Notes on the course: The aim of the class is to be broad, informative and fun: you should end up being excited about the oceans and have a decent feeling for what we know, don’t know and want to know about them. We will use numbers to describe things but will not rely much on mathematics because this is an introductory class and most of the people who take it do not have mathematical backgrounds.
We will cover many, diverse aspects of the oceans in this class, from the broadest planetary context to the nature and origin of water, the nature of ocean currents, waves, buoyancy salinity cycles, interaction with the atmosphere and influence on climate; the distribution and nature of life, and we will go beyond to consider the buried oceans of other planets and satellites and their relation to the likelihood and distribution of life elsewhere.
This course is focused on developing an understanding of how to solve problems relating to the oceans and climate. We will focus on ways humans interacts with the oceans, and discuss the scientific underpinnings of our understanding of this important part of the Earth’s system. You will learn about the geological, biological, chemical, physical,and climatic principles in our discussions of the following topics:
How water affects climate:
The properties of water and the cycling of water
The greenhouse effect and global warmingUnderstanding regional climate change:
Climate variability and winter storms in Southern California: El Nino
Why the poles matter for understanding climate change
The role of ocean circulation in climate change
Past climate change on our planet – telling history from mud
Why do we have oceans?
Finding water on other planets
Coastal development and coastal processes
Waves and Tsunamis
Tides and tide pooling
Weird marine critters
Ocean acidification: the biggest problem plaguing the oceans in the 21
How the oceans take up carbon dioxide emissions
How is it that every other breath you take is from a marine plankton?
Overfishing and sustainability
You have several opportunities for interaction. First, please ask me questions in the lectures. This is the main way I can tell whether or not I am hitting the right notes: I need your feedback and right there in the lecture is the best place and time to start. Second, there are “labs” (UCLAspeak for “discussion/interaction sessions”) run by Paul and Junko in which you are specifically encouraged to ask lots of questions and interact with them. Third, my office is Geology 2659 and you are welcome to see me to discuss the subjects of this class (I have office hours, or you can send me email if you want to be sure that I’m there, or take your chances and stop-by). Email is another good way to interact with me: phone is not a good way (because I don’t answer the phone or check my phone messages).
The course book is there for background. You will benefit from reading the book in parallel with the lectures (ideally before the relevant class), and as a result reading that you should complete before each lecture, and a pre-lecture quiz on the reading which is on the CCLE course website. You are encouraged to read ahead as much as you like(in your copious free time). I have provided links to where you can buy second-hand copies. limited number of copies are available at the science library reserve desk, and I also have a few copies that you can borrow from me. There are many other, similar introductory level books and earlier editions of the same book. In my mind they’re all about the same; this one is slightly better than some that I have seen.
You are responsible for all lecture materials. Lectures will start on time and end on time. PDFs of the lectures will be posted online, but since pdfs can not show movies or animations and have no sound, these may not be an effective substitute for attending class. You get credit for attending lecture, and by far the best thing to do is attend the lectures and use online material and the book to supplement. All cell phones must be turned off during lecture. If you are talking to your neighbors during a time in the lecture when we are not having group or class discussions, I will ask you to leave. If you want to talk to a friend or neighbor, leave the classroom. If you have to leave early or come in late, please sit near a door and be quiet on entering/leaving. You must go to the labs in order to have access to 30% of the final grade that will be allocated from them. Labs are assigned 1) as a supplement to material in the textbook and lectures, 2) to make sure you are keeping up with the material and understand how to apply the concepts covered in class, and 3) to help you prepare for quizzes and exams. You should find some of the labs extremely easy and others more challenging. Working in groups is recommended. Course grading: The various graded aspects of the class are not there to trip you up. They are there to focus your attention on the key points of the class and to enhance your remembering the material. The final grades are weighted between different components.
Weekly online pre-lecture quizzes based on reading, open book: 12%
Participation in class using iClickers: 12%
Science communication project: 8%
Lab activity: 30% (will drop lowest score)
Midterm exam: 15% (multiple choice)
Final exam: 25% (multiple choice)
The answer to the inevitable question: “do you grade on a curve?” is “yes but the curve is usually less than 2% in the past 3 years”. You can assume if you do the reading, come to lecture and lab and do the assignments, then you will get a reasonable response in terms of grades, and that you’ll know how you are doing as the class progresses, so there should be no surprises. We’ll have some extra-credit exercises as well. If you want to get an “A” you can, by working at it.
I will make the midterm and final exam questions (probably 50-75 in number) available roughly a week before the exams. These tests will consist of a subset of these questions, possibly with a few extra questions added.
There are no make-up exams or quizzes or labs. These will not be graded because they place a disproportionate burden on the TAs. No electronic devices may be used during exams. If you are going to miss a lab, contact all of the TAs ahead of time and ask to attend a different section. If you are sick/in an accident, let us know as soon as you are not in danger and can be in contact, and provide documentation to be able to make up the lab.
12% of your final course grade is based on the weekly online pre-lecture quizzes that you take on CCLE. These are short multiple-choice quizzes that ask questions about the material inthe reading. First read the material and then take the quiz.
Questions are randomly selected from a question bank that I’ve set up containing multiple
choice and true/false questions. Quizzes will close thirty minutes before the following lecture.
You will have 60 minutes to take each quiz. There will be 10 quizzes. You can drop your lowest
score and some of the quiz questions will show up the midterm and final. The first quiz needs to
be taken before this Friday’s lecture, and the subsequent quizzes need to be taken before
12% of your final course grade is based on participation in lectures evaluated using
iClickers. Lecture attendance is mandatory and iclickers are mandatory. Attending lectures
is the best way to learn the material and to maximize your overall performance. iClickers will be
used to award participation points so please get one and bring it to each class. Exam questions
may be drawn from the topics discussed in lecture but not covered in the textbook. Your
questions are encouraged, so please do not hesitate to ask. Attendance of all but three of the
lectures and answering all of the iClicker questions in class will result in result in your being
given full participation points.
8% of your final course grade is based on an ocean or climate science communication. This is usually the favorite part of this class. You can make a public service
announcement, music video, commercial, documentary, detailed web page, write an article for
an undergraduate science communication journal, make a comic book, or do something else
(text-based entries should have figures and 1000-2000 words of text). You can work in groups
of 2-3 people on a video project and in a group of 2 for a webpage or other types of projects.
Videos should be 1-3 minutes long, and all projects are due on the Monday of Week 7. Please
send me an email with a youtube link and a subject line – ocean/climate science communication
project. The youtube description should be publically available and state that it is your UCLA
ESS 15 ocean/climate science communication project for Prof. Tripati in Winter 2014. The TAs
and I will screen these videos and show the best ones on the last day of class. We will vote for>the top videos using the i-clicker and the top group will not have to take the final!
Ideas for topics include: Oceans on acid, Sexy sea slugs, Sustainable sushi, Desalination, Tidal power, Coral bleaching, Overfishing, Life in the abyss, Amazing cephalopods, Plastics in the ocean, Penguins and climate change, Whaling, Evolution of life in the ocean, Black smokers, and Sea ice. You will see examples of great science communication projects in lectures.
Also here is a link to the class youtube channel with videos from previous years: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1UEJdZ1r6RmdVdfoeWBCcFXFR26lVND3
Exams will consist of multiple-choice questions drawn from the lectures and reading. Multiple-choice questions will use SCANTRON forms. All students must bring a number 2 pencil to the exams and a valid student ID. You may bring one page of your own hand-written notes (front and back) that you bring to class with you and turn in at the end of the exam. No personal electronicdevices are allowed during any type of ESS 15 examination. Retro-drop forms will only be considered for students with verifiable proof of medical or legal cause.
30% of your final course grade is based on the lab for the course
33% is for lab attendance and completion of weekly exercises.
50% is based on weekly lab quizzes.
17% is based on the lab final