Oceanography is the study of the biological and physical properties of the world’s largest bodies of water, the oceans.

Oceanography is a branch of Earth science and geography that studies the oceans, including their physical and biological aspects, as well as the interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere, land, and other bodies of water. It involves the study of ocean currents, waves, tides, temperature, salinity, and other physical characteristics, as well as the diverse array of marine life that inhabits the world’s oceans.

A natural shaded relief map of Antarctica showing in a bold line the 60° S extent of the Southern Ocean.

Geography Facts About the Southern Ocean

Caitlin Dempsey

The Southern Ocean is the Earth's windiest, southernmost ocean and plays a vital role in Earth's environmental health.

A couple of small white boats on a hazy day out in the ocean with the coastline in the background.

Marine Spatial Planning Index

Mark Altaweel

The goal of marine spatial planning (MSP) is to balance ocean space use and environmental protection.

A diagram showing the formation of internal waves underneath the surface of the water.

The Role of Internal Waves in Climate Change

Mark Altaweel

Scientists from the UK and US have identified underwater internal waves as crucial in understanding and addressing climate change.

Warming ocean waters stress corals and cause coral bleaching. Colonies of “blade fire coral” that have lost their symbiotic algae, or “bleached,” on a reef off of Islamorada, Florida. Photo: Kelsey Roberts, USGS. Public domain.

Warmer Ocean Temperatures are Bleaching Coral Reefs

Mark Altaweel

Higher ocean temperatures, along with overfishing and pollution, are leading to more coral bleaching events.

A satellite image of Vancouver island showing puffy clouds and swirling green phytoplankton blooms.

Phytoplankton Blooms in the Northeast Pacific Ocean

Caitlin Dempsey

During summer in the Northeast Pacific Ocean, phytoplankton blooms proliferate due to the nutrient-rich upwelling along the continental shelf.

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