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Marine Chemistry

Course Number: OCOR - 5605

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to marine chemistry. It describes the properties, composition, and origin of seawater; the importance, distribution, relationships, and biogeochemical cycling of the major inorganic nutrients, dissolved gases, trace metals, and organic compounds. Salinity, temperature and density distributions will be explained. Carbonate parameters (pH, Alkalinity, TCO2 and pCO2) and how these are influenced by uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide by the ocean will be a key topic. Material is presented through lectures and three laboratory sessions which cover the principles and application of selected analytical techniques. 

Learning Outcomes:

Students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes affecting the distribution of chemical parameters in the oceans.
  • Explain the concepts of salinity and composition of the major seawater ions. Describe the distribution of salinity, temperature and density in the oceans
  • Explain the carbonate system, distribution of carbonate parameters in the oceans and the concept of ocean acidification and climate change.
  • Describe the distribution of dissolved oxygen in the oceans, seasonal variations, physical and biological processes affecting oxygen concentrations and its importance for marine life.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance, major forms, distribution, measurement and cycling of inorganic nutrients (phosphate, nitrate, nitrite and silicate), dissolved organic matter and trace elements in the oceans.
  • Determine the salinity of seawater by various physical and chemical methods.
  • Determine the concentration of inorganic phosphate in seawater by standard analytical methods.
  • Determine the concentrations and fluctuations of the major components of the CO2 system from pH/alkalinity data, and interpret the results in biological or ecological terms.

Required Text:

An Introduction to the Chemistry of the Sea, 2nd ed., Michael EQ Pilson, Cambridge University Press, 2013. ISBN: 978-0521757775

Recommended Texts:

Chemical Oceanography, 4th Ed., Frank J. Millero, Taylor & Francis Group, 2013. ISBN: 9781466512498


Winter 2016 Syllabus 

Oceanography Library Course Guide

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