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OCEN322 Biological Oceanography

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Interactions of biological and physical processes in the ocean and how physical processes regulate productivity and distribution of organisms in oceanic and coastal ecosystems, from the microscale to the macroscale.

We start with the biological effects of diffusion, turbulence and viscosity, fronts, tides, upwelling and mesoscale eddies and move forward to study the influence of large-scale phenomena, like El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, on marine ecosystems. To finish, we learn about the biological pump and the importance of marine organisms in the global carbon cycle and climate change. This paper is convenient in view of the current concern about the role of the oceans in climate change due to the increasing need to understand the integrated biological-physical functioning of marine ecosystems and the links between different scales. This paper includes a field trip to study the effect of mesoscale hydrological processes on picoplankton distribution and activity across the Southland Front, offshore Otago.

Paper title Biological Oceanography
Paper code OCEN322
Subject Oceanography
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

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MARI 112, and One of BIOL 112, BIOL 123, EAOS 111, ECOL 111 and two 200-level science papers from Science Schedule C
Recommended Preparation
AQFI 251, OCEN 201, OCEN 301
Schedule C

Dr Bridie Allan (

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Bridie Allan

Recommended: Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems: Biological-Physical Interactions in the Oceans (3rd ed), by Kenneth Mann, 2005
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students will develop an integrated understanding of the interplay between physical and biological processes occurring in marine ecosystems at all scales, from less than a kilometre to the size of whole oceans.

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Saturday 08:00-17:50 31
Sunday 08:00-17:50 31


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 32-34


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-14:50 28
Wednesday 14:00-16:50 29-31


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 36-40