How the Ocean Works: An Introduction to Oceanography

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9780691126463: How the Ocean Works: An Introduction to Oceanography

The world's oceans account for roughly 71 percent of the planet's surface and 99 percent of its livable volume. Any study of this huge habitat requires a solid foundation in the principles that underlie marine biology and physical and chemical oceanography, yet until now undergraduate textbooks have largely presented compilations of facts rather than explanations of principles. How the Ocean Works fills this gap, providing a concise and accessible college-level introduction to marine science that is also ideal for general readers.


How are winds and currents driven? What is the dilemma of the two-layered ocean? Mark Denny explains key concepts like these in rich and fascinating detail. He explores early scientific knowledge of oceans, photosynthesis, trophic interactions and energy flow, and the impacts of human activities on marine and atmospheric systems. Focusing each chapter on a major topic and carefully explaining the principles and theory involved, Denny gives readers the conceptual building blocks needed to develop a coherent picture of the living ocean. How the Ocean Works is an indispensable resource that teaches readers how to think about the ocean--its biology, mechanics, and conservation.



  • Provides a concise, up-to-date introduction to marine science

  • Develops the conceptual basis needed to understand how the ocean works

  • Explains fundamental principles and theory

  • Includes color illustrations and informative diagrams

  • Serves as a college textbook and a reference for general readers

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From the Back Cover:

"An elegant presentation of how the ocean works. Denny's purpose is to review a selection of oceanographic topics to provide a background for considering such current public issues as climate change and marine fisheries. Accessible and enjoyable reading, and the scholarship is very sound."--Nicholas D. Holland, University of California, San Diego

"A well-written, coherent, interesting introductory text for teaching oceanography. The vast majority of the books on the market are full of glitz and relatively little else, and there is a great need for a book of this type."--Carol Arnosti, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

About the Author:

Mark Denny is the John B. and Jean DeNault Professor of Marine Sciences at Stanford University. His books include "Chance in Biology" and "Air and Water" (both Princeton).

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