MDCC Wolfson Campus                              

Department of Natural Sciences



Instructor: Dr. Tony Barros

Office: 1522

Phone: 305 237 3754

Email: and

Office hours: As posted at my office room 1522:

Textbook: Essentials of Oceanography Trujillo and Thurman, Tenth Edition, Pearson Hall.

To do well in this class:

Read this syllabus completely!

Do not miss classes!

Buy the book and begin reading it! The book is available at Wolfson Campus bookstore (Buy there it will save you time), you need to have the book for the first week class.

Log in on the webpage of the book is free you could find the link on my webpage.

Your textbook has an excellent web page loaded with learning tools. Such as flashcards, crossword puzzles. Do as many as you can. Take the quizzes on the webpage! I will use many of these questions on the exams.

If you have a question or doubts, email me! You are very much welcome to see me during my office hours. Posted on room 1522.

Do your homework: Read the book and power-points before the class lectures.

In order to do well in this class should study a minimum of 6 hours a week.


The Oceans are the single most dominant and distinctive feature of this planet. They control our climate, modify and mold all Earth's surface features, and nurtures the life that was born from them. This life now has a myriad of forms, some of which have left the oceans and colonized land. Among these life forms are we the humans who have the curiosity to study this unique and most fascinating feature of the Earth the oceans.

Miami Dade College Learning Outcomes

As applied to this Course:

1. Use quantitative analytical skills to evaluate and process numerical data.

2. Solve problems using critical and creative thinking and scientific reasoning.

3. Formulate strategies to locate, evaluate, and apply information.

4. Demonstrate knowledge of diverse cultures, including global and historical perspectives.

5. Use computer and emerging technologies effectively.

6. Describe how natural systems function and recognize the impact of humans on the environment.

Course Overall Goals:

1) Understand that the Oceans are the single most dominant and distinctive feature on Earth and that they make our planet unique.

2) Gain an understanding of how the Oceans control EarthÕs climate making our planet fit for life.

3) Learn that the bottom of the Oceans is constantly changing due the Plate Tectonics Cycle.

4) Learn that Plate Tectonics makes our planet an unique place in the Solar System.

5) Describe the birth and death of an ocean basin.

6) Describe the chemical composition and physical properties of sea water.

7) Learn that the ocean provides a three dimensional habitat for a diversity of life forms.

8) Understand that the Oceans provide humans with important economic resources.

Course Specific Objectives

After completing this course the students will able to:

Describe the historical development of Oceanography.

Discuss the development of Oceanography as a scientific discipline.

Describe the role Foantaine Maury in the development of Physical Oceanography.

List and describe the major branches of modern Oceanography.

Name some modern research vessels and describe how each is used to explore the oceans.

Locate and describe the features of continental margins.

Differentiate between passive and active continental margins.

Discuss the origin and role of submarine canyons and turbidite currents.

Locate and describe the various features of the oceans basins.

Describe and give examples of deep sea trenches and ocean ridges.

Discuss the role of fracture zones and tectonic ridges.

Describe volcanic activity within and along the margins of the ocean basins.

Discuss the origin and evolution of seamount, guyots and atolls.

Define salinity, explain how it is measured, and describe some conditions that cause it to vary.

Name the major ions found in seawater and discuss the relationship between salinity the relative amounts of these ions.

Identify some substances that they can be removed from seawater.

Identify and describe the temperature and density zones found in the oceans.

Describe nutrient, oxygen and carbon dioxide variations in the water column.

Discuss the importance of microscopic plants and animals that live in the mixed layer.

Describe the different life zones and most important marine ecosystems.

List direct and indirect methods of studying sea floor sediments and identify some kinds of information obtained from direct samples.

Describe the main families or groups of marine sediments.

Name the most important groups of ooze-making organisms and give examples of each.

Describe seafloor sediments and identify the sources of these sediments.

Discuss the origin and role turbidites.

Describe the position and physical characteristics of the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and ozone layers.

Describe how convection cells in the atmosphere are created and how they affect global climate and wind patterns.

Given a weather map, locate warm, cold and stationary fronts; describe the weather conditions around such fronts and predict the daily weather in those areas.

Describe the life cycle of a hurricane

Describe the causes, effects, and socioeconomic implications of the ENSO.

Define ocean currents, describe the general pattern of surface ocean currents.

Define wind driven circulation and discuss how planetary wind patterns and the Coriolis force control surface ocean currents.

Define Geostrophic flow and Western boundary effect.

Define Thermohaline Circulation.

Describe the major sources of deep-water.

Disccuss ways in which density currents begin and explain why they are important.

Describe how upwelling occurs and explain why upwelling is essential to some marine ecosystems.

Beepers and Cell Phones:

Students who have cell phones are asked to turn them off before entering class. If a cell phone rings (or beeps) that student will be asked to leave the class for the rest of that class meeting. If this happens more than twice during the semester the student will be asked to leave the class permanently.


Students are expected to attend all scheduled class meetings. A student who has more than 4 unexcused absences (morning classes) and 2 (night classes) it will be dropped from the course. But students must remember that the instructor has the right to drop a student for poor attendance, but it remains the student's responsibility to withdraw if he/she wishes to receive a grade of W.

3 tardies = 1 absence


Plagiarism or cheating in any class-work will result in an F for the entire course


Your final grade will consist of three hourly exams each worth 100 points, a Final comprehensive exam worth 100 points, which will include material from all chapters covered during the course. The lowest grade of the these 4 exams will be dropped

3 Exams                                                        300 points

1 Final Exam                                                 100 points

Total                                                             400 points

All students are required to bring at least one #2 pencil to each test.

Students will not be allowed to leave the classroom while working on an exam!

GRADING SCALE A=300-270 B=269-240 C= 239-210 D= 209-180 F=<179

MAKE UP EXAMS WILL NOT BE GIVEN unless the student notifies the instructor on the day of the exam. In addition the student must also presents to the instructor upon his/her return to class a doctor's note, hospital bill, or a legal document that clearly indicates that the student was incapacitated or had a legal responsibility on the day of the exam. If these requirements are not meet the missed exam will be your drop exam.

Extra Credit: Coral Reef Field Trip 20 points, dates TBA. For more information see my webpage.

Make up Exams will be "special edition" short essay question exams.

Grade of Incomplete:

Incompletes will not be given, except in the case of hospitalization or a similar problem on the day of the final examination.



1, 2, 3, and 4

Exam 1


5, 6, 7 and 8

Exam 2


9, 10, 12 and 13

Exam 3

13 , 14, and 16

Final Cumulative Exam (To be scheduled during Final Exam Period)