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Hands-On Oceanography

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A recurring column in Oceanography magazine, Hands-On Oceanography provides peer-reviewed activities appropriate for undergraduate and/or graduate classes in oceanography. Hands-on is broadly interpreted as those activities that actively engage students (i.e., activities where students have to make decisions, record results, and interpret results). Hands-on activities include, but are not limited to, computer-based models and laboratory demonstrations. Below is a list with links to all of the published activities.

Teaching Physical ConceptsIn addition to the recurring column, the supplemental issue of Oceanography, Teaching Physical Concepts in Oceanography, offers a collection of hands-on/minds-on activities for teaching physical concepts that are fundamental in oceanography.



We encourage submissions of hands-on activities to Ellen Kappel, Oceanography Editor ( Submitted activities will be peer-reviewed. Accepted hands-on activities will be published in Oceanography and posted online as downloadable pdf files. Text plus graphics must fit on four to six magazine pages (roughly 2,000-3,500 words and 2-4 figures). Suggested subheadings include:

• Purpose of Activity
• Audience
• Background
• Research Question
• Materials
• Activity
• Possible Modifications to Activity

Please make sure to include an estimate of the the amount of time needed to complete the lab.


Ocean Acidification: The Role of CO2
J.L. Murphy and C.I. Measures. 2014. Oceanography 27(1):238–246,

Corals on Acid: An Inquiry-based Activity Leading Students to a Better Understanding of Ocean Acidification Impacts
C.L. Boleman, P.M. Gravinese, E.N. Muse, A.E. Marston, and J.G. Windsor. 2013. Oceanography 26(4):164–169,

Engineering Literacy for Undergraduates in Marine Science: A Case for Hands On
E. Boss and J. Loftin. 2012. Oceanography 25(2):219–221,

Lake in a Bottle: A Laboratory Demonstration of the Unusual Stability Properties of Freshwater
J.A. Austin, E.B. Voytek, J. Halbur, and M.A. Macuiane. 2011. Oceanography 24(4):136–142,

Drifters, Drogues, and Circulation
T.O. Manley. 2010. Oceanography 23(4):165–171,

Sorting Out Sediment Grain Size and Plastic Pollution
H.L. Spalding, K.M. Duncan, and Z. Norcross-Nu'u. 2009. Oceanography 22(4):244–250,

A Classroom Activity Using Satellite Sea Surface Temperatures to Predict Coral Bleaching
B.-A. Parker, T.R.L. Christensen, S.F. Heron, J.A. Morgan, and C.M. Eakin. 2009. Oceanography 22(2):252–257,

Mix it Up, Mix it Down: Intriguing Implications of Ocean Layering
P.J.S. Franks and S.E.R. Franks. 2009. Oceanography 22(1):228–233,

A Tabletop Demonstration of Atmospheric Dynamics: Baroclinic Instability
B.T. Nadiga and J.M. Aurnou. 2008. Oceanography 21(4):196–201,

Assessing the Importance of Sand as a Source of Fecal Indicator Bacteria (Escherichia coli and Enterococcus)
K.L. Knee, R.L. Leopold, E.R. Madsen, and A. Paytan. 2008. Oceanography 21(3):98–106,

A Laboratory Demonstration of Coriolis Effects on Wind-Driven Ocean Currents
D. Beesley, J. Olejarz, A. Tandon, and J. Marshall. 2008. Oceanography 21(2):72–76,

Diffusion at Work—An Interactive Simulation
L. Karp-Boss, E. Boss, and J. Loftin. 2007. Oceanography 20(3):127–131,

Phosphorus in Our Waters
A. Paytan and K. McLaughlin. 2007. Oceanography 20(2):200–206,

Investigating Coastal Processes and Nitrate Levels in the Elkhorn Slough Using Real-Time Data
L.G. Adams and G.I. Matsumoto. 2007. Oceanography 20(1):200–204,

An Integrated Model Simulation and Empirical Laboratory on Biological Encounter Rates
S. Menden-Deuer. 2006. Oceanography 19(4):185–189,

An Introduction to Finding Context
J. Boucher and L.E. Sahl. 2006. Oceanography 19(3):146–149,

Settling Particles in Aquatic Environments: Low Reynolds Numbers
E. Boss, L. Karp-Boss, and P.A. Jumars. 2006. Oceanography 19(2):151–154,