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Essentials of Oceanography, 11th Edition
“How do the oceans work?” Essentials of Oceanography, Eleventh Edition, takes an interdisciplinary approach to help students answer this question. The latest edition brings together the interrelated spheres that compose Earth’s systems as they relate to the oceans: geological, chemical, physical, and biological. Trujillo and Thurman balance rigor and accessibility, combining in-depth discussions of oceanographic concepts with highly visual and interactive study aids to demystify the science for the non-science student. This unique combination has made Essentials of Oceanography the best-selling brief book—and one of the best-sellers overall—in oceanography.
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
oceanographer, underwater videographer,
and explorer (circa 1963)
To the Student
Welcome! You’re about to embark on a journey that is far from ordinary. Over the course of this term, you will discover the central role the oceans play in the vast global system of which you are a part.
This book’s content was carefully developed to provide a foundation in science by examining the vast body of oceanic knowledge. This knowledge includes information from a variety of scientific disciplines—geology, chemistry, physics, and biology—as they relate to the oceans. However, no formal background in any of these disciplines is required to successfully master the subject matter contained within
this book. Our desire is to have you take away from your oceanography course much more than just a collection of facts. Instead, we want you to develop a fundamental understanding of how the oceans work
and why the oceans behave the way that they do. This book is intended to help you in your quest to know more about the oceans. Taken as a whole, the components of the ocean— its sea floor, chemical constituents, physical components, and lifeforms—comprise one of Earth’s largest interacting, interrelated, and interdependent systems. Because human activities impact Earth systems, it is important to understand not only how the oceans operate but also how the oceans interact with Earth’s other systems (such as its atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere) as part of a larger picture. Thus, this book uses a systems approach to highlight the interdisciplinary relationships among oceanographic phenomena and how those phenomena affect other Earth systems.
To that end—and to help you make the most of your study time—we focused the presentation in this book by organizing the material around three essential components:
1. Concepts: General ideas derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences (for instance, the concept of density can be used to explain why the oceans are layered)
2. Processes: Actions or occurrences that bring about a result (for instance, the process of waves breaking at an angle to the shore results in the movement of sediment along the shoreline)
3. Principles: Rules or laws concerning the functioning of natural phenomena or mechanical processes (for instance, the principle of sea floor spreading suggests that the geographic positions of the
continents have changed through time) Interwoven within these concepts, processes, and principles are hundreds of photographs, illustrations, real-world examples, and applications that make the material relevant and accessible (and maybe sometimes even entertaining) by bringing science to life.
Ultimately, it is our hope that by understanding how the oceans work, you will develop a new awareness and appreciation of all aspects of the marine environment and its role in Earth systems. To this end, the book has been written for you, the student of the oceans. So enjoy and immerse yourself! You’re in for an exciting ride.
To the Instructor
This eleventh edition of Essentials of Oceanography is designed to accompany an introductory college-level course in oceanography taught to students who have no formal background in mathematics or science. As in previous editions, the goal of this edition of the textbook is to clearly present the relationships of scientific principles to ocean phenomena in an engaging and meaningful way.
This edition has greatly benefited from being thoroughly reviewed by hundreds of students who made numerous suggestions for improvement. Comments by former students about the book include, “I have really enjoyed the oceanography book we’ve used this semester. It had just the right mix of graphics, text, and userfriendliness that really held my interest.” and “What I really liked about the book is that it’s a welcoming textbook—open and airy. You could almost read it at bedtime like a story because of all the interesting pictures.”
This edition has been reviewed in detail by a host of instructors from leading institutions across the country. One reviewer of the tenth edition described the text as follows: “Use this text. It is engaging and
thoughtful. It is current and useful. It challenges the students to reach, yet it is thorough and clear in the execution of the text. The pictures tell the story and the diagrams are understandable. It is student-friendly and it is instructor-friendly. This text does fit the bill for teaching and learning oceanography.” In 2012, the tenth edition of Essentials of Oceanography received a Textbook Excellence Award called a “Texty” from the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA). The Texty award recognizes written works for their excellence in the areas of content, presentation, appeal, and teachability. The publisher, Pearson Education, nominated the book for the award, and the textbook was critically reviewed by a panel of expert judges.
The 16-chapter format of this textbook is designed for easy coverage of the material in a 15- or 16-week semester. For courses taught on a 10-week quarter system, instructors may need to select those chapters that cover the topics and concepts of primary relevance to their course. Chapters are self-contained and can thus be covered in any order. Following the introductory chapter (Chapter 1, which covers
the general geography of the oceans; a historical perspective of oceanography; the reasoning behind the scientific method; and a discussion of the origin of Earth, the atmosphere, the oceans, and life itself), the four major academic disciplines of oceanography are represented in the following chapters:
• Geological oceanography (Chapters 2–4 and parts of Chapters 10 and 11)
• Chemical oceanography (Chapter 5 and part of Chapter 11)
• Physical oceanography (Chapters 6–9 and parts of Chapters 10 and 11)
• Biological oceanography (Chapters 12–15)
One of the most significant additions to the book in the previous edition was a new interdisciplinary chapter, “The Oceans and Climate Change” (Chapter 16), which focuses on the important environmental
issue of human-caused global climate change and its impact on the ocean. This chapter has been updated in this edition with new information and enhanced graphics.
We strongly believe that oceanography is at its best when it links together several scientific disciplines and shows how they are interrelated in the oceans. Therefore, this interdisciplinary approach
is a key element of every chapter.
What’s New in This Edition?
Changes in this edition are designed to increase the readability, relevance, and appeal of this book. Major changes include the following:
• A word cloud has been added at the beginning of each chapter. Each word cloud uses different font sizes to show the most important vocabulary terms within the chapter and directs students to the glossary to discover the meaning of any terms they don’t already know.
• An enhanced learning objectives section, titled Essential Concepts, has been added at the beginning of each chapter. It highlights the most important points of each chapter and establishes a discrete
• A new active learning pedagogy divides chapter material into easily digestible chunks, which makes studying easier and assists student learning. (Cognitive science research shows that the ability to “chunk”
information is essential to enhancing learning and memory.)
• Review Questions now close each major section of the book; these Concept Checks allow and encourage students to pause and test their knowledge as they proceed through the chapter.
Key Concepts are now reorganized as Essential Concepts that reinforce the learning path and tie into each section’s Concept Checks.
• A new section titled Essential Concepts Review has been included at the end of each chapter. This section is tied to each chapteropening Essential Concept; it includes a summary and new Study
Resources and Critical Thinking Question sections.
• Information has been updated throughout the text to include some of the most recent developments in oceanography, such as the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the 2011 Japanese earthquake and resulting
tsunami, the hurricane called Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and updated material in Chapter 16, “The Oceans and Climate Change.”
• The improved illustration package of new photos, satellite images, and figures makes oceanographic topics more accessible and interesting.
• A host of new artwork has been created by marine biologist and Digital Graphic Artist Justin Hofman.
• The labeling of all figures has been standardized to make them more appealing and consistent throughout.
• A total of 60 Web Animations have been included from Pearson’s Geoscience Animations Library, featuring state-of-the-art computer animations created by Al Trujillo and a panel of geoscience educators.
• A total of 10 new Geoscience Animations have been added to help students visualize some of the most challenging oceanographic concepts, including 10 new animations that have been specifically
designed for this edition.
• Web links have been included to more than 50 hand-picked Web videos that show important oceanographic processes in action.
• New QR codes have been embedded in the text to allow students to use their mobile devices to link directly to selected Web videos.
• Encounter Earth call-outs have been added that illustrate interesting oceanographic features with interactive online maps.
• This edition places greater emphasis on the ocean’s role in Earth systems.
• The information in 12 Diving Deeper features (boxed material) has been moved to the text to indicate their importance as topics within oceanography.
• Other accessory Diving Deeper features have been migrated online to MasteringOceanography as Bonus Web Content.