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58 IntroSems. 25 Stanford fountains. 1 Spring 2020. Don’t suffer from FoHo FoMo!
Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Views of a Changing Sea: Literature and Science
There is one ocean on planet Earth, and it is constantly changing. Some changes are cyclical and natural; others have unknown trajectories and are largely driven by human impact. Thus, humans are a critical element in the ecology of the ocean and its future. In turn, the ocean's future will affect the entire planet and, arguably, all living things. How do these changes impact you? Cascading effects of depleting marine fisheries and issues associated with marine culture present distinct, but related, problems. Land-based activities deposit nutrients and pollutants in both coastal and oceanic environments. These impacts are becoming more evident through a rapidly increasing number of hypoxic areas and "dead" zones. Oxygen concentrations deep in the eastern Pacific and in other productive oceanic regions are decreasing. Increasing atmospheric CO2 levels are driving sea-surface warming, sea level rise, and ocean acidification. We will examine the changing sea from literary, historical, and scientific perspectives through group discussions of selected readings, including works by Herman Melville, Richard Henry Dana, John Steinbeck, Rachel Carson, and Robinson Jeffers. These readings, in conjunction with scientific essays and papers, will help us see that these issues are not simple, and that causality is often blurred by hidden connections between them.
One or more weekend field trips to Monterey Bay, Elkhorn Slough, and Hopkins Marine Station will be offered.