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The University of Southampton

SOES2024 Coastal Ocean Processes

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • An awareness of the different methods of grain size analyses
  • An understanding of fluid flow and fluid-solid interaction in the marine environment, including the ability to undertake simple calculations.
  • An appreciation of the interaction of marine organisms with moving fluid.
  • Understanding of the physical processes responsible for shaping coastal and estuarine environments and in moving sediment.
  • An appreciation of the action of waves and tides from coastal to oceanic environments and their prediction.
  • A developing understanding of estuarine and coastal environments contributing towards capabilities to undertake programmes of environmental survey, including the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • field skills
  • team working
  • report writing
  • time management
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the basic principles and applications of fluid flow in the marine environment including basic knowledge of units and physical parameters.
  • Be aware of the origins and distribution of different types of shelf clastic sediments.
  • Identify the interactions between fluid and solid particles including organisms.
  • Be aware of the adaptations of marine organisms to life in moving fluids.
  • Undertake simple calculations involving fluid flow parameters.
  • Describe coastal and estuarine sediments and understand and be aware of appropriate methods of grain size analysis.
  • Understand the action of tides and waves and their associated currents and prediction.
  • Understand the effects of oscillatory flows in the marine environment and their affects on sediment transport.
  • Describe the processes responsible for shaping the morphology of estuaries and coasts.
  • Understand the concept of the sedimentary cycle of erosion and deposition and sediment pathways within the marine environment.


Topics include: - Course introduction & Introduction to sediment - Grain size distributions & statistics; grain shape; grain size analysis techniques; sediment physical properties & sampling. - Introduction to fluid flow and fundamentals of fluid mechanics; fluid - particle and fluid - organisms interaction "life in moving fluids". - Tides and tidal currents and waves and wave currents from coastal to oceanic settings. - Estuarine circulation and mixing; estuarine models. - Estuarine morphology and sediment; bedforms and fine sediment transport. - Beach and coastal processes. - Introduction to shelf sedimentation and spatial representation of sediment data

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal Lectures: 32 x 45 minute lectures will provide an introduction to the theory underlying coastal and estuarine oceanography. Each lecture systematically covers the main concepts and topics by the use of PowerPoint presentations. Lectures are supported by illustrated handout materials. References to the applicable chapter of course texts and/or other relevant journal articles are provided as essential reading for relevant lectures. Practical sessions and workshops: 3 x 3 hour practicals will exemplify the theory covered during formal lectures fostering development of particular skills of relevance to the spatial depiction of sediment data. Field work: A half day study visit to the coast will demonstrate fluid sediment interaction in the natural environment. Support: is provided by staff and/or postgraduate demonstrators. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Independent Study97
Practical classes and workshops15
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%
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