12.742 | Fall 2006 | Graduate

Marine Chemistry


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 2 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session


This course is offered through The MIT/WHOI Joint Program. Lectures were held at WHOI and broadcast via private video link to students on the MIT campus. Recitations were on the MIT campus and broadcast via private video link to students at WHOI.


Homework is worth 30 percent of your grade. There will be 9 problem sets, so each problem set will be worth about 3 percent of your grade. The problem sets will be handed out on Tuesdays and due in class on the following Thursday (so you have a week and a half). We prefer you try to do these problems by yourself, but don’t mind if you work in groups.

Mid-term Exam

There will be a mid-term exam after Ses #12. This exam will cover all of the material covered up to that point. It will be worth 30 percent of your grade.

Final Exam

The final exam will cover all material presented over the semester. It will be a 3-hour, closed book, take home exam and will be worth 30 percent of your grade.

Class Participation

This will count for 10 percent of your grade and will be based on attendance and participation in the lectures and recitation.

Lecture Notes and Course Reading

Electronic copies of the lecture notes will be made available in the lecture notes section. For those lectures for which we don’t yet have electronic versions of the figures, we will distribute photocopies prior to lecture. There will not be any formal reading assignments for the course, but you may find the following books to be good references:

Pilson, Michael E. Q. An Introduction to the Chemistry of the Sea. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1998. ISBN: 9780132589710.

Libes, Susan M. An Introduction to Marine Biogeochemistry. New York, NY: Wiley, 1992. ISBN: 9780471509462.

Berner, Elizabeth Kay, and Robert A. Berner. Global Environment: Water, Air, and Geochemical Cycles. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1996. ISBN: 9780133011692.



SD=Scott Doney
WM=Bill Martin
KC=Karen Casciotti
MKT=Meg Tivey
DT=Dierdre Toole

1 Overview of the determinants of seawater composition   SD
Tools for studying marine geochemistry
2 Introduction to stable isotopes   KC
3 Introduction to marine radiochemistry   WM
Physical setting: Atm., ocean circulation, hydrol. cycle
4 Atmospheric circulation and water cycle   SD
5 Ocean circulation Problem set 1 due SD
Major constituents of seawater and controls
6 Major ions and salinity   SD
7 Marine carbonate chemistry Problem set 2 due WM
Inputs to and outputs from the ocean
8 Rivers and groundwater   MKT
9 Hydrothermal processes Problem set 3 due MKT
10 Non-conservative processes in estuaries/groundwater/hydrothermal   MKT
11 Gas exchange across the air-sea interface   SD
12 Atmospheric-ocean interaction Problem set 4 due DT
Biogeochemical cycling in the water column
13 Primary production (1)   SD
14 Primary production (2)   SD
15 New, export, and net community production Problem set 5 due SD
16 Sinking particles and remineralization (1)   SD
17 Sinking particles and remineralization (2) Problem set 6 due SD
18 Quantifying biogeochemical fluxes and rates   SD
Biogeochemical cycling in sediments
19 Early diagenesis I Problem set 7 due KC
20 Early diagenesis II and sediment distributions   KC
Special topics
21 Long-term cycles of carbon, oxygen and sulfur   DT
22 P cycle Problem set 8 due DT
23 N cycle   KC
24 Anthropogenic CO2 (1) Problem set 9 due SD
25 Anthropogenic CO2 (2) and review   SD
  Final exam    
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Audio
Problem Sets
Lecture Notes