Introduction to Oceanography
Copyright Year: 2019
Last Update: 2020
Publisher: Rebus Community
Conditions of Use
This book is comprehensive for an overview of oceanography topics and is useful for nonmajor science students just being introduced to the topic at the college level. I used this in a nonmajor course where we had a marine biology unit where I... read more
This book is comprehensive for an overview of oceanography topics and is useful for nonmajor science students just being introduced to the topic at the college level. I used this in a nonmajor course where we had a marine biology unit where I added additional outside material to make up the difference between this book’s content and the material needed for the course description I was teaching. It is clearly stated in the book's introduction that the book does not address topics in the marine biology realm presently.
I found this book to be very accurate and consistent with other resources available online.
This book includes an introduction to the established ideas in oceanography so I anticipate it will be relevant for longer than a book that included many case studies and current topics to handle the ideas.
This book is overall very accessible for students and readers. The area where it tends to be the most in depth is in the Ocean Circulation chapter. If I'm not mistaken, there have been revisions to this section of the book to make it more modular, which is helpful for breaking up the topic.
The text is internally consistent.
The book is well grouped by topic. I found it especially helpful to link to particular chapters inside my learning management system.
The units in this book are easily divisible and broken into smaller units. I was able to assign only parts of semesters easily for a few of the chapters that went into more depth than my nonmajor course required for the semesters. For instance, I skipped over some details on the forms of sediments described in chapter 12, ocean sediments.
The book’s organization is logical, however, I did not use the textbook’s organization. Because I teach oceanography in the spring semester, I taught the last chapter (chapter 14: Ice) first while we had a frozen pond on campus to explore. Then I rearranged chapters slightly to have an appropriate amount of material for each test during our semester. Generally, this was not a problem because I could link to each chapter of the online format of the book in our learning management system.
A second point about the organization is that there was information in the Introduction (chapter 1) that I had to reference back to throughout the semester like the oceanic divisions that would be beneficial for the students to have reviewed more throughout the text.
The links and videos in the text all navigate well.
I have occasionally had students who navigated to the introduction of each chapter (ie 4), and did not navigate to the additional sections in the chapter (ie 4.1) using the narrow Next button on the bottom of the page. This is more so a reflection of the Online format of the book, which is not a concern when using the full PDF or ebook formats. Additionally, students only make this error once.
I have not observed grammatical errors in the book.
I did not notice any cultural concerns in this book.
I have used this text as the only textbook in the course for three semesters. The main critical feedback I have received from students is that they would like to have additional material about coral reefs provided in their textbook.
Overall, I would like to see more examples of particular places around the world, but this book seems to be specifically designed to be a basic level textbook that you can add many examples during class and lab time.
I appreciated the review questions for students at the end of each chapter. They are testing lower-level Blooms Taxonomy, but beneficial for the students looking through the material on their own.
This book covers most of the topics typically covered in introductory oceanography textbooks; geological oceanography is particularly well represented. As noted, there is little marine ecology included, nor is there in depth coverage of many... read more
This book covers most of the topics typically covered in introductory oceanography textbooks; geological oceanography is particularly well represented. As noted, there is little marine ecology included, nor is there in depth coverage of many human-environment topics, such as marine pollution, ocean resources, hazards, etc.
The content of the book appears to be accurate and I did not notice any errors.
The content appears to be up to date and relevant. Climate change is included as a subsection of the "Oceans and Climate" chapter, which could easily be expanded to its own chapter in future iterations.
This book is well written and easy to read. Jargon is minimal and technical terms are always well defined.
The terminology and format of the text is consistent-- I particularly like how the learning objectives and review questions bookend each chapter.
Each subsection and chapter can stand alone and would work as individual reading assignments.
In general, the structure is logical and easy to follow. There are several chapters that could be expanded if they were moved to a different point in the book. For example, the productivity chapter currently comes before atmospheric and ocean circulation are covered, so the connection between ocean circulation and productivity is discussed separately.
The book is easy to navigate and the embedded videos are especially helpful. It's also great that downloadable (PDF etc) versions are available to download and view offline.
No errors that I noticed.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive.
I used this book as my primary text in an intermediate-level general oceanography class, which I teach with an emphasis on geological and physical oceanography. To include more quantitative material, I supplemented it with primary literature and datasets. It was a great resource for introducing each topic--the students indicated that they found it really helpful.
The textbook covers many of the major areas of study in oceanography, but is noticeably lacking in discussions of most of marine biology, oceanic communities and ecological relationships in the oceans. The author explains that the text was written... read more
The textbook covers many of the major areas of study in oceanography, but is noticeably lacking in discussions of most of marine biology, oceanic communities and ecological relationships in the oceans. The author explains that the text was written to be used in a particular program in which those areas are covered in separate classes. I found that some of the areas of study were presented in much more detail with supporting examples than others. It could be easily supplemented by outside material on marine biology and ecology.
The material presented appears to be accurate, error-free and unbiased.
Content of this text is up-to-date and relevant, and new material could relatively easily be added to individual sections at a later date.
Text is written in clear, concise language, and appropriate terminology is defined as it is used.
I found the book internally consistent in terms of style of writing, but the depth of coverage varied a great deal from one chapter to another.
The material in the text is already divided into small sections. If I were teaching with this book, I would combine several sections in order to cover broader topics. In some cases I found material on related subjects located in very different parts of the book. In some cases individual sections appear to be of the correct length, but in other parts of the book sections seem to short to fully cover the material.
The book is very well organized and clearly divided into sections to meet the needs of the course for which it was designed.
The text is free of any major interface issues. I only found a few figures that did not seem to fit in with the style of the book and its presentation.
I did not find any grammatical errors in the text.
This book is not culturally insensitive or offensive. Because it is mainly a presentation of topics supported by scientific data, there is not a lot of opportunity for the author to present examples that are inclusive of races and ethnicities.
I really enjoyed reading through this book, as it is well organized and relatively easy to read. I would love to use some of the material to
supplement my teaching of an Introductory course in Oceanography that I teach. I did feel, however, that its coverage of some parts of Oceanography were better than others. There was considerable at depth coverage of geological oceanography, but the parts on physical oceanography are dispersed in different parts of the book. If used for a course for second-year or later college students, it would require supplementation in certain areas. It is a valuable open source text on this topic.
Overall, this textbook contains much of the basic information covered in an introductory oceanography course and sections on historical developments in oceanography and observational techniques are relatively strong. Sections on marine biology and... read more
Overall, this textbook contains much of the basic information covered in an introductory oceanography course and sections on historical developments in oceanography and observational techniques are relatively strong. Sections on marine biology and ecology are absent by design, but should ideally be added. Readers should also be aware that this textbook contains far fewer in-depth explanations and examples than standard oceanography textbooks. Citations are generally sparse and often refer to other open-source textbooks rather than primary or professional academic sources.
The information contained in this textbook is generally accurate. However, some small inaccuracies do occur. For example, the International Data Line is described as being equivalent to 180 degrees longitude. Illustrative examples are generally of greatest relevance to residents of the United States.
Sections written primarily by the author are highly relevant to oceanography. Sections on geology modified from other textbooks are only imperfectly relevant to oceanography and should ideally be revised to more clearly focus on the marine environment. While improvements can always be made, content is generally up-to-date, though sections on geology seem to lag behind other sections in this regard.
The text is generally clear and well-written. Students will also appreciate hyperlinks and textboxes surrounding important vocabulary. Overall, this textbook would benefit from additional explanatory figures and shorter paragraphs or bulleted lists for online presentation. Additionally, chapters modified from other textbooks present material in a voice different from the main author which may be disorienting for some readers. Sections on plate tectonic processes rely on information not covered in previous chapters.
The text is generally consistent. However, not all chapters are balanced in terms of the number of sub-sections or depth of coverage.
The textbook is easily divided into essentially modular chapters. Within each chapter, there are several core sub-chapters at the beginning of each chapter, but later sub-sections could be easily added or removed as desired.
The textbook is generally well organized.
The textbook interface is generally clear and easy to use. For later chapters, one is forced to scroll down to get to the appropriate spot in the navigation toolbar. The interface would benefit from the addition of a direct link to the next/previous sub-section or chapter.
The textbook is grammatical (as far as I can tell or cared to notice).
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive. With regard to cultural inclusion, references are made to Polynesian and Phoenician developments in maritime navigation, the monsoon in India*, and El Nino / La Nina off the coast of South American. However, there has not been an extensive effort to connect oceanography to human culture. *From the perspective of cultural sensitivity, the section on monsoons could be improved if the accompanying figure did not limit data presentation to the political boundaries of India.
This textbook is generally well written and makes good use of the online open-source format. If supplemented with additional material by a knowledgeable instructor, this textbook would be appropriate for use in a lower-level general education course or possibly a lower- or intermediate-level course for majors. That said, this textbook is less comprehensive than standard oceanography textbooks. The lack of sections on marine biology and ecology (and the integration of biological processes into other sections) in particular are major shortcomings that should be addressed.
Good amount of content on introductory physical and chemical oceanography, including basic earth science (like plate tectonics); while marine biology is not (by design) a focus of this text, the section on photosynthesizers (like phytoplankton) is... read more
Good amount of content on introductory physical and chemical oceanography, including basic earth science (like plate tectonics); while marine biology is not (by design) a focus of this text, the section on photosynthesizers (like phytoplankton) is helpful
Information is accurate and at an appropriate level for an introductory course.
This text seems equally relevant as the commercial oceanography texts that I've used, focusing on the basics and general principles; however, I do think there could be a bit more info on anthropogenic climate change as this is a very important, timely issue.
Good overall, nice to be able to click on words for definitions/more information
Each section is organized around clear learning objectives and seems to follow those throughout.
Very well done - could easily assigned a particular chapter or subsection of a chapter independently of previous/subsequent sections
Nicely organized on a broad scale (chapters), but within the sections the material sometimes isn't as logical as it could be - for example, in Chapter 4 (Tectonics and Marine Geology), the fact that the Earth's magnetic poles "flip" every so often isn't mentioned until section 4.5 (divergent plate boundaries) even though paleomagnetism is introduced much earlier in the chapter.
Easy to use, includes lots of figures.
Very well written, flows well.
Definitely not offensive or insensitive, but could benefit from a bit more diversity of examples that aren't Eurocentric and focused on white male scientists.
I like the clear learning objectives for each chapter, would like to see a bit more emphasis here on getting past the lower level thinking skills (remember, understand) to higher level goals (analyze, discuss, etc...)
The book covers all the topics that are important for an introductory oceanography course. Each instructor has his or her preferences of topics that he or she would like to cover more in depth, and for me that would be the role of the ocean in... read more
The book covers all the topics that are important for an introductory oceanography course. Each instructor has his or her preferences of topics that he or she would like to cover more in depth, and for me that would be the role of the ocean in the climate system and particularly climate change and the human impact on the ocean and its ecosystems. Some aspects of human interference with the ocean are covered in other chapters, such as ocean acidification (under Chemical Oceanography) or human impact on shorelines (under Coastal Oceanography), but other topics such as pollution or mining are not included. On the other hand, the structure of the Earth, and especially how its interior can be studied, is described very extensively - not all of this content might be needed in an oceanography course.
The glossary is very extensive and easily accessible throughout the text.
The content of the book is accurate.
The text is mostly up-to-date. In the climate chapter, several old figures from the 4th IPCC report (2007) rather than the 5th IPCC report (2013) are used, including the 2007 scenarios for climate prediction instead of the newer RCP scenarios. This section could be updated relatively easily and should also include the 2019 publication by the IPCC on "The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate".
The text is written clearly and reads very easily. The technical terminally is well explained.
The terminology use is consistent throughout the text.
The text is divided into chapters and subchapters of comparable and reader-friendly length. Sections of the text could easily be assigned as reading materials to students.
Overall the topics are mostly presented in a logical order. In the first chapter, however, the concept of active and passive continental margins is introduced, but plate tectonics is covered later. Without this knowledge, it might be a bit difficult for students to understand the difference between active and passive continental margins. Also, the section on the origin of the oceans might fit better with the origin of the Earth (Chapter 3) instead of the Chemical Oceanography chapter.
The text is easy to navigate, and some very useful links to additional materials are provided throughout the text.
I did not come across any grammatical errors.
The text is not culturally insensitive.
The book is very comprehensive on the material that it does cover, but its scope seems to be limited to physical oceanography. Other oceanography textbooks I have used discuss marine ecology and give a general overview of ocean life, so it would... read more
The book is very comprehensive on the material that it does cover, but its scope seems to be limited to physical oceanography. Other oceanography textbooks I have used discuss marine ecology and give a general overview of ocean life, so it would be helpful if this book did as well. It would also be helpful if the book included more sections on human impacts on the oceans such as pollution and climate change. There is a small section on the impacts of climate change on the oceans, but it could be much more comprehensive.
The content is accurate according to current data with no apparent inaccuracies or bias.
The information is up to date with relevant graphs. There are links to YouTube Videos and other sites which would need to be checked and updated frequently to maintain relevance. It might be more interesting to students if it included more examples of human impacts on the ocean such as plastic pollution and climate change.
The language used is extremely clear and accessible. The hover-over definitions help to define previously defined terms for clarity. The author breaks down commonly misunderstood topics with a lot of clarity.
The formatting and language is consistent throughout. Terms are consistently used and redefined throughout.
The book is laid out in short accessible sections, making it easy to find relevant sections. It doesn't seem like it is possible to reorder sections, but it would be easy to assign specific sections in any order using specific links. The sections are short and manageable and organized around specific topics. Reused terms are defined with Hover-over text making it easy to assign sections in any order.
The topics are logically and consistently organized.
The online interface is easy to navigate. It moves quickly and there were no problems with loading or lagging when moving through the book.
No grammatical errors were observed.
The book is not culturally insensitive.
Most of the relevant topics are covered adequately. However, more attention could be paid to ocean environmental issues, including pollution, plastics, and resource use/overuse. It would also be useful when discussing the difference between ocean... read more
Most of the relevant topics are covered adequately. However, more attention could be paid to ocean environmental issues, including pollution, plastics, and resource use/overuse. It would also be useful when discussing the difference between ocean and continental crust to include brief sections on the rock cycle and minerals - minerals are not even defined in the text.
A few problems, for example, in Section 4.6 - The Rockies are NOT the result of continent-continent convergence.
As mentioned above, the book would be more relevant if it covered environmental issues related to the oceans in greater depth. However, the content included is all fundamental to an introductory oceanography class. Additionally, some of the links at the bottom of sections are already dead (ex: Section 1.4).
Much of the book's general geology content was modified from another open textbook. As a result there were some minor inconsistencies.
Because the book is modular, it is easy to adapt organization to the instructor's preferences.
Very attractive and easy to navigate.
No obvious errors.
I find this a good, no-cost alternative to pricy intro oceanography texts. It does what it sets out to do.
Tackling Oceanography requires the ability to assimilate Geology, Chemistry, Biology, Meteorology, and Physics. This text does a great job of integrating each of these sciences together to give a survey of this complex topic. This text starts at... read more
Tackling Oceanography requires the ability to assimilate Geology, Chemistry, Biology, Meteorology, and Physics. This text does a great job of integrating each of these sciences together to give a survey of this complex topic. This text starts at understanding how the Earth and it's oceans formed to understanding the geology of modern ocean basins and their ever changing shorelines, the physics of ocean currents, basic biologic functions that effect ocean chemistry, and the future of the oceans concerning climate change. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the text combined the topics to provide the basic understanding to introductory students.
The information is current and accurate. This text doesn't delve into a lot of detail, but keeps it relevant for an introductory level. The text relied heavily on another Open Textbook Library text - Physical Geology by Earle. I was grateful to see it referenced, but it was definitely leaned on heavily.
The text used current and up to date information. When the next IPCC assessment report comes out, it will be easy to put new information in. Examples given in the text are also modern, and should be easy to maintain.
Verbiage in the text is clear and easy to follow. Any technical terminology or jargon is explained and used in context. It is easy for texts like this to be boring and dry, but the prose was written keeps the reader engaged.
The text stays consistent throughout the chapters.
There are some sections in the book that seem a tad short, more could be added to them. For example, the Sea Level section does a fantastic job explaining how eustatic sea level works, but it is lacking in examples. Students need to see the relevancy of a topic in order to stay engaged, and more real world applications would do just that. Other sections, like the tsunami section, do have examples, but could have gone into a bit more depth in conversation.
The organization is consistent and clear. The text does not jump around in an attempt to integrate the different subject matters. They are presented in a clear fashion, and one chapter leads into the next in a logical manner.
Many times I wish there were videos embedded in text, because it can be difficult to convey a topic to a student with a static picture. The videos that are embedded in the chapters help clarify and bring to life complicated topics. These are great visuals that will help the student succeed in comprehending the material .
Grammar was consistent and easy to follow. I did not notice any grammatical errors or difficult sentence structures.
The book does use many real world examples, and does a fantastic job of picking examples from around the world, not just on one continent. This exposes the reader to thinking about oceanography in the context of other countries and cultures, rather than just a narrow scope.
In our college's future, we will be teaching an introductory oceanography course, and I fully plan on utilizing this text. Even though this is an introductory course, it is considered a specialized topic, and I am grateful to see this subject matter on an OER list!
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction to the Oceans
- Chapter 2: Getting our Bearings
- Chapter 3: The Origin and Structure of Earth
- Chapter 4: Plate Tectonics and Marine Geology
- Chapter 5: Chemical Oceanography
- Chapter 6: Physical Oceanography
- Chapter 7: Primary Production
- Chapter 8: Oceans and Climate
- Chapter 9: Ocean Circulation
- Chapter 10: Waves
- Chapter 11: Tides
- Chapter 12: Ocean Sediments
- Chapter 13: Coastal Oceanography
- Chapter 14: Ice
About the Book
Introduction to Oceanography is a textbook appropriate to an introductory-level university course in oceanography. The book covers the fundamental geological, chemical, physical and biological processes in the ocean, with an emphasis on the North Atlantic region.
About the Contributors
Paul Webb earned a BA in Biology from the University of Richmond, and a MS in Marine Science and PhD in Biology from the University of California-Santa Cruz. At UCSC his research focused on the behavioral and physiological ecology of northern elephant seals. For the past 20 years he has been a faculty member in the Department of Biology, Marine Biology, and Environmental Science at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, where he is a Professor of Marine Biology. At RWU he regularly teaches courses in Oceanography, Marine Mammalogy, Marine Vertebrate Zoology, Animal Behavior, Animal Physiology, Tropical Ecology (in Belize), and Herpetology.