14.19: Evolution in Marine Environments - Geosciences

Physical, chemical, and biological factors drive evolution in marine communities in the oceans and coastal waters. The life mission of any species is to eat, survive, and reproduce(Figure 14.31). These isolated groups, if they don't go extinct, become the nucleus of a subsequent population that may evolve into a new species over time, perhaps better adapted to expand their populations when environmental conditions become favorable. Charles Darwin's famous synopsis, survival of the fittest basically means: if you can't compete, your options are "adapt, move, or die!"

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Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences

This Encyclopedia comprises the current knowledge in marine geosciences whereby not only basic but also applied and technical sciences are covered. Through this concept a broad scale of users in the field of marine sciences and techniques is addressed, from students and scholars in academia to engineers and decision makers in industry and politics.

Globally growing demand of energy and mineral resources, reliable future projection of climate processes and the protection of coasts to mitigate the threats of disasters and hazards require a comprehensive understanding of the structure, ongoing processes and genesis of the marine geosphere. Beyond the “classical” research fields in marine geology in current time more general concepts have been evolved integrating marine geophysics, hydrography, marine biology, climatology and ecology. As an umbrella the term “marine geosciences” has been broadly accepted for this new complex field of research and the solutions of practical tasks in the marine realm.

Jan Harff is Professor of Geosciences and Seafloor Geology at the University of Szczecin, Poland. His previous research focused on sedimentary basin analysis at the Central Institute for Physics of the Earth (ZIPE, subsequently the GeoForschungsZentrum, GFZ), Potsdam, and marine geology at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde and the University of Greifswald, Germany. He cooperates, on a permanent basis, with marine research institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese universities and the Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey, Guangzhou, China. His research interests concern marine geology in general, sedimentology, coastal geology, palaeo-oceanography, palaeoclimatology, mathematical geology and basin modelling. In addition to having authored and co-authored numerous research papers and having served as editor of other scientific publications, he acted as corresponding editor of “Modeling of Sedimentary Systems” (Springer,1999) and “The Baltic Sea Basin” (Springer, 2011).

Martin Meschede is Professor of “Regional and Structural Geology” at the Institute of Geography and Geology, University of Greifswald, Germany. His research interests focus on geodynamic processes at plate margins, subduction, large igneous provinces, exhumation, paleogeography, paleoclimatology, basin evolution, and glacial tectonics. He participated in several marine research expeditions, among these are the Joides Resolution of IODP and a diving cruise with Shinkai 6500. Besides a number of scientific publications, he is author and coauthor of several textbooks on plate tectonics, structural geology, and regional geology of Germany.

Sven Petersen is a senior researcher at GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany. His research focuses on understanding the processes that form and change seafloor hydrothermal systems and associated mineral deposits with time. He participated in more than 30 research cruises to submarine hydrothermal systems in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean. Major aims of his research are to understand their chemical variability, the use of mobile drilling techniques and geophysical methods to investigate their sub-seafloor extent as well as the use of autonomous underwater vehicles for their exploration.

Jörn Thiede is the leader of the KÖPPEN-Laboratory of the Institute of Earth Sciences of Saint Petersburg State University. He worked 1967-1987 at the universities of Aarhus (Denmark), Bergen (Norway), Oregon State University in Corvallis (USA), Oslo (Norway) and Kiel (Germany) and learned to sail the world’s oceans to understand their history. Afterwards he pursued the foundation of GEOMAR. In 1997 he joined The Alfred Wegener Institute-Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. In 2008 he served at the Geocenter Denmark as well as at UNIS (Longyearbyen/Svalbard) and in 2011 was invited to join the St. Petersburg

“This title in the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series covers approximately 195 topics under the umbrella term marine geosciences, which incorporates marine geophysics, hydrography, climatology, marine biology, and ecology. … The writing and subject matter are advanced. For those libraries (academic and public) looking for a reliable and authoritative reference on marine geosciences, this is a highly recommended resource.” (American Reference Books Annual ARBA, June, 2018)

Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences wins GSIS Mary B. Ansari Best 2017 Research Resource Work Award

The Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences has been selected to receive the 2017 GSIS Mary B. Ansari Best Research Resource Work Award. J. Harff, M. Meschede, S. Petersen and J. Thiede are the editors of this reference work published by Springer in 2016.

The Geoscience Information Society has presented the GSIS Mary B. Ansari Best Reference Work Award annually since 1988. The award honors an outstanding reference work published in the field of geoscience information during the previous three years

“This Encyclopedia from Springer Reference is an excellent source. The information is clear, concise and easy to use for multiple levels of users. Those users at advanced levels can find additional information through the bibliography and cross-references. … Overall this is a good multilevel resource that can be used by all levels of university and a basic resource for the serious researcher in the area of marine geosciences.” (Victoria Packard, Reference Reviews, Vol. 37 (5), 2017)

14.19: Evolution in Marine Environments - Geosciences

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Feature Papers represent the most advanced research with significant potential for high impact in the field. Feature Papers are submitted upon individual invitation or recommendation by the scientific editors and undergo peer review prior to publication.

The Feature Paper can be either an original research article, a substantial novel research study that often involves several techniques or approaches, or a comprehensive review paper with concise and precise updates on the latest progress in the field that systematically reviews the most exciting advances in scientific literature. This type of paper provides an outlook on future directions of research or possible applications.

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

This Issue aims to highlight the complex interplay among biological and physical dynamics which concur in controlling the development of shallow marine systems, as well as their potential flourishing or demise. Shallow-sea environments typically show variable hydrodynamic and biological factors which interact at various scales of time and space, influencing or driving the arrangement of ancient marine deposits. At present, the global warming effects and the direct human impacts are concentrated along coastal areas, causing multiple stresses (sea-level rise, increase of extreme events, potential acidification, pollution, exploitation of marine biological resources) and inducing sudden changes in the littoral biological and sedimentary systems.

Contributions by clastic and carbonate sedimentologists, ecologists, and biogeoscientists that focus on these complex dynamics are the most welcome for this Issue. Studies on ancient shallow-sea successions, present-day examples, and numerical-analogical approaches are encouraged, as are interdisciplinary contributions.

Dr. Stefania Nunzia Lisco
Dr. Irene Cornacchia
Guest Editors

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Learning and assessment

How will I learn?

You should review the Programme Structure - Degree Programme Table to see compulsory and option courses. Refer to individual course details to see the types of learning activities you will participate in.

The exciting nature of environmental geoscience means you will have a diverse learning experience throughout your years with us. You will be taught through a mixture of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • practical classes and workshops
  • field trips
  • project work

You will have access to the University's specialist research facilities and laboratories for analysing a broad range of samples. You will use our cutting-edge computational facilities to visualise and explore scientific data that you will create in your advanced projects.

How long should I study?

You will be expected to study for approximately 200 hours per 20 credit course, throughout your degree.

How this time is divided varies, and is dependent on courses you choose to study and nature of the topics explored.

Typically you will do 60 credits of study for each of the two semesters, usually three courses. This study time includes time allocated for self-directed learning as well as 'contact time' with staff, which could be through lectures, tutorials, practicals or field trips.

You should expect to commit to approximately 17 hours a week of lectures, tutorials, and practicals. This will depend on the option courses you choose, during the first two years (pre-honours).

You will be expected to spend more time on independent work and self-directed study, as you progress into the 3rd and 4th years of study (honours).

You will design and execute your project dissertation in your final year, with guidance from our expert academics - helping you develop skills to become a researcher in your own right.


Most lectures last 50 minutes and many are recorded to support the revision of the material covered. The main form of contact you will have with academic staff will be through lectures.


You will apply the knowledge acquired in lectures and tutorials through practicals. The skills you learn in practicals are transferable beyond the immediate course and can be applied:


Tutorials are a form of small group teaching that is facilitated by a tutor. Many courses include tutorials. Tutorials are an essential opportunity for you to:

  • discuss specific topics in more depth
  • develop skills in critical thinking
  • communicate your understanding
  • work as part of a team
  • receive feedback
  • ask questions

Field trips

Field trips are a significant component of our Earth science degrees and are:

  • hard work and fun (they will provide some of your most memorable moments)
  • an excellent way to learn, enabling you to apply the knowledge and skills you have developed in lectures to real-world contexts
  • part of your course (there are no additional costs)

Self-directed study

You will need to be well-motivated and organised, emphasis is placed on independent work.

What skills will I learn?

You will develop a scientific understanding of environmental processes throughout the programme. In addition, programme academics will incorporate the latest research in the teaching you receive, and share their discoveries with you.

You will also cover core topics in modern environmental sciences in a variety of settings, including practical laboratory and fieldwork.

You could be assessing the water quality in a river in the highlands on one day and swimming in coral reefs collecting water samples on another.

You will enhance your ability to work independently and manage project work as the programme progresses.

Your training will also equip you with unique skills in problem-solving, making you ideally suited to work in environments where solutions to complex challenges need to be found (based on limited available data).

You will also develop a range of transferable skills, including:

  • report writing
  • oral presentations
  • data analysis and interpretation
  • critical thinking
  • group working

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, depending on the courses you choose to study in your programme and the nature of the topics explored.

An assessment might include:

  • written or practical exams and quizzes
  • practical evaluation in the field or field notebooks
  • coursework such as essays
  • individual or group projects
  • presentations

You may also be evaluated in computer programming exercises - some senior honours courses and projects in Environmental Geosciences will involve computational modelling elements.

In your final year you will:

  • be assessed on elements of presentation and scientific writing skills
  • also complete a dissertation under the guidance of our expert academics

Program of Study for MS

The geosciences curriculum consists of a series of core courses and a series of research focus courses.

Required course work:

  • SIOG 240. Marine Geology (4 units)
  • One geochemistry course, from the following:
    • SIOG 251. Whole Earth Geochemistry (4 units)
    • SIOG 252A. Introduction to Isotope Geochemistry (4 units)
    • SIO 105. Stratigraphy and Sedimentology (4 units)
    • SIO 160. Introduction to Tectonics (4 units)
    • SIO 170. Introduction to Volcanology (4 units)
    • SIOC 201. Geological Record of Climate Change (4 units)
    • SIOG 244. Shape and Structure of the Ocean Floor (4 units)
    • SIOG 253. Interactions of Oceanic Plates and the California Margin (4 units)
    • SIO 103. Introduction to Geophysics (4 units)
    • SIOG 234. Geodynamics (4 units)
    • SIOG 247. Rock Magnetism and Paleomagnetism (4 units)

    Elective course work:

    Students may fulfill the remaining units of required course work through elective course offerings selected in consultation with the students’ guidance committee. Recommended course electives are below:

    14.19: Evolution in Marine Environments - Geosciences

    The National Centre for marine Geosciences, located in Yenagoa, is mandated to collect and collate geo-scientific data and information from Nigeria’s coastal and offshore environments central to reconstruction of their geological evolution, mineral resources discoveries and exploitation, geohazard mitigation, and sustainable development.

    In pursuit of this mandate, the Centre creates a data bank and body of knowledge where concerns and challenges of investors, investigators and all other stakeholders interested in geo-scientific evolution, exploitation, development, vulnerability and management of Nigeria’s coastal and offshore environments are creditably catered for.

    Capacity-building and research efforts of the Centre have been recently welcomed by Niger Delta University, University of Port Harcourt, Federal University Otuoke, AkwaIbom State University, Federal University of Technology Akure, and the International Council of Science Union (Regional Office for Africa), South Africa.

    14.19: Evolution in Marine Environments - Geosciences

    The Antarctic continent and surrounding oceans are key parts of the Earth System through the entire history of the Earth. The basement core of Antarctica comprises a suite of crustal blocks that were parts of various supercontinents (e.g. Rodinia, Gondwana). Their outcrops provide important insights into Earth processes. Sedimentary records on and around Antarctica also provide important insights into the history and natural variability of the earth's environments. The geological record can provide key insights into the evolution and processes of change in the Antarctic environment and the biota dependent on it. The geology of the ice sheet bed strongly influences ice behaviour and the development of the ice sheet from its inception. Geodetic and geophysical observatories can furnish a fundamental contribution to the study of geodynamics processes across the continent. The challenge of the next phase of Antarctic science will be to integrate all branches of science into a holistic understanding of Antarctica and its trajectory of change.

    Geoscience Scientific Research Programmes:

    Integrated Science to Inform Antarctic and Southern Ocean Conservation (Ant-ICON)

    The Ant-ICON SRP will answer fundamental science questions (as identified by the SCAR Horizon Scan), relating to the conservation and management of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and focus on research to drive and inform international decision-making and policy change.

    INStabilities and Thresholds in ANTarctica (INSTANT)

    The INSTANT SRP will address a first-order question about Antarctica’s contribution to sea level. It encompasses geoscience, physical sciences and biological sciences, of the way in which interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere have influenced ice-sheets in the past, and what expectations will be in the future with a special focus on quantifying the contributions to global sea level change. They aim to quantify the Antarctic ice sheet's contribution to past and future global sea-level change.

    For previous Geoscience SRPs, see former Research Programmes.

    Geoscience Action and Expert Groups:

    Antarctic Digital Magnetic Anomaly Map Project – ADMAP

    This Expert Group aims to compile and integrate all existing Antarctic near-surface and satellite magnetic anomaly data into a digital database.

    AntArchitecture Action Group

    This Action Group aims to develop a continent‐wide, age‐depth model of Antarctica’s ice using the internal layers and surfaces imaged by radar‐sounding and use this to determine the stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheets over past glacial cycles.

    Antarctic Near-shore and Terrestrial Observing System – ANTOS

    This Expert Group aims to establish a biologically focussed, integrated and coordinated Antarctic-wide observation system, to identify and track environmental variability and change at biologically relevant scales, and to use this information to inform biological, physical, and earth science studies. This group is co-sponsored by SCAR's Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Geosciences Groups.

    Antarctic Permafrost, Soils and Periglacial Environments – ANTPAS

    This Expert Group aims to develop an internationally coordinated, web-accessible database and monitoring system on Antarctic permafrost and soils.

    Antarctic Volcanism – AntVolc

    This Expert Group aims to promote the study of Antarctic volcanism, facilitate regional correlations and work towards establishing Antarctica as a high profile site for studying volcanic processes, especially but not solely petrology and glaciovolcanism.

    Connecting Geophysics with Geology – CGG

    This Action Group aims to identify highest-priority areas where lineaments and/or apparent tectonic block boundaries intersect with outcrops, provide improved geological maps, improve connections to adjacent continents within Gondwana/Rodinia and project the knowledge of these into Antarctica, and identify worthy drill sites for basement recovery and connect to other Antarctic drilling communities.

    Geodetic Infrastructure of Antarctica – GIANT

    This Expert Group aims to oversee the development of geodetic infrastructure across the Antarctic Continent to facilitate the monitoring of its physical processes and help coordinate various infrastructure associated with earth monitoring techniques such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and gravity meters, as well as the installation of tide gauges to monitor sea level change.

    Geological Heritage and Geoconservation – Geoconservation

    This Action Group aims to develop a Code of Conduct for research, protection and ongoing management on and in areas of geological and geomorphological significance within the Antarctic.

    Geological Mapping Update of Antarctica – GeoMap

    This Action Group aims to facilitate an international effort to gather both rock and surficial deposit information and compile it into a GIS framework that will underpin studies of glacial dynamics and climate change.

    GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) Research and Application for Polar Environment – GRAPE

    This Expert Group aims to build and coordinate a robust network of international collaborations to address a variety of weather and space weather related needs at high latitudes and the polar regions (Arctic and Antarctica), through ad hoc data sharing and models development. This group is co-sponsored by SCAR's Geosciences and Physical Sciences Groups.

    International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean – IBCSO

    This Expert Group aims to design and implement an enhanced digital database that contains bathymetric data available south of 60S latitude, leading to the design of a consistent bathymetric chart of the Southern Ocean.

    Watch the video: Environmental Impacts of Marine Seismic Surveys (October 2021).