Biological StudyPhoto: Marc Tule
Biological Oceanography is concerned with the interactions of populations of marine organisms with one another and with their physical and chemical environment. Because these interactions are frequently complex, and because the concepts and techniques used are drawn from many fields, biological oceanography is, of necessity, interdisciplinary. Therefore, studies in physical oceanography, marine chemistry, marine geology, and several biological areas are pertinent.
Research is conducted on space/time scales ranging from short-term interactions between individual organisms (mm., sec.) to interdecadal variation in widely dispersed populations. The techniques used in these investigations are diverse, and even within one space/time domain can include field observation, experimentation in the laboratory, and mathematical modeling.
Research topics include primary and secondary productivity and nutrient regeneration, fishery biology and management, community ecology of benthic and pelagic organisms, population dynamics, habitat changes and disruptions, systematics and biogeography, population genetics and evolution, and behavior as it affects distribution. Development and testing of new tools (molecular, optical, acoustic), design of sampling programs, and statistical/mathematical analyses of data also are significant activities.Program of Study
Programs of study vary widely among the curricular programs, but generally first-year students are expected to enroll in core courses that cover physical, geological, chemical and biological oceanography and marine biology as well as in other courses recommended by the student's faculty advisor. Then, by the end of winter quarter in their first year, students usually select a particular area of focus and choose a major professor. During their third to fifth year they are working toward writing their dissertations. The interdisciplinary nature of research in marine and earth sciences is emphasized; students are encouraged to take courses in several programs and departments, and to select research problems of interdisciplinary character.
Biological Oceanography students will be expected to be familiar with the material presented in the following courses: SIO 210, 240, 260, 270, 270A, 275A or 277, 280, and at least one of 271, 282, 284, or 294. Other course work ordinarily will be recommended by the student's advisory committee, usually including 278 (or equivalent) one quarter of each year, a course in introductory parametric statistics, and at least one advanced-level course in physical, chemical, or geological oceanography. Participation in an oceanographic cruise (minimum of two weeks' duration) and service as a teaching assistant (one quarter) are required. Individual advisors and/or Doctoral Committees may require foreign languages of individual candidates.
For the MS Program of Study, click here.