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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nathan Mantua
ENVIR 330
Seattle Campus

Climate Change Impacts on Marine Ecosystems

Links the physics of climate to marine ecosystem processes, exploring both observed climate impacts from the past and projected ecosystem changes due to human-caused climate change in the future. Case studies include polar, sub-arctic, temperate, tropical, and upwelling ecosystems, and ocean-acidification and its projected impacts. Required: high school or college physics and algebra with a basic understanding of Newton's Laws and the ability to comprehend and construct vector diagrams. Offered: jointly with FISH 330.

Class description

This course provides an in-depth introduction to the role of large-scale to local-scale climate processes as agents of change and structure in marine ecosystems. Students will explore the fundamental physical processes linking changes in the ocean with changes in ecosystems. Once a foundation for understanding the biophysical impacts of climate variations is set, lectures will focus on the impacts of large-scale patterns of climate variability and climate change--including the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and human-caused global warming--on marine ecosystems. While the primary focus of the course will be climate impacts on ecosystems, students will also learn the basics of human-caused ocean acidification and its projected impacts on marine ecosystems. Case studies focused on tropical, temperate, upwelling, sub-arctic, and polar marine ecosystems will allow students to apply their understanding for fundamental processes of biophysical interactions to present-day concerns about future climate change impacts on marine ecosystems. Daily ecology vignettes will present a 5 -10 minute overview of the life history of a different marine animal so that by the end of the quarter students will have a collection of material describing a range of habitat requirements and sensitivities for different species that will enrich their understanding of the ecosystem case studies.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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.
Last Update by Nathan Mantua
Date: 03/25/2010