Special Assignments

These assignments have been prepared in response to your feedback during Exam #5. You may choose two (2) 50-point assignments or one (1) 100-point assignment. You may complete a 50-point assignment once only: you may not complete one assignment twice. Also, you may not partially complete a 100-point assignment as a 50-point assignment.

When you have decided which assignment(s) you wish to complete, you must e-mail me and get confirmation before you can proceed. If someone else has chosen the assignment you wish to do, then you will be asked to do an alternative assignment.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

100-point assignments (8-12 hours each)

1. Choose a local environmental topic related to the ocean, such as Huntington beach closures, runoff into Back Bay, development around Crystal Cove State Beach, problems with Aliso Creek, development around Trestles, warm-water discharges around the San Clemente nuclear plant, floating debris in Santa Monica Bay or another local related topic. Complete the following: Section 1: Write a 2-3 page paper in expository format that includes an introductory paragraph stating the problem, a topic paragraph stating your position on the problem, and 3-5 paragraphs supporting your argument (remember one paragraph per thought), a conclusion paragraph summarizing your points; Section 2: write 3-5 paragraphs that describe how what you learned this semester relates to the problem you discussed; Section 3: write 2-3 paragraphs that describe actions that you or others can take to become better informed about this problem or to help solve the problem, such as joining Heal the Bay, Surfriders, Defend the Bay or keeping track of their web sites, etc. Points will be awarded on how well you stick to the expository format, spelling, grammar, transitions between paragraphs, logic and detail of your arguments, verb tense, subject-verb agreement and all thos kinds of things. Make sure you tell me which environmental problem you are writing on before you start writing.

2. Choose a local environmental group, such as Heal the Bay, Surfriders, Defend the Bay or others, and summarize their mission and goals. Pick ONE issue that they are particularly involved with and describe that issue. You will need to state the problem, give the group's position on that problem, summarize 3-4 arguments supporting their position, and state what they are doing to solve the problem. Section 2: write 3-5 paragraphs that describe how what you learned this semester relates to the actions being undertaken by the environmental group; Section 3:write 2-3 paragraphs about how you or others can take to become better informed about this problem or to help solve the problem, such as keeping track of their web sites, etc. Points will be awarded on how well you stick to the expository format, spelling, grammar, transitions between paragraphs, logic and detail of your arguments, verb tense, subject-verb agreement and all thos kinds of things. Make sure you tell me which environmental group you are writing on before you start writing.

50-point assignments (4-6 hours each)

1. Pick ONE chapter in the lecture notes. Write twenty-five study questions for that chapter in the following formats: five (5) matching, three (3) true-false, two (2) short problems (be creative!), five (5) short answer, three (2) essay and eight (8) define keyword. You do not need to answer the questions. Compose your study questions in a word processing program and save them as a TEXT ONLY file. Copy and paste the questions into an e-mail AND attach the file to the e-mail. Make sure you include your name and student ID number in the e-mail. Make sure you tell me which chapter you are working on before you starting writing. I won't accept duplicate chapters.

2. Pick fifty (50) keywords from any TWO chapters of the lecture notes. Write out the definitions for those keywords. In other words, define all 50 words, using a dictionary or using the lecture notes or an oceanography textbook. Compose your keywords in a word processing program and save them as a TEXT ONLY file. Copy and paste the keywords and definitions into an e-mail AND attach the file to the e-mail. Make sure you include your name and student ID number in the e-mail. Make sure you tell me which chapters you are working on before you starting writing. I won't accept duplicate chapters.

3. Select ONE chapter in the lecture notes. Search the web for TEN (10) web sites to support the concepts in that chapter. Complete the following: 1) write down the URL for the web site; 2) Identify the type of web site, whether it is a government web site, a university or college web site, an organization web site or a personal web site; 3) Identify and write down the major sections of the web site. It might be as easy as just writing down the links on the home page; 4) Summarize in no less than five sentences the resources available at that web site. 5) Write a paragraph on how the web site relates to the information in the chapter of the lecture notes. Compose your web site descriptions (including items 1-5) in a word processing program and save them as a TEXT ONLY file. Copy and paste them into an e-mail AND attach the file to the e-mail. Make sure you include your name and student ID number in the e-mail. Make sure you tell me which chapter you are working on before you starting writing. I won't accept duplicate chapters.

4. Complete the following hands-on exercise. Compose your answers to all of the questions in a word processing program and save them as a TEXT ONLY file. Copy and paste them into an e-mail AND attach the file to the e-mail. Make sure you include your name and student ID number in the e-mail.

Understanding Spatial-Temporal Scales: A Hands-On Exercise

1.2.1 How Does the Ocean Change in Space and Time?

This exercise will require a few things around the house. You will need:

        a jar of pennies

        some string

        a one-foot ruler

        a marking pen

        a stopwatch (a watch with a second hand will do)

        a VCR and a TV

        a movie that you have never seen and know nothing about

These two simple exercises will help you understand the importance of spatial scales and temporal scales in the ocean. Remember, the ocean is changing continuously everywhere always, so we need to figure out how to deal with that.

Spatial scales are variations in a thing across the dimensions of space (width, height, depth, altitude, volume, etc.). Temporal scales are the variations in a thing across the dimensions of time (seconds, minutes, hours, weeks, years, decades, centuries, etc.).

1.2.2 Determining Spatial Scales of Change

1.      Close your eyes and throw 50 pennies (exactly) in a four foot (4') by four foot (4') section of a floor. It doesn't matter where they go within the space, but try to keep them in the space. No pennies are allowed to overlap either.

2.      Measure out about four (4) feet of string. Mark the string at one-foot intervals. If the pen doesn't mark the string, then tie a knot in that spot. Mark the string again at every half-foot interval, or every six inches. Mark it again at every quarter-foot interval or every three inches.

3.      When you are finished, you should have a length of string with 15 marks at regular intervals.

4.      Lay the string in a straight line across the floor about one (1) foot inside the perimter of the 4x4 square where you just threw the pennies. This line is transect one. See figure below.

5.      Make note of the time. Count the number of pennies touching the string. If no pennies are touching the string, then enter zero (0) in the table below.

6.      Count the number of pennies that are touching any one of the marks. Don't count the pennies between the marks. Record the number in the table below. If no pennies are touching a mark, then enter zero (0) in the table.

7.      Record the number of pennies touching every other mark (every 6 inches). Record the number in the table below. Enter zero (0) if appropriate.

8.      Count the number of pennies touching every 12-inch mark, i.e. at 12-inch intervals. Record the number in the table below. Enter zero (0) if appropriate.

9.      Make note of the time it took you to count all the pennies from this first transect. Note the time interval for each subsequent transect.

10.  Move the string one foot to the right (or left) and repeat steps 5-8.

11.  Move the string one more time (one foot same direction) and repeat steps 5-8.

12.  Calculate an average for each row and enter that number in the column marked average. To compute the average, add the three numbers across the row (i.e. transect 1 + transect 2 + transect 3) and divide by 3.

13.  Consider that the whole string represents all the pennies in a 4-foot section. Calculate the # pennies per foot for the whole string by dividing the average by 4 feet. Do the same calculation for the 3-inch, 6-inch and 12-inch intervals. Part of the exercise is to figure out how to do this.

14.  Calculate the total number of pennies in the 4 x 4 square based on your measurements at different spatial scales (i.e. different intervals).

Compare the four totals. Are they close to 50 pennies? Why should they or why shouldn't they be close to 50? Why are they different? Which sampling interval yielded the most accurate result? What are the assumptions and biases with the sampling methods used? Imagine a football field full of an unknown quantity of pennies. Which sampling interval would you choose to determine the total number of pennies on the field? Why? Write a short discussion of how sampling at different spatial scales affects the accuracy of scientific results. Include in your description a brief discussion of how your results would be different if the pennies turned into sea slugs and started moving around!

1.2.3 Determining Temporal Scales of Change

The sea is too big to measure everywhere at the same time. Fortunately, we can try to get a statistically representative sample of what is happening at any one place or over a given interval of time and based our conclusions on smaller samples or shorter sampling periods.

In the penny exercise, you should have gained some appreciation for how variations over spatial scales bias your results. Scientific sampling is a compromise between reducing the number of samples (or sample intervals) and maintaining the accuracy of your measurements.

We can get a better sense of the importance of temporal scales of change by observing an object in motion. What better object in motion than a motion picture video?

For this exercise, you will need a stopwatch, a TV and a VCR, and a movie you have never even heard of before. Your local library usually maintains a decent collection of movies, sometimes at no charge. Otherwise, borrow a movie from a friend or rent one at any video store. The subject matter is not important. What is important is that you have no clue as to what the video is about.

Follow the directions carefully and answer the questions below. This exercise may be best completed with a family member or classmate.

1.      Fast forward the video for a good three minutes. You should be well past the previews and credits. If not, fast forward for another three minutes. Don't watch the movie as you fast forward!

2.      Mark the point where the movie is at right now. Either set the counter to zero (0) or write down the number on the counter. This is the "start" of the movie.

3.      Close your eyes. Start the movie. Open your eyes. Watch the movie for exactly five seconds. Stop the movie. Record your observations.

4.      Fast forward the movie for one minute.

5.      Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have recorded ten intervals.

6.      Return the movie to the starting point that you marked in step 2.

7.      Close your eyes. Start the movie. Open your eyes. Watch the movie for exactly ten seconds. Stop the movie. Record your observations.

8.      Fast forward the movie for 55 seconds.

9.      Repeat steps 7 and 8 for ten intervals.

10.  Once again, return to the starting point. Now watch the entire movie over the entire ~11-minute interval. Record your observations.

How much of the movie did you understand viewing it at 5-minute intervals? How much of the movie did you understand viewing it at 10 minute intervals? How much of the movie did you understand watching the entire uninterrupted 11 or so minutes? Why do you think your perception of the movie changed or didn't change depending on the time scales over which you watched it? Estimate the minimum time interval that you would need to watch the movie to be able to understand it? Write a brief discussion of how sampling at different temporal scales affects the "accuracy" of your results. Include in your description a brief discussion of the best approach for watching and trying to understand five movies being played on different TVs in the same room at the same time.