Intro to the Worlds Oceans
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Student Edition
Instructor Edition
An Introduction to the World's Oceans, 8/e

Keith Sverdrup, University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
Alyn Duxbury, University of Washington
Alison Duxbury, Seattle Community College

ISBN: 0072528079
Copyright year: 2005


A Note to Students

Human beings have been curious about the oceans since they first walked along their shores. As people have learned more about the oceans, they have come to understand more fully and appreciate the tremendous influence these bodies of salt water have on our lives. The oceans cover over 70% of Earth's surface, creating a habitat for thousands of known species and countless others still to be discovered. The sea contains vast quantities of diverse natural resources in the water and on the sea floor; some are actively exploited today, and many more may be recovered in the future with improved technology and greater demand. Global climate and weather are strongly influenced by the oceans as they interact with the atmosphere through the transfer of moisture and heat energy. The ocean basins also serve as the location of great geological processes and features such as earthquakes, volcanoes, massive mountain ranges, and deep trenches, all of which are related to the creation and destruction of sea floor in the process of plate tectonics.

Much of what happens in the oceans and on the sea floor is hidden from direct observation. Although the Hubble Space Telescope can form images from light that has traveled over 10 billion trillion kilometers, we can not see more than a few tens of meters below the ocean's surface even under the most favorable conditions because of the efficient scattering and absorption of light by seawater. Consequently, most of what we know about the oceans comes from indirect, or remote, methods of observation. With constantly improving technology and innovative applications of that technology, we continue to learn more about the geological, physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the oceans.

Although careful scientific study of the oceans is often difficult and challenging, it is both necessary and rewarding. Our lives are so intimately tied to the oceans that we benefit from each new fact that we discover. Continued research and a better understanding of the oceans become increasingly important, as the population of this planet grows ever larger. Early in the new millennium, there is both good news and bad news concerning global population growth. The rate of population increase has slowed with falling birth rates, and there is some indication that the human population will level off by the end of this century. But even if the human population does stabilize, it will not do so before there is an increase of several billion people over today's population. We clearly will continue to face difficult environmental decisions affecting the oceans as well as the land in the foreseeable future. Our best chance of dealing wisely and effectively with these challenges is to promote more widespread understanding of the oceans.

Although it is critical that we continue to train marine scientists to study the oceans, it is no less important for people in all walks of life to develop a basic understanding of how the oceans influence our lives and how our actions influence the oceans. In studying oceanography, you are preparing yourself to be an informed global citizen. It is likely that at some point in the future you will have the opportunity to voice your concern about the health of the oceans, either directly or through the governmental process. Your interest in and study of oceanography will help you participate in future discussions and decision-making processes in an informed manner.

The Online Learning Center at provides you with links to Internet addresses applicable to this text. To expand your knowledge of oceanography, there are Internet exercises for many of these sites. The exercises are found within the Online Learning Center. There is also a comprehensive student study guide that includes detailed outlines of the chapters and questions to test your understanding.

A Note to Instructors

A major objective of this text is to stimulate student interest and curiosity by blending contemporary information and research with basic principles in order to present an integrated introduction to the many and varied sciences used in the study of the oceans. To do so, we have extensively reviewed and rewritten material from the seventh edition to produce this new eighth edition. In the face of constant and rapid change, we have added new material for both content and interest. We have also invited five scientists to write guest essays in their fields of specialization. There is also a sixth essay written by a chief scientist and a ship's captain on planning and executing an oceanographic expedition.

We realize that the students who use this book come from diverse backgrounds and that for many of them this is an elective course. The content continues to be reasonably rigorous, but we have chosen to use simple algebra rather than advanced mathematics. For instance, we use centrifugal force to explain tidal principles because most students do not have much background in vectors.

An ecological approach and descriptive material are used to integrate the biological chapters with the other subject fields. We strive to emphasize oceanography as a cohesive and united whole rather than a collection of subjects gathered under a marine umbrella.

In order to understand the constant barrage of information concerning our planet and marine issues, students must have a basic command of the language of marine science in addition to mastering processes and principles. For this reason we maintain an emphasis on critical vocabulary. All terms are defined in the text; terms that are particularly important are printed in boldface. A list of important terms is at the end of each chapter, and a glossary is included at the end of the book. The Online Learning Center for this text also hosts flashcards of key terms for student study.

Summaries at the ends of chapters provide quick reviews of key concepts. Study Problems are included in many chapters, and Study Questions are at the end of each chapter. The Study Questions are not intended merely for review, but also to challenge students to think further about the lessons of the chapter.

This book may be used in a one-quarter or one-semester course. Because the experience and emphasis of faculty using this book will differ, it is expected that each instructor will emphasize and elaborate on some topic at the expense of other topics. We continue to make each chapter stand as independently as possible and encourage instructors to use the chapters in the order that best suits their purposes. Cross-references from one chapter to another indicate discussion of topics elsewhere in the text. Faculty wishing to use a more quantitative approach in some areas are encouraged to make use of Appendix C, Equations and Quantitative Relationships. The answers to the Study Questions and Study Problems from the text appear in the Instructor's Manual, in the password-protected instructor's area of the Online Learning Center.

Changes to the Eighth Edition

In addition to revisions and updates based on current research, this edition contains several new guest essays or "Field Notes." Chapter 1 contains a new guest essay written by Dr. Marcia McNutt and Captain Ian Young on the roles of the chief scientist and ship's captain in planning and executing a successful oceanographic expedition. In Chapter 2 we have included a discussion of the possible existence of extraterrestrial oceans in our solar system. Chapter 3 includes a Field Notes box on Project Neptune on the Juan de Fuca plate. Chapter 3's discussion of plate tectonics, especially convergent plate boundaries, has been completely revised and updated, with new figures added. Giant Hawaiian landslides are now discussed in Chapter 4's Field Notes box. In Chapter 5 the description of the interaction of light and seawater has been extensively revised, and the attenuation of light with depth is discussed in greater detail. Chapter 6 includes a new description of the different units, including moles/liter, used in expressing the concentration of dissolved constituents in seawater. Chapter 7 contains an updated and significantly revised discussion of ENSO. Chapter 8 includes an updated discussion of oceanic internal structure and circulation. It also covers topics in upwelling and downwelling, the layering of the oceans, and updated material on sampling methods and measurement techniques. The Arctic Ocean Studies box includes new information on circulation and changing ice cover. Chapter 9 has been re-titled The Surface Currents; new information has been added to the sections on geostrophic flow and modeling of ocean currents. Chapter 10's discussion of wave energy has been rewritten to increase clarity. Chapter 11's discussion of Energy from Tides has been updated and rewritten to include new British and Norwegian sea-floor power plants. Also, all tide and current tables have been updated. An updated and expanded discussion of oil spills is found in Chapter 13, including the wreck of the Prestige and the disposal of municipal solid waste. Chapter 14 contains new information on marine biodiversity projects. Chapter 15 includes new tables on World Ocean Production and Ocean Food Production. Chapter 16's Field Notes box describes Pico-Plankton, and the chapter hosts a new section on vents and their microbial communities along the Juan de Fuca Ridge. The krill section has been rewritten and information on a jellyfish fishery off the Atlantic coast has been added. Difficulties in research on Pfiesteria are also discussed. Chapter 17 has a Field Notes box on biofouling, updated material on whaling, manatee and dugong populations, and new information on ground fisheries and fish farming. Chapter 18 presents new data on fisheries and mariculture, a new section on deepwater corals, and coral reef updates.

Instructor Supplements

McGraw-Hill offers a variety of supplements to assist instructors with both preparation and classroom presentation.

The Digital Content Manager CD-ROM is a multimedia collection that offers a wide selection of photos, figures, and tables from the text, as well as additional photos, animations and also 34 videos from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. PowerPoint Lecture Outlines are available for each chapter on this CD. The Digital Content Manager allows instructors to utilize these assets in multiple formats to create customized classroom presentations, dynamic course website content, or attractive printed support materials. The digital resources on this cross-platform 2 CD-ROM set are grouped within easy-to-use folders and organized by chapter to go with the eighth edition of this text. The Scripps video segments are also available on videotape.

A text-specific Online Learning Center (OLC), which can be found at , provides resources for both students and instructors. The password-protected Online Learning Center contains the Instructor's Manual, which includes answers to the Study Questions and Study Problems from the text. PowerWeb: Oceanography can be accessed through the Online Learning Center, and contains articles from current magazines, newspapers, and journals; weekly updates of current issues; web research tips; an online library of updated research links to help you find the right information; up-to-the-minute headlines from around the world including course-specific and general news; and online quizzing and assessments for your students. This text’s Online Learning Center is available at

The Instructor's Testing and Resource CD is a cross-platform tool that contains questions specific to each chapter to help instructors generate tests, and this CD also contains an Instructor's Manual which includes the Answers to Study Questions and Study Problems from the text. A set of overhead transparencies provides 100 figures from the text in full color. These ancillaries are available to instructors through their McGraw-Hill sales representative.

For instructors wishing to incorporate hands-on oceanography exercises into their course, McGraw-Hill offers an exceptional workbook entitled "Investigating the Ocean" by R. Leckie and R. Yuretich of University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Additional earth science supplements offered by McGraw-Hill appropriate for this course include the "Journey Through Geology" CD-ROM by the Smithsonian Institution and a geoscience videotape library. Contact your McGraw-Hill sales representative for details on these products.

Student Supplements

The Internet makes oceanographic information and data available to researchers and it also provides images and information in many forms to instructors and students. Public agencies and museums, universities and research laboratories, satellites and oceanographic projects, interest groups and individuals all over the planet provide information that can be publicly accessed. The text-specific Online Learning Center (OLC) website, which can be found at, provides chapter-sorted links to many websites that contain information pertinent to each chapter's content. In addition, web links are provided within the OLC for further information on many figures and boxed readings within each chapter. Wherever you see the web link icon in your textbook, you will find associated web links for the indicated figure or boxed reading on the OLC. The OLC also hosts a complete Student Study Guide, chapter quizzing, interactive key term flashcards, animations, and Internet exercises to help with chapter study. In addition, PowerWeb is a great way to get information you need quickly and easily! Through the OLC, students can access PowerWeb: Oceanography, which contains articles from current magazines, newspapers, and journals; weekly updates of current issues; web research tips; an online library of updated research links to help you find the right information; up-to-the-minute headlines from around the world including course-specific and general news; online quizzing and assessments to measure your understanding of course material, and more!


As a book is the product of many experiences, it is also the product of people other than the authors. We extend many thanks to our friends and colleagues who have graciously answered our questions and provided us with information and access to their photo files. We owe very special thanks to faculty and staff of the School of Oceanography, College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, and to the scientists and staff of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northwest Regional Office, who have answered questions, supplied data and provided many of the illustrations in this edition. We are also grateful to Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which has allowed us the privilege of providing their videotape series as an instructor ancillary to this eighth edition of the text.

We would particularly like to thank the following people who authored the Field Notes boxes that are new to this edition:

Virginia Armbrust
University of Washington

Christopher Brown
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service

Francisco Chavez
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

David Clague
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

John Delaney
University of Washington

Marcia McNutt
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Ian Young
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Thanks are also extended to Richard L. Mauger of East Carolina University for his manuscript editing services, and to the reviewers who provided their thoughtful comments and suggestions for this eighth edition.

Reviewers for the Eighth Edition

Douglas Biggs
Texas A&M University

W.V. Bloechl
Cabrillo College

Hans G. Dam
University of Connecticut

Rich Dixon
Southwest Texas State University

Huan Feng
Montclair State University

Nancy Glass
Baldwin Wallace College

Hilairy Ellen Hartnett
Rutgers The State University of New Jersey

Karen Jager
Community College of Rhode Island

Frank J. Jochem
Florida International University

Stephen Macko
University of Virginia

Robert Stern
University of Texas-Dallas

We thank all members of the team at McGraw-Hill, without whose help, enthusiasm, and coordinated efforts this eighth edition could not have been completed.

To obtain an instructor login for this Online Learning Center, ask your local sales representative. If you're an instructor thinking about adopting this textbook, request a free copy for review.