FAQs About the Lab

Here's a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the lab, ESC130L: Introduction to Oceanography Field Experience

Do I have to take the lab at the same time as the lecture course?

Many students wonder if they are required to take a lab while they are enrolled in the lecture course. The answer is no! The lecture and lab courses operate independently, although the lecture course is a corequisite or prerequisite for the lab course. That means that if you want to take the lab, you need to be enrolled in a lecture section or you need to have completed a lecture section in a previous semester.

What do we in the lab?

The lab course is designed to give you a sense of what it's like to be an oceanographer. The primary goal of the lab is to expose you to the scientific method from making hypotheses and collecting data to publishing results. In the process, you learn how to operate scientific equipment and analyze scientific data. The most rewarding aspect of the lab is the hands-on experience you gain working in the field. Most of the coursework is completed at local beaches and sometimes we even go to sea! Besides meeting a general education physical science requirement, the lab is a lot of fun!

Why is the lecture course a requirement for the lab?

Having some knowledge of the geological, physical, chemical and biological processes that operate in the ocean gives you a good foundation for performing scientific investigations of the ocean. While it is not essential that you have a complete understanding of these processes, it does help to be exposed to them. The lecture course provides you with a basic understanding of the phenomena that you will observe and investigate in the lab.

What are the course requirements?

Specific details can be found in the course syllabus. Primarily, students, working in groups, complete a research project, prepare a paper for publication to this web site and make a presentation in class. Points are also awarded for keeping a field notebook. There is also a final exam.

Is a textbook required for the lab?

No. At a future date, a lab manual will be required, but not at this time.

What else do I need for the lab?

You will need transportation to our field sites. We will meeet on-site for at least three (3) of the labs. Parking costs $6 at Crystal Cove but is free at Back Bay. Students are strongly encouraged to carpool to 1) let you use the diamond lanes to get to the lab on time; and 2) to reduce the costs of parking. We will spend some time during the first lab getting acquainted and forming carpools.

You will also need a composition notebook for taking field notes. Spiral notebooks and other notebooks will not be accepted.