Seafloor characteristics such as topography and bathymetry but also substrate will be introduced together with the responsible geological and water column processes yielding to marine sedimentation.
The main physical processes responsible for the most important biological and chemical features and processes in oceans and seas will be described: link with climate/radiative budget, optical properties, temperature, salinity, density, water masses, stratification, mixing processes. Main mechanisms generating motion in the ocean. Thermohaline circulation. Barotropic and baroclinic conditions. Geostrophic currents. Wind driven circulation. Convergence and divergence. Dynamics of the coastal regions - coastal upwelling and associated features. Major ocean circulation systems. Waves and tides. Regional oceanography will describe the main features of oceanic basins: circulation (equatorial circulation, cyclonic and anticyclonic gyres...), climate (ENSO, monsoon...), and particularly of Iberia. Examples of impacts of global and anthropogenic changes on oceanic circulation and mixing.
Chemical properties of seawater will be explained: salinity, sources and sinks of elements of major ions / conservative elements, nutrients, scavenged elements (riverine, volcanic and atmospheric supply, hydrothermal activity). Main important gases in the Ocean: oxygen and carbon dioxide, and interplay with biological processes. CO2, the carbonate system and alkalinity, marine carbon cycle biological, solubility and carbonate pumps. Marine biogeochemical cycles of macronutrients (N, P, Si), micronutrients and key role in biological processes, Redfield ratios. Examples of physics-biogeochemistry coupling (upwelling, OMZ...) and of impacts of global and anthropogenic changes on biogeochemistry and ecosystems will be introduced throughout the course (impact of dams, species migration, extension of OMZ, eutrophication, acidification, pollutants).
This course includes: (i) theoretical expositive lectures, with periods for student questioning and participation, lectured in rooms equipped with video-projector; (ii) practical laboratory sessions ; (iii) field work; Learning support materials are made available, on a weekly basis, at the course tutorial web site.