Hands-On Oceanography

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.

In 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.

Now available in Japanese!


We encourage submissions of hands-on activities to Ellen Kappel, Oceanography Editor (ekappel@geo-prose.com). 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. See Oceanography Author Guidelines for additional information.


Sound and the Seafloor: Determining Bathymetry Using Student-Built Acoustic Sensors
Levine, R., S. Seroy, and D. Grünbaum. 2020. Oceanography 33(3):71–77, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2020.305.

Digging into the Geologic Record of Environmentally Driven Changes in Coral Reef Development
Gravinese, P.M., R.B. Aronson, and L.T. Toth. 2020. Oceanography 33(1):85–91, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2020.113.

Forces in an Estuary: Tides, Freshwater, and Friction
Fugate, D., and F. Jose. 2019. Oceanography 32(1):231–236, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2019.105.

How Do Upwelling and El Niño Impact Coral Reef Growth? A Guided, Inquiry-Based Lesson
Gravinese, P.M., L.T. Toth, C.J. Randall, and R.B. Aronson. 2018. Oceanography 31(4):184–188, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2018.424.

Assessing Cross-Shore and Alongshore Variation in Beach Morphology
Gallop, S.L., M.D. Harley, R.W. Brander, J.A. Simmons, K.D. Splinter, and I.L. Turner. 2017. Oceanography 30(3), https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2017.304.

Observing the Ocean with Gliders: Techniques for Data Visualization and Analysis
Hanson, C.E., L.M. Woo, P.G. Thomson, and C.B. Pattiaratchi. 2017. Oceanography 30(2), https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2017.210.

Paleoclimate Reconstruction from Oxygen Isotopes in a Coral Skeleton from East Africa: A Data-Enhanced Learning Experience
Gillikin, D.P., A. Verheyden, and D.H. Goodwin. 2017. Oceanography 30(1):104–107, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2017.104.

Building Intuition for In-Water Optics and Ocean Color Remote Sensing: Spectrophotometer Activity with littleBits™
S. Schollaert Uz. 2016. Oceanography 29(1):98–103, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2016.01.

Mimicking the Rayleigh Isotope Effect in the Ocean
E.M. Griffith, J.D. Ortiz, and A.J. Jefferson. 2015. Oceanography 28(4):96–101, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2015.89.

Turbidity Currents: Comparing Theory and Observation in the Lab
J.D. Ortiz and A.A. Klompmaker. 2015. Oceanography 28(3):220–227, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2015.73.

Ocean Acidification: The Role of CO2
J.L. Murphy and C.I. Measures. 2014. Oceanography 27(1):238–246, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2014.01.
*Also available in Chinese

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, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2013.87.

Engineering Literacy for Undergraduates in Marine Science: A Case for Hands On
E. Boss and J. Loftin. 2012. Oceanography 25(2):219–221, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2012.61.

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, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2011.107.

Drifters, Drogues, and Circulation
T.O. Manley. 2010. Oceanography 23(4):165–171, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2010.17.

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, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.117.

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, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.58.

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, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.27.

A Tabletop Demonstration of Atmospheric Dynamics: Baroclinic Instability
B.T. Nadiga and J.M. Aurnou. 2008. Oceanography 21(4):196–201, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2008.24.

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, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2008.44.

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, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2008.60.

Diffusion at Work—An Interactive Simulation
L. Karp-Boss, E. Boss, and J. Loftin. 2007. Oceanography 20(3):127–131, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.40.

Phosphorus in Our Waters
A. Paytan and K. McLaughlin. 2007. Oceanography 20(2):200–206, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.71.

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, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.97.

An Integrated Model Simulation and Empirical Laboratory on Biological Encounter Rates
S. Menden-Deuer. 2006. Oceanography 19(4):185–189, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2006.37.

An Introduction to Finding Context
J. Boucher and L.E. Sahl. 2006. Oceanography 19(3):146–149, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2006.56.

Settling Particles in Aquatic Environments: Low Reynolds Numbers
E. Boss, L. Karp-Boss, and P.A. Jumars. 2006. Oceanography 19(2):151–154, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2006.85.

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