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For more information, please visit the Oceanography and Marine Biology, product page.

Dear Colleagues,

Having taught an introductory ocean science class to more than 5,000 undergraduates over the past 15 years, it has become abundantly clear to me that the majority of my students are more interested in biological aspects of the marine environment than they are in either the oceans' physics or geology. On the other hand, having been a basic research scientist throughout my career, I remain convinced that a fundamental understanding of basic physical sciences is necessary for a deeper appreciation of biology and ecology. And so, over time, my teaching philosophy has evolved to one where I almost trick students into learning basic science. What I mean is, they already appreciate the oceans--the parts of the oceans they have had exposure to, that is--and so we already have their interest. All we need to do is build on that intuitive and still naïve interest and show students why our oceans are, in fact, even more interesting--and important.

Oceanography and Marine Biology preserves the basic elements of the physical, chemical, and geological aspects of the marine sciences, and merges those fundamentals into a broader framework of marine biology and ecology. I have found that this approach works: my class of 350 students fills every semester it is offered, with students on waiting lists to get in. But existing textbooks on oceanography or marine biology address the companion field only cursorily: very few pages in oceanography texts are devoted to marine biology, and vice versa. This new book overcomes that imbalance, bringing these disparate marine science text formats closer together, giving them more equal weight, and introducing more effectively the physical sciences by showing students with everyday examples how such concepts form the foundation upon which to build a better understanding of the marine environment in a changing world.

I invite you to take a look at the book, and welcome your comments on it.

David W. Townsend

 

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