37671 - Chemical Oceanography

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

Understanding the behaviour of chemical species in the marine environment

Course contents

Composition of seawater, geochemical cycles (residence time), biological interactions, conservative components. Major components, origin, average composition, salinity and chlorinity, methods of determination. Ionic interactions, ion-pairing model. Trace elements, speciation, the case of mercury. Dissolved gases, saturation anomaly, air-sea exchange. Oxygen and redox potential, anoxic waters, AOU, Redfield ratios. Carbon and nitrogen cycles, anthropogenic perturbation, greenhouse gas. The carbonate system. Acid-base equilibria, pH, alkalinity. Solubility and biological pumps. Case study (nitrogen cycle, mercury pollution, iron fertilisation, CFC tracers, plastic pellets).


Michael E. Q. Pilson, An Introduction to the Chemistry of the Sea, 2nd Edition, 20

 F.J.Millero, Chemical Oceanography, CRC Press, 1996-2007.

S.M.Libes, Marine Biogeochemistry, Wiley, II edition.

Lesson slides available on-line.

Teaching methods

Lecturing, tutorials,  numerical exercises from study case, discussion of journal articles.

Assessment methods

Oral examination. Students will be required to describe the chemical behaviour of two or more chemical elements in the marine environment (chemical species, vertical distribution in the ocean and so forth).

Teaching tools

Videoprojector. PC.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Daniele Fabbri