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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Neil S. Banas
OCEAN 240
Seattle Campus

Contemporary Issues in Oceanography

Selected topics of contemporary interest in oceanography such as hydrothermal vents, planetary volcanism, biogeochemical cycling, the ecology of Puget Sound, and the ocean's role in climate.

Class description

(***important registration info at the end! ***) Northwest Coastal Stories: Salmon, First Peoples, and the Science of Uncertainty

This course will follow Jonathan Raban's remarkable travelogue _Passage to Juneau_ on a tour through the human and natural history of the Pacific Northwest coastal waters. We'll discuss chaos theory and the circulation of Puget Sound; coastal ecology and climate change; the art and mythology of the Northwest tribes and the problems of ethnography; the Vancouver expedition and the Romantic Sublime. The unifying theme is the interplay between order and chaos, and how we cope (in science, in literary criticism, in political decision-making) with the limits of rationality and the limits of our knowledge. How do we, and how did the indigenous cultures on this coast, deal with natural unpredictability and all the dangers that result--from navigating a turbulent channel to managing a salmon fishery?

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This course will be driven strongly by student discussion and writing.

***NOTE: Ocean 240A and 240B are both part of a single, 5-credit, MWF class. Everyone must REGISTER FOR BOTH SECTIONS. If you don't, you'll end up with just 2 or 3 credits for 5 credits' worth of work! (Why there are two course numbers: you don't want to know.)

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.
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Last Update by Neil S. Banas
Date: 11/21/2003