Subject: Marine Biology and Oceanography

Scientific Area:



68 Hours

Number of ECTS:




Overall objectives:

1 - During this course the students will gain a basic insight into the field of marine biology and biological oceanography.
2 - It will also introduce them to basic physical oceanography and marine chemistry
3 - An ecological approach will be used to show the principles that govern marine life throughout the main environments within the world?s oceans with a special attention to the open ocean.
4 - At the end of this course the students should understand the physical, chemical and biological principles that contribute to the shaping and interactions of present­day marine communities.
5 - Further, students will be able to recognize the main problems the world oceans face in respect to man­made ecosystem and climate changes.


1 - Zonation and main oceanic basins
2 - History of Oceanography
3 - Physico­chemical properties of seawater
4 - Oceanic heat budget.
5 - Physical oceanography (Coriolis effect, atmospheric circulation, surface currents, thermohaline currents).
6 - Main phytoplankton groups.
7 - Chemotaxonomy of phytoplankton by analysis of their main photosynthetic pigments
8 - Photosynthesis, light and nutrient control
9 - Primary production.
10 - Taxonomy of the main zooplankton groups.
11 - Ecology of zooplankton (food webs, secondary production).
12 - Biogeochemical mineral cycles (carbon cycle and it?s importance in global change).
13 - Nekton organisms.
14 - Coastal benthic communities (rocky intertidal, seaweeds and invertebrates).
15 - Coral reefs (types, tropical reefs, ecology, deep­sea reefs, threats).
16 - Deep­Sea ecology, hydrothermal vents and cold seeps.
17 - Human impact on the oceans (fishery, pollution, global change).


LALLI, C. M. & PARSONS, T. R. , 1997 , Biological Oceanography: An introduction. 2nd ed. , Pergamon Press, Oxford.
NYBAKKEN, J. W. & BERTNESS, M.D , 2004 , MARINE BIOLOGY. An Ecological Approach. 6th ed. , Addison Wesley Longman
THURMAN, H. V. & TRUJILLO, A. P. , 2004 , Introductory Oceanography , Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River
CASTRO, P. & HUBER, M. E , 2005 , Marine Biology. 5th ed , MacGraw­Hill, Boston

Assesssment methods and criteria:

Classification Type: Quantitativa (0-20)

Evaluation Methodology:
Powerpoint presentation for lectures; discussion with students of current topics in TP­-type classes; practical courses for learning methodologies in marine biology and biological oceanography; application of these methodologies in a field trip at sea with subsequent laboratory work by students (mini­project). Delivery of presentations in pdf format; indication and delivery of specific papers for reading assignment; discussion of current issues related to oceans (eg ocean acidification). Evaluation by written exam (50%), report of practical courses (20%), seminars (10%) and report of mini­project (30%).

Subject Leader:

Manfred Josef Kaufmann