Understanding the Coast and the Ocean 4 ECTS

CMM31 Core course 4 ECTS
Period V37 - V38 10.09.12 - 21.09.12
Instructor Hrönn Egilsdóttir


Coastal areas form a boundary between two different worlds, terrestrial land and the ocean. Coastal zone definitions vary widely throughout the world but coastal zones can be seen as dynamic zone of interaction between the land and the sea, where the sea influences the land and vice versa. They are continually shaped and influenced by physical processes as well as different organism have adapted to these volatile environments. In this course students will learn about these processes and main physical and biological features of the ocean and coastal areas. It includes an introduction on the main properties, functions and principles of the coast and the ocean, including properties of seawater, oceanic and coastal circulation, biological productivity of different marine environments and marine ecology. The last part of the course deals with human presence in the ocean and physical factors influencing human settlements in coastal areas.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will:
  • Understand how the coast and the ocean ‘work' through various meteorological, physical and ecological principles and processes
  • Be able to effectively participate in discussions and communicate using academic terminology used in the field of coastal and marine management
  • Understand the role of oceans as a source of food and energy and the large scale environmental problems humans have induced with uses of oceans' different resources
  • Be able to address the main natural aspects and processes that govern human uses of coastal and marine areas.


Exam (65%)
Discussion planning/participation (10%)
Presentation of assignment (5%)
Writing assignment (20%)


[mynd 1 h]In 2009, Hrönn Egilsdóttir started her PhD in Marine Science at The University of Iceland and the Marine Research Institute, Iceland. Her project is titled: Ocean acidification in Icelandic waters and effects on calcifying biota. Her main supervisor is Prof. Jón Ólafsson.

Hrönn has a MRes Marine Biology (2008) from The University of Plymouth, UK and a B.Sc. Marine Biology and related studies (2007) from The University of Iceland.

Hrönn's work experience includes jobs at the Marine Biological Association, UK

where she worked on the MarClim project which involved shore surveys around the UK, counting and identifying barnacles. and organisation of large datasets.

Hrönn also worked for The University of Plymouth as an assistant organiser of the Macrophysiology meeting held in May 2008 in England, and as a research assistant in aquaculture and fish biology at Hólar University College.

Guest lecturer

Mirjam Glessmer

Further reading