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The University of Southampton

SOES6015 Introduction to Chemical Oceanography

Module Overview

The module is designed for graduates in any science discipline embarking on postgraduate studies in Ocean and Earth Science.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • explain the processes that control the chemical composition of seawater including the hydrological cycle, erosion and weathering, hydrothermal activity on mid ocean ridges, and the deposition of different sediment types.
  • explain the differences between conservative and non conservative elements and discuss their behaviour, distribution and cycling in the oceans using examples including nutrients, major and minor elements, and gases.
  • convert between the different units used in chemical oceanography.
  • Aware of the behaviour of elements within estuaries and to interpret an estuarine nutrient data set.


The format of the module is lecture based. Calculations and simple exercises will be set throughout the course to allow students to employ the skills learnt in a practical sense that is relevant to their discipline. Chemical oceanography covers many facets of marine environmental science and a multitude of different spatial and temporal scales. Topics covered in this module span from evolution of the ocean to controls on chemical speciation in sea water and molecular diffusion processes. Chemical processes are essential in biological systems, they control the geology of the planet and they are key tracers utilised in understanding the physics of the ocean.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal Lectures: Will provide an introduction to the theory underlying chemical processes in the marine environment. Each lecture systematically covers the main concepts and topics by the use of PowerPoint presentations, supported by illustrated handout materials. The lecturers' own experience in this field is incorporated where possible. Appropriate references to parts of course textbooks and introductory journal references are provided at each lecture. Problem Sheets: Numerical problems and answers are available each week to allow individual study to reinforce the concepts taught in the lectures. Online test: A test with multiple choice and single word answer questions will be available on to give you feedback on your knowledge and understanding of the first half of the course. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Independent Study55
Total study time75



MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There are no additional costs associated with this module.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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