Coastal areas form a boundary between two different worlds, terrestrial land and the open sea. Definitions of what define "coastal zones" vary widely throughout the world but can be seen as dynamic region of interaction between the land, atmosphere and the sea, where the sea influences the land and vice versa. They are continually shaped and influenced by physical processes as well as different organism have adapted to these volatile environments. In this course students will learn about the hydrology of coasts, lagoons, marshes and main physical and biological features of the open sea and coastal areas. The course includes an introduction on the main properties, functions and principles of the various marine environments, including properties of seawater, oceanic and coastal circulation, and biological productivity. While emphasizing ecosystem pattern and processes, this course introduces ecological principles of both population and community ecology and strives to relate ecological knowledge to the broader context of the many global environmental challenges we face today. Lectures cover basic concepts including the diversity of life and evolutionary origin, distribution and dispersal of marine organisms, the complex ways in which organisms interact with their physical environment, and the principles of population growth and species interactions. Primary production, decomposition and nutrient cycling in ecosystems, top-down and bottom-up effects, their trophic dynamics and food webs are considered, and the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem stability and ecosystem functioning, disturbance and succession of communities will be explored.
At the end of the course, students will:
Understand how the coast and the ocean ‘work' through various meteorological,
physical and ecological principles and processes.
Be able to effectively participate in discussions and deliver presentations using
academic terminology and/or layman terminology used in the field of coastal and
Understand the role of open sea as a source of food and energy and the large
scale environmental problems humans have induced with uses of oceans'
Be able to address the main natural aspects and processes that govern human
uses of coastal and marine areas.
Students will gain an understanding of Integrated Coastal and Ocean
Management as a field of knowledge, based on its history and most recent
Be able to integrate different aspects of ICM, from a social, economical and ecological perspective, to assess problems and issues.
Be able of applying their understanding and interpretation of
coastal areas to design integrated management plans to approach coastal and
Two writing assignments (20%)
Three discussion sessions (20%)
Student seminars (20%)
Final exam (35%)
Class participation (5%)
Course Outline - lectures