Ocean 260 Course Information
Meeting Times:

Mon-Wed-Fri 9:30-10:20 (Lecture, sections A & B)

Tues 12:30-4:30 (Lab, Section B)

Location: Anderson 223 (Lecture), OCN 111 (Lab)

Instructors: Jeffrey Richey, John Lombard

Contact: ocean260@u.washington.edu

Lecture Material (Section A)
Lab Material (Section B)
Grading Plan
Extra Credit
TA Office Hours and Policies
Absence & Makeup Policies
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Oceanography/Environment 260, Autumn 2009

The Puget Sound Ecosystem


All of us at the University of Washington live in the Puget Sound ecosystem.  As defined in this class, the Puget Sound ecosystem stretches from the crests of the Cascades and Olympics to the marine waters of the Sound and out through the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Pacific Ocean.  We all affect this ecosystem and are affected by it, as the source of our water, the recipient of much of our waste, and the provider of many other enormously valuable ecological services, including the recreational opportunities and access to nature that for many people define this region.

Some four million people live in this ecosystem, a number that could easily double this century.  Within the last 10 years, iconic Puget Sound species such as orcas, Chinook salmon and steelhead have been placed on the Endangered Species list.  Climate change already has caused glaciers in the region to recede and threatens both water shortages and increased flooding in the future.

This course provides an overview of how the Puget Sound ecosystem works, the most important policy issues that confront efforts to conserve it, and some of the key conservation initiatives currently underway in the region.  Guest speakers from the Puget Sound Partnership, the Cascade Agenda and other initiatives will give students the opportunity to engage directly with regional conservation leaders.

Offered jointly by the School of Oceanography and the Program on the Environment, this course is designed for lower-division environmental majors but is addressed to all students as current and future citizens of the region.  It has no prerequisites and satisfies either a Natural World or an Individual and Society credit.  It can be taken for 3 credits (Section A, MWF, 9:30 – 10:20 a.m.) or 5 credits (Sections B and BA*, which include computer labs and field trips, Tu 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.).

Readings include a printed course pack, Saving Puget Sound: A Conservation Strategy for the 21st Century, and Sound Science: Synthesizing Ecological and Socioeconomic Information about the Puget Sound Ecosystem.  Section B readings are predominantly on-line.

This course grows out of a major UW program called PRISM (Puget Sound Regional Synthesis Model), which integrates research, modeling, and education across many different aspects of the Puget Sound ecosystem.  PRISM focuses on the movement of water across the landscape and in the marine environment.  Section B labs in particular adapt models from PRISM to create teaching materials.

* If you want the 5-credit option, you must choose both section B (the lecture section) and section BA (the lab section) with the appropriate Schedule Line numbers (SLN) for each section from the time schedule.


Jeffrey Richey

John Lombard

Teaching Assistants

Paul Rudell
Lead TA, Section A


Nick Ward
Lead TA, Section B