Biological Oceanography

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Biological Oceanography

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Biology, Marine Biology, Oceanography

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    OCEN 201

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Interactions of biological and physical processes in the ocean and how physical processes regulate productivity and distribution of organisms in oceanic and coastal ecosystems, from the microscale to the macroscale.

    We start with the biological effects of diffusion, turbulence and viscosity, fronts, tides, upwelling and mesoscale eddies and move forward to study the influence of large-scale phenomena, like El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, on marine ecosystems. To finish, we learn about the biological pump and the importance of marine organisms in the global carbon cycle and climate change. This paper is convenient in view of the current concern about the role of the oceans in climate change due to the increasing need to understand the integrated biological-physical functioning of marine ecosystems and the links between different scales. This paper includes a field trip to study the effect of mesoscale hydrological processes on picoplankton distribution and activity across the Southland Front, offshore Otago.

    Recommended: Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems: Biological-Physical Interactions in the Oceans (3rd ed), by Kenneth Mann, 2005

    Learning Outcomes
    Students will develop an integrated understanding of the interplay between physical and biological processes occurring in marine ecosystems at all scales, from less than a kilometre to the size of whole oceans.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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