|The purpose of this cruise is to help students to better understand how oceanographers go about doing their work and to give a hands-on experience in learning how to collect oceanographic data and to use that data to make meaningful oceanographic interpretations of that data. This CSULA course is structured around an oceanographic cruise on the Research Vessel, the Yellowfin. On the cruise students will work with the instruments that oceanographers use to gather their data; students will take and record data readings; and after the cruise is over and they are back in the classroom, they will work together with the collected data to interpret it and to help students gain a better understanding of how the oceanographers use the data to evaluate the nature, condition, and workings of the ocean, in other words, the cruise is to give students some practical experience on how ocean science is done.
Doing ocean science requires a great deal of self-discipline. Oceanographers have to accurately and neatly record their data even if they don't know at the time what the data mean. Sometimes they must do their work under very adverse conditions. Yes, oceanographers are sometimes seasick and yet they must work on because ship-time is very expensive. Their data collection must be complete, accurate, and neatly done in order to have a record that other scientists can use. It means neatness and accuracy in plotting the travel lines on the map and in writing down the correct station numbers next to each station location on the map. Accuracy in plotting the data points on the maps and graphs is very important so that the correct interpretations of the data are made.
The following are the concepts and facts that the we focus on in this course. The cruise experience is designed to create a stimulating learning experience for studens in this regard.
Density: seawater density variation and its causes; density stratification in the sea; how is water density measured; what is the pycnocline
Temperature: seawater temperature; heat capacity of seawater; effect of electromagnetic radiation from the sun on seawater temperature; temperature stratification in the sea; the thermocline; temperature influence on water density; how measured
Salinity: what controls the salinity of seawater; what constitutes the salt in seawater salinity; salinity stratification in the sea; causes of changes in salinity in the sea; how measured.
Acidity: definition; what cause it to change; how measured; relationship to photosynthesis and decomposition of organic material; respiration, physical agitation of seawater, etc.
Light transmissivity in the sea: what influences it; how is it measured; what are the problems in measuring it; what influence does light transmissivity have on biological and physical factors in the sea; influence on photosynthesis; seawater color
Dissolved oxygen: the oxygen content in the ocean; the cause of variation; relationship to photosynthesis, decomposition, and respiration.
Gas in the ocean: gases dissolved in the ocean; what types; cold water vs. warm water solubility of gases; interaction of gases in the atmosphere and ocean; relationship of dissolved gases to photosynthesis and decomposition.
Sediments in the sea: terrigenous vs. biogenous.
Several observation and data collection stations will be established on the cruise. At each station a number of different instruments will be deployed and readings taken and data recorded. The students in this class will use the data to interpret and understand the ocean conditions that exist off of the southern California coastline.