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Marine Science A/B

Learning Outcomes

Marine Science is the study of the oceans on planet Earth. The course of study for Marine Science will begin with a brief look at the history of oceanography and the history of the formation of the earth itself. Students study the four major divisions of oceanography:  geological oceanography, chemical oceanography, physical oceanography, and biological oceanography. 

Geological oceanography is the study of the seafloor; what it is made of and how it "works".  Students will study the concepts of plate tectonics, continental margins, ocean basins, sedimentation, and the structure of the seafloor.  This study of geological oceanography will help us answer the question "Why are the oldest rocks that make up the seafloor only about 250 million years old when the oldest rocks found on the continents are over 4.5 billion years old?"

Chemical oceanography is the study of the composition of seawater. Students will learn about the properties of the water molecule, the structure and properties of seawater, how light is refracted by seawater, and dissolved gases in seawater.  Our study of chemical oceanography will help us the question "What makes seawater salty when the rivers that supply water to the oceans are not salty?"

Physical oceanography is the study of the movement of the water in the oceans. Students will learn about ocean currents, waves, and tides.  The study of physical oceanography will help us answer the question "How is it possible that global warming will lead to the next ice age?" 

Biological oceanography is the study of life in the oceans. Students will learn about primary production in the oceans, the factors that affect life in the oceans, the plankton (the drifters), the nekton (the swimmers), and the benthos (animals that live on and in the seafloor).  The study of biological oceanography will help us answer the question "Why is most of the life in the oceans found near the coastlines instead of in the deep sea?"

All courses are written to California Department of Education
standards and to national standards, as applicable.