(1) Be absolutely certain that the e-mail you listed on your CUNY FIRST page and the Web Central page is the correct one – that is to say the one you use. When I send e-mails to the class they go through the CUNY First system or the Web Central System and if your e-mail is incorrect, you will not get them. I will send you an e-mail after the first class. You need to let me know if you do not get it.

(2) You can e-mail me at this e-mail address:

If you e-mail me to ask me a question, the answer to which is in the syllabus or on the college web site in general, I will not respond. I know it is easier for you to write and e-mail than it is to look things up yourself, but you need to do it yourself.

Running the course on line means many changes as you are doubtless aware from experiences you had during the spring term. Rules about not eating in class, not holding conversations with neighbors in class are all irrelevant, so we can skip over those The class “meets” on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11:00 am until 1:30 pm. This is the normal amount of a time a class meets once a week for 14 weeks (classes that meet 3 times a week for 50 minutes meet 150 minutes a week and that is 2 hours and 30 minutes a week). The final constitutes the 15th week.

This class “meets” for the first time on Tuesday, June 2 and meets evert T,W,Th thereafter

1. June 2
2. June 3
3. June 4
4. June 9
5. June 10
6. June 11
7. June 16
8. June 17
9. June 18
10. June 23
11. June 24
12. June 25
13. June 30
14. July 1
15. July 2 or 7 (FINAL EXAM)


To put it mildly I am not a big fan of on line classes. While they have the advantage of not having to spend time traveling back and forth to the college, there is no substitute for face to face involvement and actually seeing some things in real life and not on videos. However we shall preserve and make the most of it.

There is a web site for the course. I do NOT like blackboard. I have a web site that you can reach by going to

You can also go there by going to

from there, click on “Society and the Ocean”

or if you like

What will happen is that I will, in the morning of each day the class meets, post the lecture notes on the web site ( There will a lot of lecture notes and photos. Each day, the lecture notes will appear and you should read them (that is why I put them there). You will also find a review quiz that tests your knowledge of the materials. These are all “fill in quizzes”. If you write in a wrong answer, the computer will insult you and in the insult, there is a “clue” to the correct answer. I do have a very strange sense of humor as you will see when you get a wrong answer. I do not see the answers you put in so don’t worry about getting them wrong. Some students have told me the comments on the wrong answers were funny and they often wrote in wrong answers just to see what I had written. That is all right on the quizzes but not on the exams.

During the hours of the class I will be on my computer and if you have questions about the material you can e-mail me and I will respond right away. However, if you have a question at any other time you should still e-mail me, but it might take a bit longer before I get back to you (a couple of hours maybe)


There is no textbook for the course. I do suggest that if you feel you need to have a book, you can get a copy of How the Ocean Works (see below) either by buying it on line (Amazon, Abebooks, Alibris etc.) or find a copy in a library, if you can find one that is open The book is largely an “Oceanographic” book and does not deal much with the “society” part of the class.

What is required is that you read a number of articles that deal with the topics we are looking at during the term. These articles are ALL on line and you can access them by clicking on the link in the syllabus that is on the web site, or by copying the link from this syllabus.


Denny, Mark; 2008; How the Ocean Works; Princeton University Press, NJ The text deals largely with oceanography.


(They are all on this web site unless noted differently) Many are “pdfs” so allow some time for them to load. Most are only a few pages and rather light. Some are heavier reading. Although all the articles are linked on the web site, the actual URL is given after the article in case the link fails. If you are reading a copy of the syllabus that is a PDF file, you might find it eaasier to go to the web sitewhere you can find a copy of the syllabus at (or you can type in “”)


“The Challenger” found at

“Explorers on the Challenger” found at

“Tides and Waves” found at

“Waves and Tides” found at

“Ocean Waves” found at

“Ocean Waves in Deep Water” found at

“Tsunami!” found at

“El Nino” found at


“Strange Relations” found at

“Algal Blooms” found at

“Reviving Dead Zones” found at

“Scientists from the California Academy of Sciences Discover New Marine Species and Assess Coral Reefs in Easter Island (Rapa Nui)” found at


“The Diving Women of Korea and Japan” found at

“Food from the Sea” found at

Japanese Pearl Culture-The Women Who Dive for Pearls” found at

“Greek Sponge Divers” found at

“Trade in the Ancient World” found at


“Counting the Last Fish” found at

“Status of Wave and Tidal Power Technologies for the United States” found at

“Impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident of fishing and fishing grounds” found at

“Addressing Climate Change and Sea Level Rise in the Pacific Islands” found at

I may notify you of additional papers to read. I do this (i.e. notify you) through the e-mail address you have on CUNY FIRST. Check and be sure that is the correct e-mail address for you. If not change it. There may be some discussion of mathematical equations and chemical equations, but you will not be expected to be able to do any of those on the exams.

There is also a short bibliography which might prove useful at


This visit was required, but is not possible at this time. You should look, however, at the “Guide to the museum” which is to be found on the web site for the class. There are a number of photos and text that allow you to have a “visit” (and without the crowds and fees). I will give you more information on this later in the term.

There is a “field trip” you should make to the American Museum of Natural History to visit a number of the halls there. These halls are (a) Biodiversity, (b) Ocean Life, (c) and several of the ethnographic halls. These are detailed in the “guide” that will be on the website short small “guide” that I will give you that will tell you how to get there and what to look for. You do NOT have to turn in anything from the “guide book” . There will be questions on the final based on the museum trip guide.


Grades are based on 2 out of 3 exams and a final. Please note grades are not based on what you need, whether you have other obligations outside of school, whether you volunteer time some or anything else. Grades are based on the mathematical computation of grades earned on exams. Period. At the end of the term do NOT e-mail me saying you deserve such and such a grade because you studied hard or any other excuse. I am happy to go over any exam with you and explain the grade on the exam or correct any errors made in the grading. The grades will be posted on the class web site before they are entered in CUNY FIRST. If you feel there is a MATHEMATICAL error or that I might have entered a grade incorrectly or some such clerical mistake CONTACT ME AS SOON AS I POST THE GRADES so the error can be rectified It is much harder to change a grade after it has gone into CUNY FIRST so it is better all-around if we can locate the problem and resolve it before the grades go to the registrar.

The exams will be given at the ends of Topics 1, 2 and 3 (see “Topics” above and also below). The final exam covers the entire terms work. The exams are essay questions and there will be several questions for each exam and you will be able to choose among them as to which you want to answer.

The final exam counts 40% of the grade. There are three exams and I drop the lowest of the three and the remaining two count 30% each

To be totally clear

2 highest quiz grades (30% each).....................................60%


Grades are based on a numerical average. They are not based on what you need, what you want, what you expect, family problems and so on. They are based purely on mathematical calculations from the scores on objectively scored exams. If you believe that I have entered a score incorrectly or that there is some clerical or mathematical error let me know AT ONCE. As soon as I have the grades for the term, they will be posted on the web site one or two days before I have to submit them to the registrar. The grades are posted to give everyone a chance to see if your grade seems correct. This means that if you notify me of a problem there is time to change it before the grades are actually scheduled. There is always a possibility that there is a problem and it is best to clarify it BEFORE the grades are sent to the registrar.

ONCE AGAIN. The final grades will be posted on THIS CLASS’ website the day after the final (maybe even the evening of the final). They will not be entered in the college until two days later

IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR TERM GRADE, E -MAIL ME BEFORE the grades are submitted to the registrar so that the problem can be resolved before the grades are officially entered. There will be no change of grades submitted after they are officially entered.


You may do ONE AND ONLY ONE project from the list below. This adds 5 points to your score on the final exam, not to your final average for the course. Aside from the projects listed below there are no extra credit projects. Extra credit projects must be handed in by July 3rd.

Jellyfish Invading Japan

National Geographic Attack Of The Giant Jellyfish Full Documentary HD

The Last Fish - Our Exhausted Seas - Documentary on Overfishing and Dwindling Fish Stocks

Special report: A Plastic Tide | #OceanRescue

The course is roughly organized around 4 sets of topics (1/ 4of the term for each). In each part the emphasis is on a different aspect of the topic - society and the sea, but it is the interactions of the different topics that will be the underlying theme <> Topic 1: Early investigations into exploration of the oceans. How the ocean operates Principles behind the movements of the waters and lands in the oceans. Cook Darwin and the Challenger. Biases. Definitions, Impacts on societies. Geological changes and its impact. Appearance of land, impact of seismological activity; changes in ocean levels over time. Migrations into the New World, navigation, disasters, etc.)

Topic 2: Life in and on the ocean Different life forms in the oceans. Evolution and extinction. Kinds of life forms, classification systems. Trophic levels

Topic 3: People, society and culture and the way these interact with the ocean. Social structure (economics, politics etc.) Symbolics (religion and magic, art, folklore etc.)

Topic 4: People's impact on the ocean (over fishing, pollution, government regulations.) Development of “ocean sanctuaries”.

These 4 topics are points of discussion and will not be kept separate in 4 sections, although each section will stress that topic.

The best way to reach me. While I do not write with a quill, it may shock you to know that I do not have a cell phone and get e-mails ONLY on the computer. So leave enough time for me to find your e-mail during the day and read it. Do NOT text me since the only phone I have has a rotary dial and barely functions for speech.

Be sure to let me know who you are because believe it or not, from an e-mail that reads ”from “sexy dancer @” I will have no idea who you are.

Generally, I get back to everyone in a day or two. If you do not hear from me, the chances are your email has disappeared into cyberspace. Whatever the case, send another e-mail

Finally, I would like each of you to send me an e-mail ( letting me know three things (the first one is the only obligatory one)

(a) if you got this e-mail
(b) why you wanted to take this course
(c) if there is any particular topic about society and the ocean that is of particular interest to you. If there is, and I know anything about it, I will try to work something into the class.