Office of the Registrar
Faculty of Science (2019/2020)
12.9 Ocean Sciences

Ocean Sciences courses are designated by OCSC.


Exploration of the World Ocean

is an introductory course covering the major ocean sciences (biology, chemistry, geology, physics) at a level sufficient for science majors but accessible to non-science majors. It explores phenomena occurring from the shoreline to the abyss and from equatorial to polar regions. It also examines principles of marine ecology as well as how the marine environment affects humans and vice versa. The course is offered in a blended format that combines face-to-face lectures and online interactive activities in the form of virtual oceanographic expeditions.

LC: 1.5 hours per week

OR: 1.5 hours per week (online interactive activities)


Introductory Biological Oceanography

provides a general understanding of the biological processes that occur in coastal and oceanic environments. It introduces students to the major groups of bacteria, phytoplankton, invertebrates and fish, emphasizing the biotic and abiotic factors controlling primary production and marine biomass. It shows how the physical, chemical, and geological environments interact with biology to define processes and patterns affecting nutrients and life in marine ecosystems.

CR: Biology 3710

PR: OCSC 1000 and a 1000-level course in one of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences or Physics


Introduction to Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

introduces students to the breadth of aquaculture and fisheries science and the variety of animal species cultured and harvested. Basic aspects of aquaculture and fisheries and the links between the two are covered, including production systems, capture fisheries, environmental interactions, and the physiology, ecology and reproduction of finfish and shellfish in the context of their culture and harvest.

PR: OCSC 1000 or Biology 1002


Introductory Chemical Oceanography

(same as Chemistry 2610) provides an introduction to the fundamental chemical properties of seawater and the processes governing the concentrations of elements and compounds in the oceans. It is an introduction to the sources, distribution, and transformations of chemical constituents of the ocean, and their relation to biological, chemical, geological, and physical processes. Topics include: controls on average concentration of chemicals in the ocean; vertical and horizontal distributions of ocean constituents; air-sea interactions; production, export, and remineralization of organic matter; the ocean carbon cycle; human-induced changes; stable isotopes; and trace elements.

CR: Chemistry 2610

PR: the former CHEM 1011 or 1051 or 1001 which may be taken concurrently


Introductory Geological Oceanography

(same as Earth Sciences 2919) is a study of the formation and evolution of oceans, including plate tectonics, mid-ocean ridges (birth place of oceans), subduction zones (where oceans are consumed), sedimentary environments such as estuaries, deltas, beaches and barrier islands, continental shelves, slopes and deep abyssal plains and special topics, including anoxic events, evolution of tides, atmosphere-ocean interactions, formation of banded iron formations, snowball Earth, black and white smokers, and how Earth modulates its climate through atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere interactions.

CR: Earth Sciences 2919

PR: Earth Sciences 1000 with a grade of at least 55%


Introductory Physical Oceanography

(same as Physics 2300) provides an introduction to general oceanography with a primary focus on physical oceanography. Topics include how oceans form and evolve on a planetary scale. Ocean characteristics studied include: the properties of seawater; elementary dynamics of fluids on the rotating Earth; ocean circulation; wind-forcing in the ocean; tides and waves. Contemporary methods used in oceanographic study are covered including satellite oceanography. Interactions that occur between physical and chemical processes and biological activity are reviewed.

CR: Environmental Science 2371, Physics 2300

PR: 6 credit hours in any first-year courses in Physics


Introduction to Practical Ocean Sciences

explores the instruments, techniques and analytical methods commonly used to study marine life and processes, chiefly focusing on the interaction between living organisms and their chemical, physical and geological environment. The course combines ship-based or shore-based sampling and data collection with laboratory investigation in an intensive 2-week long format. It is primarily intended for mid-level undergraduate students majoring in Ocean Sciences or Marine Biology. This course will either be offered during a special session following the Winter semester, or in the Spring semester.

AR: attendance is required. Failure to attend may result in a failing grade or withdrawal from the course.

PR: Science 1807 and Science 1808; OCSC 1000, and at least three of OCSC 2000 (or Biology 3710), 2001, 2100, 2200, 2300


Aquaculture Principles and Practices

emphasizes the techniques and methods used to culture finfish and shellfish, with a primary focus on Canadian aquaculture species. Basic aspects of aquaculture will be covered, including the design and maintenance of production systems, culture techniques, and the nutrition, health, physiology and reproduction of finfish and shellfish. The laboratory portion of this course will provide students with practical experience in the maintenance of land-based aquaculture production systems and in the husbandry/culture of aquatic organisms.

LH: 3

PR: OCSC 2001, or OCSC 1000 and Biology 1002


Aquaculture and Fisheries Biotechnology

is an introduction to biotechnology and genetics as they are applied to aquaculture and fisheries. Topics covered include genetic variation; genetic structure of fish and shellfish populations; the genetic basis of aquaculture traits; finfish and shellfish genomic research; marker-assisted selection in aquaculture; manipulation of ploidy; genetic engineering in aquaculture; and techniques used to study the responses of aquatic animals to external stressors such as hypoxia, temperature stress, acidification, and pathogens.

PR: Biology 2250 or Biochemistry 2100


Marine Microbiology

provides an overview of microbial activity in the ocean, both in natural and applied settings. The focus is on interactions between microorganisms and other biota, ranging from deep-sea vent invertebrates to commercially cultured fish species. Prospective topics include effluent discharge, water quality, bacterial metabolism and nutrient cycles, bacteria-virus and bacteria-host interactions (including symbioses and pathogenesis), and marine microbial biotechnology.

PR: Biology 2250 or Biochemistry 2100


Environmental Physiology of Animals

(same as Biology 3640) covers physiological adaptations of animals facilitating their survival in natural environments with emphasis on physiological and biochemical responses of animals to extreme environments. Starting with the fundamental basis of physiological mechanisms, the course explores various aspects and the integration of major physiological processes (metabolism, respiration, osmoregulation) and how these relate to ecological niche.

CR: the former Biology 3403 or the former Biology 4455, Biology 3640

PR: Biology 2060; Biochemistry 3106 or 3206

UL: may not be used to fulfill the physiology course requirement for a Biology major, honours or joint honours program


Scientific Diving Methods

is an in-depth study and application of methods routinely employed for data collection in underwater scientific research. Aspects covered include habitat mapping; installation and use of instrumentation; still and video camera techniques; planning and execution of surveys and experiments in major subtidal habitats; as well as data analysis and interpretation. Participants are trained in accordance with Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Guide for Diving Safety and the Canadian Association for Underwater Science (CAUS) standards to meet the criteria for Scientific Diver I rating. This course is normally offered at the Bonne Bay Marine Station in a special 2-week session at the beginning or end of the Spring semester depending on station’s availability.

OR: The following documentation must be provided to the course instructor at least four months before the first day of the course. It must be in effect until at least the last day of the course. Submission of this documentation does not guarantee acceptance into the course. Aside from course prerequisites, acceptance will be based on successful completion, before the course begins, of a diving fitness and skills evaluation in a pool environment and demonstration of understanding of the MUN Diving Safety Manual, physics and physiology of diving, and use of recreational dive tables. Nationally recognized scuba diver certification with diver rescue and accident management techniques; diver medical examination by a licensed physician knowledgeable in diving medicine; First Aid (basic), CPR (basic), and DAN oxygen first aid for scuba diving injuries administration cards; DAN membership and insurance or medical insurance covering hyperbaric treatment; diver’s log book with at least 12 dives in the last 12 months including one dive in the last six months and four dives in cold (<10°C) water; cold-water scuba diving equipment complete with proper hydrostatic/VIP service tags on diving cylinders and overhaul/service receipts on regulators and buoyancy compensator devices.

PR: Biology 2122 or Biology 3709, Biology 2600 or OCSC 2000 or Environmental Science 2371, Statistics 2550 or equivalent


Marine Pelagic Food Webs

examines the structure, function and dynamics of pelagic food webs in the marine environment. The course will focus on the material and energy flows within and among trophic levels and the interactions with major biogeochemical cycles and climate.

PR: Biology 1002 or 2120, and OCSC 2000 or Biology 3710


Advanced Studies in Marine Animal Diversity

(same as Biology 4122) provides an in-depth examination of cellular, physiological, behavioural and ecological adaptations in marine animals. Lectures will be combined with discussions of relevant papers from the primary literature on topics of current interest which may relate morphology, ecology, evolution, natural history, species interactions and practical applications. Students will also gain hands-on experience by designing and conducting research projects involving live or preserved animals.

CR: Biology 4122

LC: either three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week or a two-week intensive course that embodies equivalent instructional time

LH: either three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week or a two-week intensive course that embodies equivalent instructional time

PR: Science 1807 and Science 1808; Biology 2122 and Biology 2600


Marine Omics

provides an overview of marine genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, glycomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics. Omics-based studies of a variety of marine organisms (e.g. fungi, algae, animals), as well as several industrial applications (e.g. biofuel, nutrigenomics, pharmacogenomics, aquaculture and fisheries), will be considered.

PR: OCSC 1000 and Biology 2250 (or Biochemistry 2100), or OCSC 3002


Climate Change and Global Marine Fisheries Dynamics

explores the effects of ocean-atmosphere dynamics on large scale marine ecosystem domains, with a special focus on assessing the impact of anticipated climate change on global fisheries production. The course uses a blend of lectures and computer simulation laboratories to familiarize students with current research on fisheries and climate change.

LH: 3

PR: OCSC 1000, 2000 (or Biology 3710) and 2001


Deep-Sea Ecology

provides an overview of the physical and chemical environment of the deep sea, including hydrothermal vents and seeps, to explore adaptations in deep-sea organisms and biodiversity in this key oceanic system. The course combines lectures, seminars, discussions and computer-based laboratory tools, such as dive logs from remotely operated vehicles and data from underwater cabled observatories. It introduces students to emerging research, cutting-edge technologies, as well as natural and human impacts in the deep sea.

LH: 3

PR: OCSC 2500 and at least one course in Ocean Sciences at the 3000 or 4000 level


Functional Biology of Fish

(same as Biology 4601) is an introduction to anatomical, physiological and cellular processes in the life cycle of fishes.

CR: Biology 4601

PR: Biology 2060, Biology 2210 or 3202, and Biology 3401 or 3640


Special Topics in Ocean Biogeochemistry

are advanced courses for senior undergraduate students that cover one or several subjects related to environmental changes and the flow of major elements in marine systems.

PR: to be determined at the time of offer


Special Topics in Marine Ecology

are advanced courses for senior undergraduate students that cover one or several subjects related to evolutionary and ecological principles at the organisimal and ecosystem levels in marine systems.

PR: to be determined at the time of offer


Special Topics in Experimental Marine Biology

are advanced courses for senior undergraduate students that cover one or several subjects related to research in marine biology, such as field and laboratory experimental design, data analysis and modeling.

PR: to be determined at the time of offer


Special Topics in Applied Ocean Sciences

are advanced courses for senior undergraduate students that cover one or several subjects of special interest in applied fields of ocean sciences, such as fisheries, conservation, aquaculture, and biotechnology.

PR: to be determined at the time of offer


Honours Dissertation

is a two-semester linked course based on independent research conducted under the supervision of an academic supervisor, who is normally a faculty member of the Department of Ocean Sciences. This dissertation is mandatory for students pursuing the Honours in Ocean Sciences. It can also be used towards the requirements of the Joint Honours in Marine Biology. A grade of PAS in 499A is required to proceed to 499B. The final written dissertation is normally submitted before the end of the tenth week of the second semester and an oral presentation of the completed research is delivered before the end of the semester.

CH: 6

PR: Honours students in their final year or permission of the Head of the Department; Science 1807 and Science 1808

AR = Attendance requirement; CH = Credit hours are 3 unless otherwise noted; CO = Co-requisite(s); CR = Credit can be retained for only one course from the set(s) consisting of the course being described and the course(s) listed; LC = Lecture hours per week are 3 unless otherwise noted; LH = Laboratory hours per week; OR = Other requirements of the course such as tutorials, practical sessions, or seminars; PR = Prerequisite(s); UL = Usage limitation(s).