OCEN 677

Environmental Fluid Mechanics


Dr. Scott A. Socolofsky,


Office Hours

Course Meeting Times

TR 9:35-10:50 in
RICH 1009 and via TTVN


Ph +1-979-845-4517

Satellite image of the phytoplankton concentratin off the coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands. Image provided by the NASA SeaWiFS Program.


OCEN 677 Environmental Fluid Mechanics. Credits 3. 3 Lecture Hours. Introduction to fluid and mass transport in naturally occurring flows; topics include molecular and turbulent diffusion; dispersion; river, estuary, and ocean mixing; dissolution boundary layers; tidal mixing; offshore wastewater outfalls; introduction to environmental quality numerical modeling.

Prerequisite: CVEN 311 or equivalent.


The objective of this course is to introduce the physics and chemistry of transport and mixing of substances in the natural environment (hydrosphere).  Specifically, this course will help students:

There is a realted PowerPoint presentation describing the course content. If you do not have PowerPoint, you can view this presentation by downloading and installing the PowerPoint Viewer. See also the related courses, CVEN 489, OCEN 689, and OCEN 475/677


Environmental fluid mechanics, mixing, transport, diffusion, dispersion, turbulence, turbulent diffusion, dispersion, jets, plumes, concentration boundary layers, tidal mixing, wastewater outfalls, numerical modeling, rivers, lakes, estuaries, oceans, groundwater, atmosphere, hydrosphere.


There are three textbooks we will use regularly in this course. All three are available either online or digitally through the Texas A&M University Library. These texts are:

Among the many other good textbooks on this subject, the following books are also especially recommended

Please see also the Related Resources page of this website for more learning resources.

Course Calendar

Please refer to the Calendar page.

Homework Assignments

Please refer to the Assignments page. Homework will be assigned regularly, with assignments generally due every two weeks.  A tentative schedule of homework assignments is posted on the course website. 

POLICY:  Homework is a substantial part of your course grade and must be completed individually.  You may ask others for help at places where you have made diligent attempts and have become stumped.  You may ask others for confirmation of results at significant milestones in the problem.  You may not share computer programs, Word documents, or Excel files.  Copying another student’s solution, even if you slightly change the presentation will be considered as cheating and given a grade of zero (see Plagiarism statement below).

Homework problems must be answered clearly, showing all your work, and should be easy to follow.  Where applicable, the solution to each problem should contain:

Failure to include one of these elements will result in lost credit for the problem.  Not all homework problems may be graded.  Partial credit will be given for wrong answers that demonstrate some of the correct solution method.

Homework is due at the start of class on the assigned day either in class or in my mailbox on the 8th floor of the CE/TTI building.  Unless you have a university excuse (see Absences below), late assignments will not be accepted for credit.  Please do not ask for exceptions. 

Class Project

There will be one class project. In this project, you will read journal papers from the literature on environmental fluid mechanics that relate to a specific topic of your choice. You will write an abstract for a technical audience, a magazine article / press release for a lay technical audience, and create a poster in the form of a standard conference presentation that describes technical aspects of your research theme. This will give you a deeper understanding of your selected topic while also practicing important communication skills needed by all graduate students.


Your final grade for the course will be calculated as follows

Letter grades will be assigned from your total course score according to from 90% to 100%: A, 80% to 90%: B, 70% to 80%: C,60% to 70%: D, <60%: F.  Please note that homework and the class project account for 40% of your total grade.

Class Participation

You are expected to attend all classes, turn in all assignments, and complete all exams at their scheduled times.  Exceptions are only permitted for university excused absences (see Absences below). 

Classes will start on time, and pointers for the homework assignments and last-minute changes to the schedule may be announced in class.  It is your responsibility to be in class to receive this information or to get the information from another student. Classes will be presented live to the Galveston campus over TTVN. Generally, the TTVN feed will be recorded, but no guarantees are made that these recordings will be of acceptable quality or that the recording will be successful each class period--dropped recording feeds are likely. Students are expected to make every effort to attend live sessions of the class.


Two 75-minute exams are scheduled (see Course Calendar page for scheduling).  The grading of the exams will be based on both the approach and the final answer.  Exams will be closed book and closed notes.  You may prepare notes on the front and back of one page of 8½ x 11 paper for each exam.  You will need a hand-held calculator for each exam.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your calculator is working and will perform in the examination.

Academic Integrity

"An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do." For additional information, please visit: http://aggiehonor.tamu.edu.

No form of scholastic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) will be tolerated. As commonly defined, plagiarism consists of passing off as one's own the ideas, words, writings, etc., which belong to another. In accordance with this definition, you are committing plagiarism if you copy the work of another person and turn it in as your own, even if you should have permission of that person. Since the homework grade for this course is a high percentage of your total grade, no plagiarism or cheating will be permitted in the homework.


The university views class attendance as an individual student responsibility. Students are expected to attend class and to complete all assignments.  Please read Section 7 of the Texas A&M University Student Rules for details.  

Please contact me as soon as you know you will miss a class or an exam so that a reasonable alternative can be accommodated.  Unexcused absences will result in a grade of zero for the missed work.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy Statement

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact Disability Services, currently located in the Disability Services building at the Student Services at White Creek complex on west campus or call 979-845-1637. For additional information, visit http://disability.tamu.edu.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CTS-0348572. Any opinions, finds and conclusions or recommendations in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).