Principles of Ocean Science

General Course Information

Course Lecturer Name(s):  Dr. Clare Morrall

Course Director Name: Dr. Clare Morrall

Course Lecturer(s) Contact Information:  Email: Phone: 473 444 4175 ext. 3360

Course Director Contact Information: As above.

Course Lecturer(s) Office Hours:  Mon. 1-4, Tue. 2-4, Wed. 1-4, Thurs. 2-4.  Course Director Office Hours: As above

Scheduled appointments are recommended

Please note: the best way to ‘see me’ is to set-up an appointment. Please email me with your availability over the days you want to meet with me, and I will send you an appointment notification and link. Mrs. Anna Neckles-Thomas has access to my schedule, and she can also set-up in person or virtual appointments with me.

Course Lecturer(s) Office Location:  Caribbean House

Course Director Office Location:         As above

Course Support:     Anna Neckles-Thomas, Email:, Phone:  Ext 3435

Course Management tool: To learn to use Sakai, the Course management tool, access the link

Course Curriculum Information

Course Description: 

This course provides an introductory overview of the marine environment focusing on the physical characteristics of the oceans. Through lectures, presentations, discussions and group work, the components of our planet’s largest ecosystem will be explored. 

Course Objectives: 

The objectives of this course will be to provide the student with an understanding of the physical and chemical properties of water and seawater, the dynamics of the global oceans in terms of currents, tides, and waves and to introduce students to the physical and biological characteristics of pelagic and benthic habitats.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Identify the scale and major characteristics of the marine environment. Discuss the basic properties of water and seawater.
  2. Explain what drives and steers major ocean circulation patterns.
  3. Describe the generation of ocean waves and discuss how waves interact at sea and how they change at shorelines.
  4. Describe the generation of tides and the types of tides.  
  5. Recognize the physical and biological characteristics of Benthic and Pelagic habitats.  

Program Outcomes Met By This Course:

Marine, Wildlife and Conservation (MWC) Program Outcomes Met by This Course

MWC-PLO1.    KNOWLEDGE: Apply knowledge of the biological and physical components of life and use this knowledge to understand the interrelationships of organisms with each other and their physical environments.  

MWC-PLO4. COMMUNICATION & CRITICAL THINKING: Use relevant scientific literature and demonstrate independent, critical thinking while communicating scientific knowledge effectively in different media.

Technical Skills Outcomes N/A

Course Objectives: 

The objectives of this course will be to provide the student with an understanding of understanding of the physical and chemical properties of water and seawater, the dynamics of the global oceans in terms of currents, tides, and waves and to introduce students to the physical and biological characteristics of pelagic and benthic habitats. 

SAS Grading Scale: Grades will be assigned as follows:

A  = 89.5% or better

B+ = 84.5 - 89.4%

B  = 79.5 - 84.4%

C+ = 74.5 - 79.4%

C = 69.5 - 74.4%

D = 64.5 - 69.4%

F = 65% or less 

Course Materials:

This course will be delivered with live class sessions and some pre-recorded sessions. Materials will be available on the course Sakai site. 

** In the first week of the teaching semester (January 18th and 20th)- there will be live sessions on

Tuesday and Thursday, and you need to be at both sessions. ** Text:

Information on online availability of resources will be provided. 

A range of texts support this course rather than a single textbook. Readings will be assigned in class or via SAKAI. It will be assumed that students have read assigned materials prior to a specified class. Student participation in the classroom and evidence of some knowledge of the material being discussed will be considered when determining the final grade.  I recommend that you do your own ‘reading around’ the subjects we cover in class to enrich your own learning.

Nybakken. Marine Biology.  1996. ‘Marine Biology- an ecological approach’. (QH N9 1996 C2).

Levinton. Marine Biology. 1995. (QH91 L427 1995).

Castro and Huber. Marine Biology. 2008. (QH 91 C37 2008). 

Copies of each of these texts are held on the bookshelves as well as in the Reserve section of the Library (please request these from the librarians on the check-out desk).

Supplementary Readings/Resources: Additional reading material will be provided throughout the course. I recommend that you do your own ‘reading around the subjects’ we cover in class to enrich your own learning.

Course Grading Requirement:

Course Component

Total Percentage Allocated                                                                



Individual Assignment


Group Assignment 

Mid-Term Examination                     30


Final Examination


Total 100



Quizzes are tentatively scheduled for week 4 (February 8th), week 13 (April 12th). The Mid Term exam will be in week 8 and the Final Exam will be in Week 16. 

Course Requirements:

  • •To be fair to all students in this course, attendance at all class sessions is expected, and students are to be on time for class.
  •   •Makeup quizzes and examinations will only be allowed with PRIOR approval from the professor. Students unable to sit quizzes or exams on the scheduled day must complete an online Medical Excuse form. Please also contact the Course Director as soon as possible. Please note that the course director reserves the right to revise all makeup quizzes and examinations to ensure fairness. 

Further information on Examinations, see pages the Student Manual (available on the SGU Portal).

Course Schedule


MBIO 205: 2022 Spring Lecture Schedule 

Note: Schedule is subject to change


Tuesday: Session 1

Thursday: Session 2

17 Jan 


Welcome, Introductions and Course Orientation 

Welcome Part II and Overview (TBA) 

24 Jan


Water & Ocean Basics- Part lProperties of Water

Water & Ocean Basics-Part ll- Properties of Water Cont'd

31 Jan


Water & Ocean Basics-Part lll- Gases in SW, pressure, depth, and light in the oceans

Planet Basics-Rotation, angle, season, equinox, ITCZ, lat & long, compass




Water & Ocean Basics-Part lV Seawater Composition and Salinity Variations

14 Feb


Ocean Dynamics Part l: Atmospheric Circulation and Ocean Circulation Intro

Ocean Dynamics Part ll: Currents and Subtropical Gyres

21 Feb


Student Groups Presentation

Student Groups Presentation

28 Feb



Feedback on Presentation & Review for Exam

7 March




14 March


Mid Term Feedback

Ocean Dynamics Part lll: Thermohaline circulation, Upwelling and downwelling- Ekman spiral and transport.

21 March 


Citation presentation (TBC)

Waves Part l: Intro- Causes, Deep vs Shallow Waves

Waves Part II: Waves on the Shore, Breakers

28 Mar


Waves Part III: Interferences, Refraction Waves Part IV: Erosion, Accretion, Tsunamis, Rip Currents & Hard Stabilizations

Tides Part l: Isaac Newton’s gravitational laws Tides

4 April


Tides Part ll: Dynamic Theory of Tides & Complicating Forces

Tides Part lll: Class Activity: MSL, Tidal Ranges, Determining Occurrence of Neap vs Spring Tides

11 April



The Marine Habitat l: Divisions of the Marine Environment Introduction to the Pelagic Realm.

18 April


The Marine Habitat ll: Introduction to the Benthic Realm.

The Marine Habitat llI: Hydrothermal Vent physical processes and biological communities

25 April


Wrap up and review

Final Review Session

2 May




School of Arts and Sciences Master Syllabi — Info for All Sections

Plagiarism Policy

Academic Integrity

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Plagiarism is regarded as a cardinal offense in academia because it constitutes theft of the work of someone else, which is then purported as the original work of the plagiarist. Plagiarism draws into disrepute the credibility of the Institution, its faculty, and students; therefore, it is not tolerated” (p. 48).

Plagiarism also includes the unintentional copying or false accreditation of work, so double check your assignments BEFORE you hand them in.

Be sure to do good, honest work, credit your sources and reference accordingly and adhere to the University’s Honor Code. Plagiarism and cheating will be dealt with very seriously following the university’s policies on Plagiarism as outlined in the Student Manual.

Your work may be subject to submission to plagiarism detection software, submission to this system means that your work automatically becomes part of that database and can be compared with the work of your classmates.

Attendance Requirement

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Students are expected to attend all classes and or clinical rotations for which they have registered. Although attendance may not be recorded at every academic activity, attendance may be taken randomly. Students’ absence may adversely affect their academic status as specified in the grading policy. If absence from individual classes, examinations, and activities, or from the University itself is anticipated, or occurs spontaneously due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, proper notification procedures must be followed. A particular course may define additional policies regarding specific attendance or participation” (p. 9).

Examination Attendance

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

All matriculated students are expected to attend all assigned academic activities for each course currently registered. Medical excuses will be based on self-reporting by students. Students who feel they are too sick to take an examination or other required activity on a specific day must submit the online SAS medical excuse, which is available on Carenage. Students are only allowed two such excuses a year. Upon consultation with the Director of University Health Service, the third excuse will result in a mandatory medical leave of absence. The policies regarding make-up examinations are at the option of the Course Director” (p.46).

For additional specific examination policies and procedures, refer to the St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020), pages 31 through 37.

Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services Policy

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

A student with a disability or disabling condition that affects one or more major life activities, who would like to request an accommodation, must submit a completed application form and supporting documentation to the Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services (SAAS) located in the Dean of Students Office. It is highly recommended that students applying for accommodations do so at least one month before classes begin to allow for a more efficient and timely consideration of the request. If a fully completed application is not submitted in a timely fashion, an eligibility determination may not be made, and accommodations, where applicable, may not be granted prior to the commencement of classes and/or examinations” (p. 8).


It is the responsibility of the student to read and understand the policies, laws, rules and procedures that while they could affect your grade for a course, have not been specifically outlined in the course syllabus. These are contained in the St. George’s University Student Manual.