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Cursus: GEO4-1451
Introduction to Marine Sciences
Cursus informatie
Studiepunten (EC)7,5
This course brings all students in the MSc Marine Sciences to the level in Marine Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences, required to successfully participate in thematical courses within the program. The course is also accessible for students in related MSc programs.

After the course you will:
  • Know the basic morphology of ocean basins and ocean circulation;
  • Have a basic understanding of food webs within coastal marine ecosystems (carbon transfer);
  • Have a basic understanding of ecological properties of coastal marine ecosystems (diversity, connectivity & adaptive capacity);
  • Have a basic understanding of anthropogenic impacts on coastal marine ecosystems.
  • Have a basic insight into elemental cycles in the ocean, including nutrients.
  • Have a basic insight into biogeochemical processes in the water column and the sea floor.
  • Have a basic understanding of the concept of an ocean model. 
  • Have adequate knowledge on the conservation principles (mass, momentum, heat and salt) which are used in ocean models
  • Have a basic understanding of the dominant balances in the large scale ocean circulation
  • Have seen several examples of idealized models explaining specific aspects of ocean circulation
  • Have obtained a basic understanding of the dynamics of waves and tides in coastal regions and of the different spatial and temporal scales associated coastal morphodynamic behavior.
  • Have learned the general geological history of physics, chemistry and biology of the ocean
  • Have gained a basic understanding regarding the application of proxies to reconstruct past ocean conditions.
  • Have gained a basic understanding of climate feedbacks and their expression in the ocean on geological time scales.
  • Have gained understanding of the role of public international law in regulating the relations between states and other subjects of this law.
  • Have gained understanding in role of law and policy for the governance of the oceans.
  • Have gained understanding of the legal regime for marine scientific research.
  • Have gained understanding of the role of scientific research in the formulation of oceans law and policy.
  • Be able to assess the ocean as a biogeophysicochemical system required to successfully participate in subsequent MSc courses.
  • Most crucially, realize which aspects of the Marine Sciences might need extra attention during your MSc trajectory.
In this course students will gain a multidisciplinary insight into the marine sciences. The aim of the course is to reach a knowledge and integration level required to follow other MSc courses in marine biology, physics, chemistry, and earth sciences. Moreover, basic insights into issues related to law and policy of the sea will be gained.

The various disciplines will be integrated using a project theme case study that will be studied from multiple disciplines and will be presented at the end of the course. In groups of ~4 students that have different backgrounds, this case study will be treated with a specific research question formulated by the students. Results will be reported in written communication and will be presented in an oral presentation at the end of the course. Within this project you will work on your problem-solving skills, and skills regarding leadership, ability to work in a team, to take initiative in organizing progress and flexibility/adaptability.

The first days of the course will encompass a multidisciplinary introduction, and aspects of oceans law and policy. This is followed by two weeks of physics, followed by chemistry, biology, and finally paleoceanography. Individual thematic blocks of two weeks will yield lectures, (computer) practicals offered on Wednesday afternoon and Friday, and an assignment that will be marked. 

Typically, every week will have about 10 contact hours, of which 4-5 hours of interactive lectures and 5-6 hours of exercoises. discussions and practicals to work on your reporting and analytical/quantitative skills. Depending on your background, some themes will be harder to follow than others. For the new themes, you will probably need to invest more time and submit a strong work ethic to keep up. Most themes will include a brief report or exercise that will be graded. About 10 hours will be spent on preparations, the case study and feedback/conversations with instructors.

All individual marks must be at least 5.5. Tests that are marked between 4.0 and 5.5 may be retaken once; grades below 4 are typically not accepted. The final result will be the average of the (sub)-weekly assignments (60%) and the marks for the case studies presented at the end of the course (40%).

Absence for up to two days should be indicated to the specific instructor of that day and the coordinator of the course. For longer periods of absence, contact the coordinator. An extra opportunity for tests will be created in case of sickness or personal circumstances.
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