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2013-2014 Undergraduate Courses

Lower Division Courses

1. The Planets (4)

Space exploration has revealed an astonishing diversity among the planets and moons in our solar system. The planets and their histories will be compared to gain insight and a new perspective on planet Earth. Prerequisites: none. (W)


10. The Earth (4)

An introduction to structure of the Earth and the processes that form and modify it. Emphasizes material that is useful for understanding geological events as reported in the news and for making intelligent decisions regarding the future of our environment. Prerequisites: none. (W)


12. History of the Earth and Evolution (4)

Evolution of the Earth from its origin in the early solar system to formation of continents and ocean basins, and how the planet became habitable. It examines the geologic record of evolution, extinction, plate tectonics, and climate changes through time. Prerequisites: none. (F)


15. Natural Disasters (4)

Introduction to environmental perils and their impact on everyday life. Geological and meteorological processes, including earthquakes, volcanic activity, large storms, global climate change, mass extinctions throughout Earth’s history, and human activity that causes and prevents natural disasters. Prerequisites: none. (F)


16. Geology of the National Parks (4)

An introduction to fundamental concepts of geology and environmental science through the lens of the national park system. Topics covered include the geologic time scale; plate tectonics; igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary processes; geomorphology; climate change; and environmental degradation. Prerequisites: none. (S)


20. The Atmosphere (4)

Descriptive introduction to meteorology and climate studies. Topics include global and wind and precipitation patterns, weather forecasting, present climate and past climate changes (including droughts, El Niño events), greenhouse gas effects, ozone destruction, the “little ice age,” acid rain. Prerequisites: none. (W)


25. Climate Change and Society (4)

Climate change is one of the most complex and critical issues affecting societies today. This course will present the scientific evidence for climate change and its impacts and consider governmental policy responses and possible adaptation strategies. Prerequisites: none. (W)


30. The Oceans (4)

Presents modern ideas and descriptions of the physical, chemical, biological, and geological aspects of oceanography, and considers the interactions between these aspects. Intended for students interested in the oceans, but who do not necessarily intend to become professional scientists. Prerequisites: none. (F)


35. Water (4)

This course will examine the properties of water that make it unique and vital to living things. Origin of water on Earth and neighboring planets will be explored. Socially relevant issues concerning water use and contamination will be covered. Prerequisites: none. (W)


40. Life and Climate on Earth (4)

Explores life on Earth and its relationship to the environment—past, present, and future. Topics include origins of life, earth history, elemental cycles, global climate variability and human impacts on our environment. Prerequisites: none. (F)


45. Volcanoes (4)

This class will provide students with an introduction to volcanoes, including the mechanisms, products, and hazards associated with various types of volcanic eruptions. A key area of emphasis will be the impact of volcanism on human societies. Prerequisites: none. (W)


50. Introduction to Earth and Environmental Sciences (6)

This course is an introduction to how our planet works, focusing on the formation and evolution of the solid earth, and the processes affecting both its surface and interior. Laboratories and substantial field component complement and extend the lecture material. Program and/or material fee may apply. Prerequisites: none. (F,S)


87. Freshman Seminar (1)

The Freshman Seminar Program is designed to provide the new students with the opportunity to explore and intellectual topic with a faculty member in a small setting. Topics vary from quarter to quarter. Enrollment is limited to fifteen to twenty students, with preference given to entering freshmen. (P/NP grades only). (F,W,S)


90. Undergraduate Seminar (1)

Perspectives on ocean sciences. This seminar introduces students to exciting and current research topics in ocean science as presented by faculty and researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Formerly ERTH 90. Prerequisites: none.


96. Frontiers in the Earth Sciences (2)

An introduction to current research in the earth sciences. Background in science not required, but may be useful for some topics. Areas covered vary from year to year. Prerequisites: none.


99. Independent Study (2 or 4)

Independent reading or research on a problem by special arrangement with a faculty member.Prerequisites: lower-division standing, completion of thirty units of UC San Diego undergraduate study, a minimum UC San Diego GPA of 3.0, and a completed and approved Special Studies form, UC San Diego Application for Enrollment Special Studies Courses 97, 98, 99.


Upper Division Courses

100. Introduction to Field Methods (4)

Mapping and interpretation of geologic units. Field work is done locally and the data are analyzed in the laboratory. There will be one mandatory weekend field trip to Anza Borrego State Park. Program and/or material fee may apply. Prerequisites: SIO 50 or consent of instructor. (F)

101. California Coastal Oceanography (4)

This course emphasizes oceanographic connections between physical and climate forcing and marine ecosystem responses using examples from and activities in the California coastal environment. The approach is inquiry-based, combining classroom and experiential learning to build critical and quantitative thinking and research insights and abilities. Prerequisites: Chem 6A or consent of instructor. (F)

102. Introduction to Geochemistry (4)

An introduction to the chemical composition and evolution of the Earth and solar system. Applications of chemical methods to elucidate the origin and geologic history of the Earth and the planets, evolution of oceans and atmosphere, and human environmental impacts.Prerequisites: SIO 50, Chem 6A-B-C, or consent of instructor. (W)

103. Introduction to Geophysics (4)

An introduction to the structure and composition of the solid earth. Topics include seismology, the gravity and magnetic fields, high-pressure geophysics, and concepts in geodynamics. Emphasis is on global geophysics, i.e., on the structure and evolution of the planet.Prerequisites: Math 20A-B-C-D and Physics 2A-B-C, SIO 50, or consent of instructor. SIO 160 recommended. (F)

104/255. Paleobiology and History of Life (6)

An introduction to the major biological transitions in Earth history from the origins of metabolism and cells to the evolution of complex societies. The nature and limitations of the fossil record, patterns of adaptation and diversity, and the tempo and mode of biological evolution. Laboratories and substantial field component complement and extend the lecture material. Program and/or material fee may apply. Prerequisites: undergraduate: BILD 3 or consent of instructor. Graduate: graduate-level standing or consent of instructor. Graduate students, additionally, will give oral presentation or research paper. (W)

105. Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4)

This course will examine sedimentary environments from mountain tops to the deep sea across a variety of time scales. The focus is to develop the skills to interpret stratigraphy and read the history of the Earth that it records. Laboratories and substantial field component complement and extend lecture material. Program and/or course material fee may apply. Prerequisites:SIO 50 or consent of instructor. (S)

110. Introduction to GIS and GPS for Scientists (4)

A hands-on introduction to science applications of geographic information systems and global positioning system. Students acquire data through GPS field surveys, design and construct GIS using ESRI’s ArcGIS software, analyze spatial data, and present the results in a web-based environment. Prerequisites: upper-division standing or consent of instructor. (W)

111. Introduction to Ocean Waves (4)

The linear theory of ocean surface waves, including: group velocity, wave dispersion, ray theory, wave measurement and prediction, shoaling waves, giant waves, ship wakes, tsunamis, and the physics of the surf zone. Prerequisites: Math 20A–E and Physics 2A–C or 4A-C, or consent of instructor. (W)

112. Urban Landscapes (4)

Introduction to scientific principles, such as conservation of mass and energy and pattern formation, that govern the development of urban centers as complex systems. Contrasts between natural and urban landscapes will be highlighted, with examples including water routing and disease transmission. Prerequisites: upper-division standing or consent of instructor. (S)

113. Introduction to Computational Earth Science (4)

Computer models are used in the geosciences to understand complex natural systems. This course includes beginning programming with a user-friendly language (Matlab) and an introduction to writing computer models of Earth processes. Prerequisites: Math 20B and Physics 2A or consent of instructor. (W)

115. Ice and the Climate System (4)

This course examines the Earth’s cryoshere, including glaciers, ice sheets, ice caps, sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow, and permafrost. We cover the important role of the cryoshere in the climate systems and its response to climate change. Prerequisites: Math 20A–D and Physics 2A–C or consent of instructor. (S)

117. The Physical Basis of Global Warming (4)

Introduction to the processes behind global warming, including the physics of the greenhouse effect, controls on greenhouse gases, atmospheric and oceanic circulation, climate feedbacks, relationship to natural climate variability, and global environmental issues related to global warming. Prerequisites: Math 20D and Physics 2C or consent of instructor. (S)

119. Physics and Chemistry of the Oceans (4)

Basic physical and chemical processes that influence the biology of the oceans, such as ocean circulation, ocean acidification, carbonate chemistry, trace metal chemistry. Prerequisites:Physics 1C or 2C, Chem 6C, or consent of instructor. (W)

120. Introduction to Mineralogy (4)

Application of mineralogical and x-ray crystallographic techniques in earth sciences. Topics include symmetry, crystal structure, chemical, and physical properties of minerals with special emphasis on the common rock-forming minerals. Laboratory component includes polarizing microscope and x-ray powder diffraction methods. Prerequisites: SIO 50, or consent of instructor. (W)

126. Marine Microbiology (4)

The role of microorganisms in the oceans; metabolic diversity; methods in marine microbiology; interactions of microbes with other microbes, plants and animals; biochemical cycling, pollution and water quality; microbe-mineral interactions; extremophiles. (Students may not receive credit for both SIO 126 and BIMM 126.) Prerequisites: BIBC 102 or consent of instructor. (S)

126L. Marine Mircobiology Laboratory (4)

Techniques and theory in marine microbiology. Students perform experiments concerning (a) enrichment, enumeration, and identification, and (b) metabolic and physiochemical adaptations, along with an independent project. Students cannot receive credit for both SIO 126L and BIMM 127. Prerequisites: SIO 126 and upper-division standing or consent of instructor.

127. Marine Molecular Ecology (4)

This course will survey the application of molecular methods to address diverse questions concerning the ecology and evolutionary biology in marine organisms.  Focus will be on genetic and genomic approaches that are providing new insights into how marine organisms adapt to their physical and biotic environments. Prerequisites: BILD 3 and BICD 100, or consent of instructor(S)

132. Introduction to Marine Biology (4)

Overview of marine organisms and their adaptations to sea life. Selected examples of physiological, behavioral, and evolutionary adaptations in response to the unique challenges of a maritime environment. (Students may not receive credit for both SIO 132 and BIEB 132.)Prerequisites: BILD 3 or consent of instructor. (F)

133. Marine Mammal Biology (4)

Introduction to the biology, ecology, evolution, and conservation status of marine mammals. Description of marine mammal taxa (mysticetes, odontocetes, pinnipeds, sirenians), their anatomy, physiology, ecology, and behavior. Impacts of whaling, fisheries interactions, and other anthropogenic threats. Prerequisites: BILD 3 and upper-division standing or consent of instructor. (S)

134. Introduction to Biological Oceanography (4)

Basics for understanding the ecology of marine communities. The approach is process-oriented, focusing on major functional groups of organisms, their food-web interactions and community response to environmental forcing, and contemporary issues in human and climate influences. (Students may not receive credit for both SIO 134 and BIEB 134.) Prerequisites:BILD 3 and upper-division standing or consent of instructor. (W)

135/236. Satellite Remote Sensing (4)

Satellite remote sensing provides global observations of Earth to monitor environmental changes in land, oceans, and ice. Overview, physical principles of remote sensing including: orbits, electromagnetic radiation, diffraction, electro-optical, and microwave systems. Weekly labs explore remote sensing data sets. Graduate students will also be required to write a term paper and do an oral presentation. Prerequisites: undergraduate: Physics 2A–B or Physics 4A-B-C, or consent of instructor. Graduate: graduate-level standing or consent of instructor. (S)

136. Marine Biology Laboratory (4)

Introductory laboratory course in current principles and techniques applicable to research problems in marine biology. Field component includes introduction to intertidal, salt marsh, or other marine ecosystems. Program or material fee may apply. Prerequisites: BILD 3 and SIO 132 or SIO 134 or consent of instructor. (S)

138. The Coral Reef Environment (4)

Assessment of the physical, chemical, and biological interactions that define the coral reef system; essential geography and evolutionary history of reefs; natural and human perturbations to the coral reef ecosystem; aspects of reef management and sustainability.Prerequisites: BILD 3, Math 10A, Chem 6B, or consent of instructor. (S)

141/Chem 174. Chemical Principles of Marine Systems (4)

Introduction to the chemistry and distribution of the elements in seawater, emphasizing basic chemical principles such as electron structure, chemical bonding, and group and periodic properties and showing how these affect basic aqueous chemistry in marine systems.Prerequisites: Chem 6C or 6CH, or consent of instructor. (S)

143. Ocean Acidification (4)

This course covers the fundamentals of ocean acidification, including the chemical background; past and future changes in ocean chemistry; biological and biogeochemical consequences, including organism and ecosystem function; biodiversity; biomineralization; carbonate dissolution; and the cycling of carbon and nitrogen in the oceans. Prerequisites: Math 10C, Physics 1C, Chem 6C, or consent of instructor. (W)

144/252A. Introduction to Isotope Geochemistry (4)

Radioactive and stable isotope studies in geology and geochemistry, including geochronology, isotopes as tracers of magmatic processes, cosmic-ray produced isotopes as tracers in the crust and weathering cycle, isotopic evolution of the crust and mantle. Prerequisites:undergraduate: SIO 50, SIO 102, and 120 or consent of instructor. Graduate: graduate-level standing or consent of instructor.

147. Applications of Phylogenetics (6)

Overview of the computer-based methods for constructing phylogenetic trees using morphological and molecular data. Lectures and labs cover evolutionary and ecological transformations, biodiversity measurements, biogeography, systematic and taxonomy. An independent project and presentation are required. (Students may not receive credit for both SIO 147 and BIEB 147.) Prerequisites: BILD 3 or consent of instructor.

148/248. Evolution of Earth’s Biosphere (6)

Paleoecological development of marine and terrestrial environments during Earth’s evolution. Ecological and chemical evolution of the oceans, atmosphere, biogeochemical cycles, and environments with particular emphasis on the long-term history and climate of the Earth’s surface. Field trips required. Program and/or course material fee may apply. Graduate level additionally requires (1) term research paper, (2) researched oral presentations during the field trips, and (3) analysis of weekly readings from the current literature. Prerequisites:undergraduate: SIO 104 or consent of instructor. Graduate: graduate-level standing or consent of instructor. (S)

150. Physics and Chemistry of Planetary Interiors (4)

Quantitative study of the physical and chemical processes operating within planetary interiors that control the evolution of planets on geological time scales. Comparative planetology of Earth, Venus, Mars, and other terrestrial planets and satellites will focus on how the formation, differentiation, and evolution of their interiors are expressed as tectonics and volcanism on their surfaces. Prerequisites: Math 20D, Physics 2C, Chemistry 6C or consent of instructor. (F)

152. Petrology and Petrography (4)

Mineralogic, chemical, textural and structural properties of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks; their origin and relations to evolution of the Earth’s crust and mantle. Laboratory emphasizes hand specimens and microscopic studies of rocks in thin sections.Prerequisites: SIO 50 and SIO 120 or consent of instructor. (S)

154/254. Macroevolution (4)

Tempo and mode of evolution with emphasis on the marine fossil record. Large-scale patterns and trends in diversity, speciation, and extinction. Innovation, disparity, and adaptive radiation. Evolutionary turnover and the role of the environment in macroevolution. Graduate students will also be required to write a term paper and do oral presentation. Prerequisites:undergraduate: SIO 104 or BIEB 150 or consent of instructor. Graduate: graduate-level standing or consent of instructor. (S)

155. Whole Earth Geochemistry (4)

A geochemical overview of Earth materials and chemical processes involved in the Earth’s evolution. Topics include formation and differentiation of the Earth, linkages between the solid Earth and the atmosphere/hydrosphere, and isotope and trace element composition of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Prerequisites: SIO 102 or consent of instructor. (S)

160. Introduction to Tectonics (4)

The theory of plate tectonics attempts to explain how forces within the Earth give rise to continents, ocean basins, mountain ranges, earthquake belts, and most volcanoes. In this course we will learn how plate tectonics works. Prerequisites: SIO 50 or consent of instructor. (S)

162. Structural Geology (4)

Principles of stratigraphy and structural geology applicable to field geologic studies. Discussion and laboratory exercises. Two to three field trips required. Program and/or material fee may apply. Prerequisites: SIO 100 or consent of instructor. (W)

170. Introduction to Volcanology (6)

This course teaches fundamental aspects of physical and chemical volcanology with a major field study component on an active volcano on Hawaii (two weeks early September). Subjects are introduced in lectures and reinforced and expanded in field exercises. Students return to campus to attend regular lectures and to prepare final field report during fall quarter. Additional fees may be required. Prerequisites: SIO 50, SIO 100, and Chem 6A, or consent of instructor. Department stamp required. (F)

180/292. Communicating Science to Informal Audiences (4)

Students develop fundamental science communication and instructional skills through the understanding and application of learning theory, interpretive techniques, and pedagogical practices, which occur in the context of communicating ocean science concepts to a diverse audience at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Graduate science students will develop fundamental communication and instructional skills through the understanding and application of learning theory, interpretive techniques, and pedagogical practices, including the development of an education/outreach plan to support a competitive research proposal. Prerequisites: (graduate) graduate-level standing or consent of instructor; (undergraduate) Chem 6A or SIO 50 or BILD 1 or consent of instructor. (F)

181. Marine Biochemistry (4)

Biochemical mechanisms of adaptation in organisms to the marine environment. Special emphasis will be on the effects of pressure, temperature, salinity, oxygen, and light on the physiology and biochemistry. (Students may not receive credit for both SIO 181 and BIBC 130.) Prerequisites: None (F)

182. Environmental and Exploration Geophysics (4)

Theory and practice of nonseismic geophysics for groundwater, environmental, and exploration purposes. Lectures are supplemented by collection of gravity, magnetic, and resistivity data; data analysis; and report writing. Includes an introduction to Matlab as a tool for geophysical data interpretation. Prerequisites: Math 20D and Physics 2C, or consent of instructor. (S)

183. Phycology: Marine Plant Biology (5)

Lecture and laboratory course emphasizing the biology, ecology and taxonomy of marine plants and seaweeds. Laboratory work mainly involves examination, slide preparation and dissection of fresh material collected locally. An oral presentation on a current research topic is required. Program or course fee may apply. Prerequisites: BILD 3 or consent of instructor. (W)

184. Marine Invertebrates (6)

Course emphasizing the diversity, evolution and functional morphology of marine invertebrates. Laboratory work involves examination of live and prepared specimens. An oral presentation and a paper on current research topic is required. Program or course fee may apply.Prerequisites: BILD 3 or consent of instructor. (W)

186. Interactions Between Humans and the Natural Environment (4)

As human population and resource usage have increased, the character of human interactions with nonhuman natural systems on Earth’s surface has changed dramatically. This course will survey tools for characterizing this change, its nature, and projections into the future.Prerequisites: upper-division standing or consent of instructor. (W)

187. Statistical Methods in Marine Biology (4)

Introduction to statistical inference. Emphasis on constructing statistics for specific problems in marine biology. Topics include probability, distributions, sampling, replication, and experimental design. Students may not receive credit for both SIO 187 and BIEB 100. Prerequisites: BILD 3 or consent of instructor.

189. Pollution, Environment and Health (4)

The goal is to understand the scope of the pollution problem facing the planet. Students will learn the properties of chemicals in the environment and survey the biological mechanisms that determine their accumulation and toxicity. Prerequisites: Chem 6C and BILD 1 or 3 or consent of instructor. (S)

190. Special Topics in Earth Sciences (4)

A seminar course designed to treat emerging or topical subjects in the earth sciences. Involves reading from the literature and student participation in discussion. Topics vary from year to year. Enrollment by permission of instructor. (Students may enroll in SIO 190 and/or ERTH 190 no more than two times for credit.) Prerequisites: upper-division standing, a minimum UC San Diego GPA of 3.0 or consent of instructor.

192. Senior Seminar in Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1)

The Senior Seminar Program is designed to allow Scripps Institution of Oceanography senior undergraduates to meet with faculty members in a small group setting to explore an intellectual topic in Scripps Oceanography (at the upper-division level). Topics will vary from quarter to quarter. Senior Seminars may be taken for credit up to four times, with a change in topic, and permission of the department. Enrollment is limited to twenty students, with preference given to seniors.

194. Research Seminar in Washington, D.C. (4)

Course attached to a six- to eight-unit internship taken by students participating in the UCDC Program. Involves weekly seminar meetings with faculty and teaching assistant and a substantial research paper. Prerequisites: departmental approval. Participation in the UCDC Program during quarter enrolled in seminar.

195. Methods of Teaching Earth Sciences (4)

Introduction to teaching earth sciences class section in a lower-division class, hold office hours, assist with examinations. This course counts only once towards the major. Prerequisites:junior or senior earth sciences major with GPA of 3.0 or an A in the course, overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, ninety units or more, and consent of instructor, plus department stamp.

196. Honors Thesis Research (4)

Independent research on a problem in earth sciences by special arrangement with a faculty member (letter grade only). Students may take ERTH 196 and/or SIO 196 two times for credit.Prerequisites: completed ninety units of courses including twelve units of ERTH and/or SIO courses. Achieved a GPA of 3.3 overall and 3.5 in SIO/ERTH courses. Submitted to ERTH Steering Committee, and had approved, an honors thesis research proposal. Department stamp.


197. Earth Science Internship (2 or 4)

The earth science internship program is designed to complement the program’s academic curriculum with practical field experience. Prerequisites: completion of ninety units with a GPA of 2.5, and a completed and approved Special Studies form, UC San Diego Application for Enrollment Special Studies Courses 197, 198, 199, and department stamp

198. Directed Group Study (2–4)

This course covers a variety of directed group studies in areas not covered by formal Scripps Oceanography courses. (P/NP grades only.) Prerequisites: consent of instructor.

199. Independent Study for Undergraduates (4)

Independent reading or research on a problem. By special arrangement with a faculty member. (P/NP grades only.)