrient regimes and ecosystems -- and recent explorations of the seafloor, and consider the impacts of Arctic Change on global climate, native communities, and future exploitation of an ice-free summer ocean.

Student learning goals

The aims of the course are to develop: -- an understanding of how the Arctic ocean system works -- an understanding of observed and potential changes in the Arctic and impacts of these changes in the Arctic and beyond -- an appreciation of why we should care about Arctic Change. Skill development: To thrive in research (and other careers) needs skills beyond scientific data analysis, for example: -- discerning inquiry -- coherent communication (written and oral) -- competence in more than one discipline.

General method of instruction

Lectures, class presentations, written homeworks.

Recommended preparation

This is class is aimed at Oceanography graduate students. Advanced undergraduates may register for Ocean 497 with instructor approval.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments are both written and oral. There will be no tests or final exam. Written Assignments: There will be two written assignments: - the first written assignment, due end of week 5 (27th April 2012), will be an essay assignment, including some literature review (reference list of at least 5 papers) and some thoughtful analysis. We encourage you to create an original graphic, flow diagram, table, etc to help convey your analysis. - the second written assignment, due end of week 10 (1st June 2012), will be to develop an experimental plan, suitable for an interdisciplinary 1-year Arctic project. Details (including topics from which to select) will be given during class. Oral Assignments: Each Wednesday (starting week 2, but excluding weeks when written assignments are due), there will be a ~ 20-30 min student-led discussion of a published paper. Papers will be selected (with class input) a week in advance. Everyone should read the assigned paper before the class. The main points of the paper will be presented by a team of students in a ~ 10 min oral presentation, to be followed by a ~ 10-20 min class debate. Each student will help to lead one such presentation during the course, and all students will be involved in the weekly class debates. More details will be given in class.

Course grade will be determined from - 2 written homeworks (each 30% of the grade) - 1 team-presented oral review of a published paper (20% of the grade) - class participation, especially in the weekly paper reviews (20% of the grade).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Class website
Last Update by Rebecca A Woodgate
Date: 02/15/2012