Marine Instrumental Analysis (MARS 450)

Schedule & Syllabus - Spring 2009

Credit Hours: 3


Course Objectives      Syllabus      Textbook/Links      Important Dates      Grading

Instructor: Dr. Patrick Louchouarn

Associate Professor

Depts. of Marine Sciences (TAMUG) and

Oceanography (TAMU)

Office: Fort Crokett Rm 207

Office Hours: by appointment only

Phone: (409) 740-4710

Email: loup@tamug.edu




Teaching Assistant: James Perrigo


Office: MERC Rm 114

Phone: (409) 740-4709

Email: perrigoj@tamug.edu

Course Description: This course emphasizes practical rather than theoretical approaches and requires students to develop their own problem solving abilities with respect to diverse methods used in environmental and marine chemistry. It is in now way a complete overview of the multitude of analytical methods available today to marine and environmental chemists. Instead, it is designed around hands-on/minds-on case-studies using a selected series of instruments as 'models' for marine/environmental chemistry procedures. Most importantly, this course uses an approach of "authentic inquiry" in its pedagogical approach, namely exposing students to authentic methods of scientific inquiry rather than a suite of algorithmic solutions to specific environmental issues.

Course Objectives: The main goal of this course is to foster an understanding of how environmental scientists use analytical methods to address environmental issues. A parallel objective of this course is the development of an expertise in assessing the validity of analytical data in supporting research questions.

Course Outline: The approach of the course will follow a general sequence of themes that will 1) introduce the notion of the 'authentic inquiry' and 'nature of science', 2) evaluate basic concepts of statistics in support of analytical chemical methods, 3) cover the broad 'families' of diverse analytical instruments used in marine/environmental chemistry, 4) build gradual expertise and autonomy in problem-solving in environmental chemistry using a suite of different instruments, and 5) lead to a semi-autonomous research project based on the extensive use of a high-end instrument and seeking to address a current issue in analytical chemistry.

Important Information for the Spring Semester of 2007

Time and Location of Class:

Lectures: Thursday, 11:00-12:30AM, FTC 207

Labs: Thursdays, 2:00-4:50PM, Fort Crokett (or computer lab in SAGC 600 when indicated)

Textbook (NOT required!): "Undergraduate Instrumental Analysis", (6th Edition), by J.W. Robinson, E.M. Skelly Frame, and G.M. Frame II.

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Attendance Policy:

Attendance and participation in labs is required since part of the overall evaluation is calculated based on the participation in these exercises. Information concerning absences is contained in the University Student Rules Section 7. The University views class attendance as an individual student responsibility. All students are expected to attend class and to complete all assignments. Please consult the University Student Rules for reasons for excused absences, detailed procedures and deadlines as well as student grievance procedures (Part III, Section 45).


There will be NO exams during the course. The workload will consist of

1.      Prescribed lab activities involving hands-on/minds-on exercises with reports due at a subsequent lab meeting. Student will perform each lab report individually.

2.     Attendance and participation. This course is based on experiential approaches. Students are expected to attend and participate in all activities to obtain full credit. In the last week, a team of two students will present the results of the assigned research project to the rest of the class in an oral presentation (30 minutes) worth 1/2 of the participation grade.

3.     A final research paper based on experimental data gathered during a 1 1/2-month period on a defined analytical topic (2 members per team). This paper should be written as a professional technical manuscript in the format of peer-reviewed publications. Please see the attached guideline for a detailed description of the report format I am expecting you to follow. This direction is similar to that provided by peer-review journals to authors that consider submitting a manuscript for review in analytical chemistry. It is imperative that you follow this format (both in structure and in content) otherwise the paper will be returned to you for revision (as is often done by professional editors of scientific journals).

The Final Projects will be due on Thursday April 30, 5PM. No Delays.

Policy on Late Submissions of Labs and Papers:

Ten percent (10%) of the grade will be deducted per day if the lab reports and group papers are submitted past the due date. Materials that are submitted more than one week late will not be accepted. No late submission will be accepted on the final paper.

Grades will be based on the following:

      40% on lab reports

      20% on attendance/participation. 10% will be given to a one-time team presentation to the group on the class prior to the lab session (Wednesday)

      40% for the final paper

Final grades will be based on your percentage of the total points possible: A (90-100%); B (80-89%); C (70-79%); D (60-69%); and F (below 60%). Some curving is likely

Table of Contents:

Course Syllabus

Lab Schedule

Final Paper Instructions



Lecture 2

Jan. 29

Lecture 3

Feb. 05

Lecture 4

Feb.  12

Lecture 5

Feb. 19

Lecture 6

Feb. 26

Lecture 7

March 05

Lecture 8

March 12

Web-Site Information: The course URL is http://loer.tamug.tamu.edu/Loup/MARS450.htm

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