GEOL 220 Oceanography

Fall 2019

Instructor: Dr. Diana Boyer

MW 11:00-12:30; SIMS 113C


Office: 212B Sims                                

Office Hours: Tues 9:00-11:00 and by appointment


Course Goals and Learning Outcomes:  The goal of this course is to introduce you to the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of our world’s oceans.  Through the course of this semester you will begin to understand how vital the ocean is to the balance of our planet and appreciate the dynamic nature of the interplay between ocean, climate, and life on Earth. Upon completion of this course students will be able to:


Text: Garrison, Tom, 2012, Essentials of Oceanography, 8th edition, 298 p. 



6 quizzes-lowest score dropped                     20%

In class/homework assignments                    15%

3 exams                                                          45%

Final exam (cumulative)                                 20%


Blackboard: All grades will be posted on Blackboard, as well as links to relevant information and the PowerPoints from lecture. Please be sure to check in regularly.


Tentative Schedule-subject to change

W Aug 21

Introduction to Oceanography, Why study the ocean?

Chap. 1




M Aug 26

Where do oceans come from?

Chap. 1, 2

W Aug 28

What is the shape of the ocean? Plate tectonics

Chap. 2




M Sept 2

Labor Day-No Class


W Sept 4

A muddy history?  What sediments can tell us about the past.

Chap. 3

M Sept 9

Why is water sticky and other fun facts.

Chap. 4

W Sept 11

Who, what and where of ocean chemistry

Chap. 4




M Sept 16

What makes the ocean salty? How do you make an ocean acidic?

Chap. 4

W Sept 18

How do you make the wind blow?

Chap. 5




M Sept 23

What is the most dangerous part of a hurricane?

Chap. 5

W Sept 25


Chap. 1-5




M Sept 30

Are all hurricanes the same?

Chap. 5

W Oct 2

How does atmospheric circulation influence the ocean?

Chap. 6




M Oct 7

How do you stir up the ocean or is it already well mixed?

Chap. 6

W Oct 9

What is El Niño? What is a wave?

Chap. 6, 7




M Oct 14



W Oct 16

Can you outrun a Tsunami? How big is a tide wave?

Chap. 7




M Oct 21

What do the edges of oceans look like and why? Why is there sand on the beach?

Chap. 8

W Oct 23

Erosion v. deposition; who will win? How is Myrtle Beach different than LA beaches?

Chap. 8




M Oct 28


Chap. 5-8

W Oct 30

What is life? Where is life?

Chap. 9




M Nov 4

What are plankton and why do we care?

Chap. 9

W Nov 6

How much energy is in a tuna sandwich?

Chap. 9




M Nov 11

What is an animal? What is a marine community?

Chap. 10

W Nov 13

Who lives at the beach? What is so special about coral reefs?

Chap. 10




M Nov 18

Whale falls and other extreme environments

Chap. 10

W Nov 20

Are there enough fish in the sea?

Chap. 11




M Nov 25

Exam 3

Chap 9-11

W Nov 27






M Dec 2

Environmental concerns

Chap. 11

R Dec 5

Final Exam 8 am

Chap 1-11