OEB Academic Program

Accepting Applications for Fall 2012

The COAS ocean ecology and biogeochemistry program is currently seeking students with a strong background in biology, chemistry, geology, earth or applied sciences to study with us. Most students accepted for study receive Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) covering tuition and living expenses. Numerous GRA openings are available each year and are best investigated by first contacting individual faculty members whose research aligns with your interests. Prospective students should also check out the graduate student guidelines. Additional fellowship and funding opportunities can be found here. If you're looking for undergraduate programs at OSU, start here.

Internships for High School Students

OEB faculty collaborate with the Saturday Academy to provide summer interships for area high school students.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Are you an undergraduate with background in chemisty, geology or biology? Check our our Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program.

Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry Academic Program

The academic program in ocean ecology and biogeochemistry at OSU offers Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Oceanography. The course curriculum is closely integrated with the wide range of earth science research conducted by OSU faculty. All incoming students are required to participate in the Cascadia Field Trip or Math Camp. During the first year, all incoming students are required to complete a trio of breadth courses: Solid Earth, Fluid Earth and Biogeochemical Earth followed by two complementary upper-level courses: Ocean Ecology and Ocean Biogeochemistry. All students may also take courses in other oceanographic disciplines, as well as courses offered in the across departments at OSU. During subsequent years, students can choose from courses on a wide range of topics, including marine radiochemistry, organic geochemistry, physical/biological interactions and coastal and estuarine oceanography. Technique oriented courses are also offered on topics including experimental methods in physical oceanography, satellite remote sensing, data analysis, numerical modeling and data assimilation. Brief overviews of each OEB course are given below.

Course Offerings

Tier 1 (Breadth) Courses (required)

OEAS 520 The Solid Earth (4 credits) Movement of mass and energy within the Earth and into/out of its outer surface; plate tectonics, earthquakes, heat flow, volcanoes, geomagnetic field; composition, structure, hydrology and aging of ocean crust; lithosphere creation, recycling and mantle overturn. Marine sedimentation, sources and transport, continental weathering, tectonics-climate interactions, glacial history and sea level response. Geohazards, storm events, beach and estuary processes. Laboratory. PREREQS: One year each of physics, chemistry, calculus, or permission of instructor.Offered annually in Fall.

OEAS 530 The Fluid Earth (4 credits) Fundamental principles of fluid circulation in the atmosphere and ocean. Atmospheric chemistry, radiation, thermodynamics, and dynamics. Conservation of mass, heat, momentum and vorticity in the ocean; equations governing motion; geostrophy; planetary boundary layers; wind-driven and thermohaline circulation. Air-sea fluxes and global circulation models; climate change. Laboratory. PREREQS: One year each of physics, chemistry, calculus, or permission of instructor.Offered annually in Fall.

OEAS 540 The Biogeochemical Earth (4 credits) Integrating fundamental concepts in biological and chemical oceanography to understand energy and material transformations in estuarine, coastal and open ocean habitats. Topics include structure and function of marine ecosystems, biogeochemical cycles, and human impacts. Laboratory. PREREQS: One year of physics, chemistry, and calculus, or instructor permission. Offered annually in Winter.

Tier 2 Courses (required)

OEAS 5xx Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics (4 credits) Key concepts covered in this course include biogeochemical cycles, system energetics, chemical kinetics, continuity mass and energy balances, ocean-atmosphere feebacks and biogeochemical regimes among other topics. This course contains a numerical solutions module. Offered annually.

OEAS xxx Ocean Ecology (4 credits) This course is designed to increase understanding of the ocean as a habitat for life, and the major characteristics of ocean biota and ocean ecosystems.  Ecology of life in the sea will be examined based on concepts of ecosystem structure and functioning and on concepts of evolutionary adaptation and of population and community ecology. Patterns of distribution of organisms and of biological activity will be analyzed on spatial scales ranging from microns to global, and on time scales from seconds to decades.  A major theme of the course will be the interaction between abiotic and biotic processes. Impacts of human activity on ocean ecosystems will also be discussed. Offered annually.

Tier 3 Courses (elective)

OC 574 Early Life History of Fishes (4 credits) Covers mechanisns affecting fish population abundance and distributions as well as sustainable management strategies. PREREQ:OC 644. Offered alternate years- fall term.

OC/GEO 633 Geochronology and Isotope Geology (3 credits) A detailed introduction to geochronology and isotope geology which will cover topics such as the age of the Earth, moon and meteorites, the petrogenesis of basalts/granites, evolution of the Earth's core, mantle and continental crust, plate and mantle plume motions, time scale calibrations, time series toward the young end of the time scale (e.g. quaternary geology, climate change, age dating of magnetic reversals), thermochronometry, isotope geochemistry of Ferromanganese crusts, U-series dating of corals. Offered alternate years.

OC 645 Marine Phytoplankton Physiology;(4 credits) Life processes of plankton, energy-capturing processes, mineral nutrition, flotation mechanisms, cell division. Evaluation of experimental procedures; problems of existence in the open ocean; artificial production of maximum yields. PREREQ: OC 644. Offered alternate years.

OC 646 Physical/Biological Interactions in the Upper Ocean(4 credits) Variability in physical oceanic processes in the upper ocean and relationship to spatial and temporal variations in biomass, growth rates and other biological patterns in the organisms of ocean surface waters. The relation between variability in ocean physical phenomena and ecosystem dynamics, including the requirements of sampling design for upper ocean ecological studies. Time and space scales of physical and biological phenomena in the upper ocean. PREREQ: OC 430/530 and OC 440/540 or consent of instructor. Offered alternate years.

OC 647 Marine Microbial Processes(4 credits) Roles of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes in the biological and chemical processes of the sea, with emphasis on pelagic ecosystems. Functional and taxonomic types and distribution of marine microorganisms. Biochemical and physiological processes of major groups of microbes as these relate to geochemical cycles of biologically active elements in the sea. Heterotrophic and mixotrophic protists in pelagic foodwebs. Discussion of current experimental approaches to determining aspects of microbial activity and production. PREREQ: Two yearsof biology, OC 440/540, or consent of instructor. Offered alternate years.

OC 649 Special Topics in Biological Oceanography (1-4 credits) Special topics of current interest in biological oceanography not covered in detail in other courses. May be repeated on different topics for credit.

OC 651 Advanced Chemical Oceanography(3 credits). Advanced topics in chemical oceanography emphasizing problems and issues of contemporary interest. Descriptive studies of chemical processes in sea water and the oceans; interactions of oceanic circulation and chemical distributions; sea water chemistry in specialized environments; geochemical and biochemical cycles; sea water-sediment interactions. PREREQ: OC 450/550.

OC 652 Chemical Oceanography Laboratory(3 credits). Chemical analytical techniques for seawater and marine sediments. Topics include: salinity; dissolved oxygen; nutrients; the CO2 system; dissolved and particulate organic materials; trace metals; radio nuclides; analytical barriers and recent advances. PREREQ: OC 450/550 or consent of the instructor.

OC 653 Marine Radiochemistry(3 credits). Basic principles of radioactive decay and growth; marine biogeochemistry of uranium and thorium series radio nuclides; release of artificial radio nuclides into marine environments; applications of radioisotopic techniques to oceanic circulation and mixing, paleoceanography, sediment geochronology, archeometry, and marine pollution. PREREQ: One year of college-level general chemistry. OC 450/550 desirable.

OC 654 Marine Pollution(3 credits). Identification of sources for organic and inorganic pollutants in estuarine, coastal and ocean-ic environ-ments; mechanisms of introduction and dispersal; chemical and biological behavior and removal processes; regional and global scale effects; case studies and future research strategies; monitoring programs for pollution assessment. PREREQ: OC 450/550.

OC 655 Advanced Aquatic Chemistry(4 credits). This course involves low temperature thermodynamics and selective kinetic treatments primarily of the inorganic chemistry of natural waters. To the extent data bases exist for them, organic ligands and surface active groups are also considered. Techniques for predicting the speciation and reactions of dissolved and solid phases in aqueous systems are studied and applied, with the assistance of existing computer code, to a range of natural waters including rain, lakes, rivers, groundwater and the oceans. Comparison of observations with model results are used to demonstrate the utility of the thermodynamic pseudokinetic approach. The principal goals for the course are to provide familiarity with the range of chemical properties that characterize natural waters and to generate sufficient proficiency with the available computer programs so that students can apply them as a tool in their own research. PREREQ: physical chemistry or course in chemical thermodynamics.

OC 656 Marine Organic Geochemistry(3 credits). Models for the formation and decomposition of simple and macromolecular organic matter in waters and sediments of the marine environment. Chemotaxonomic methods to distinguish sources of sedimentary organic matter and to identify the processes that influence the transfer and preservation of organic matter in the geological record. PREREQ: CH 332 or CH 336, and OC 450/550.

OC 657 Sediment Biogeochemistry (3 credits) An overview of early diagenetic processes in marine sediments and the interdisciplinary approaches used to quantify material transformations at the seafloor

OC 659 Special Topics in Chemical Oceanography(1-4 credits). Special topics of current interest in chemical oceanography not covered in detail by other courses. May be repeated on different topics for credit.

OC 678 Satellite Oceanography (4 credits). An overview of satellite orbits, electromagnetic radiation, radiative transfer equations, ocean color, active radar remote sensing and passive microwave remote sensing. PREREQ: MTH 252 and PH212 or the equivalent. Offered in alternate years