To define, describe, understand, predict and utilize the ocean for basics research for practical reasons: Navigation, industrial uses, recreational and commercial fisheries, energy etc.

Oceanography - broad field uses all the natural sciences and mathematics - focused on the goal of understanding the oceans.

Generally broken down to several disciplines.

Geological Oceanography - study of earth beneath and at the edge of the sea. Includes processes which shape and affect the sea floor.

Physical Oceanography - physical parameters of SW: temp, light, currents, waves and tides. The movement of water....effects of submarine topology on water movement.

Marine Meteorology - closely allied to physical oceanography...forces which impart energy at the air and sea interface - heat transfer, water cycles - effects of oceans in generating hurricanes, monsoons, rainfall patterns and in modifying weather.

Chemical Oceanography - origin and composition of SW - dissolved and suspended substances chemical cycles in the sea

    Marine Geochemistry - relation between chemical and geological processes in the sea.
    Marine Biogeochemistry - how fossil and living animal and plant life affect geological processes
    in the sea.

Biological Oceanography - how geological, physical and chemical processes affect life in the sea and how life in turn, affects these processes - how the physical environment affects the distribution, abundance, growth, breeding, feeding and mortality of marine organisms.

Marine Biology - concerned with biology of animals that live in the sea. Their reproduction, growth, feeding, physiology and anatomy -Marine biologist studies organisms that live in the sea for convenience - basically interested in the organism.

Biological oceanographer is interested in the processes that cause the organism to be where it is why, and to understand and predict these processes.

Oceanography not necessarily concerned only with the open sea.

Estuarine Ecology - study of the ecology of estuaries which are brackish water bays or tributaries such as: Chesapeake Bay. Part SW, part FW, economically important as a source of food, industrial water and recreation. Endangered by careless use of population concentrated there.

Applied Oceanography - in addition to basic fields of physics, geology, chemistry, biology and math, applied oceanography draws heavily on engineering, law, social sciences and medicine.

Ocean Engineering - installation and maintenance of electrical and telephone cables, oil, corrosion -resistant docks, ships, antisubmarine warfare (acoustics).

Fisheries - applications of alls aspects of oceanography to locate and predict occurrence and abundance of commercial fishes such as tuna, herring, sardines.

Ocean and Coastal Law - theory and application of states and countries to use and protect their own ocean resources, both living and non-living, and navigation on and exploration of these waters.

Pollution Policy and Management - Understanding, prediction and control of man made substances and their affects on the marine environment - Oceanography, law, economics, politics and sociology.

Marine Sciology, Anthropology and Archeology - study the present and past civilizations and their relation to the sea.


Important to all. The sea can feed us, provide energy, supply water for drinking and irrigation . Uses require a knowledge of the science of the seas and the ability to apply and communicate such knowledge.

This information will permit the voting public and the ocean manager to make intelligent decisions on how to continue use without destroying usefulness. Course is to make you think about how we can benefit without destroying.

History of Oceanography

Most of the early information about the oceans collected by traders and explorers.

Phoenicians, excellent sailors and navigators 1500 BC traded across Mediterranean from North Africa to Greece, Italy, Spain and north along Atlantic coast of Europe to Britain.

During next 1000 yrs, Arabs traders were exploring Indian Ocean and Polynesians were ranging far over the Pacific.

Early navigators piloted way from landmark to landmark moving off shore, used wind and wave patterns, clouds, sun and stars to navigate. Viewed the world as 3 continents, Europe, Asia and Libya surrounding Med. Continents in turn were surrounded by continuous sea.

As Greeks traded and warred across Med., they started asking questions and making observations on ocean.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) thought oceans occupied deepest part of earth's surface - understood hydrological cycle of evaporation and precipitation. Began to catalog marine organisms.

Eratosthenes (250BC) mapped the know world and calculated circumference.

Meridional circumference calculated 2500 miles compared to today's measurement of 24902 mi.

Ptolemy produced map of world known at that time - included lines of latitude and longitude.
    - used value of 1800 miles for earth's circumference - 1000 yrs later, Columbus believed he
      reached the coast of Asia.

During middle ages, intellectual and scientific activity declined -many believed earth was flat. Vikings made mainly unrecorded voyages westward to Iceland, Greenland and Northern America.

AGE OF DISCOVERY - 1492 -1522

1492 Columbus reached new world, probably landing at San Salvador in Bahamas.

1519 Magellan began circumnavigation of the globe

- skilled navagator.
- Megellan established length of a degree of latitude, measured circumference of earth
- tried some mid-ocean soundings in Pacific but never reached bottom.

To maintain marine superiority, British undertook voyages of discovery Captain James Cook made 3 voyages to map Pacific between 1768 - 1779. Charted coasts of New Zealand and Australia - discovered Hawaiian Islands in 1778
    - conquered scurvy - vit. C deficiency
    - made soundings, observations on winds, currents, temps.

Ben Franklin and Gulf Stream (1769) - US Congress formed Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807.

Matthew Maury began a systematic collection of wind and current data from commercial ship's logs - produced first atlas of sea conditions and sailing directions for N. Atlantic. Wrote Physical Geography of the Sea - first text on oceanography containing info on Gulf Stream, atmosphere, currents, winds, climates, storms and first bathymetric chart of N. Atlantic. Bathymetric contours at 600, 12000, 18000 and 24000 ft.

Studying of oceans up to now driven by national commercial interests.

Charles Darwin entered scientific scene as a naturalist on the voyage of the Beagle, a British survey ship, from 1831 - 1836. Best know for theory of evolution published in Origin of Species. He also published structure and distribution of coral reefs which described how subsidence of oceanic islands produces progressive changes in reef from fringing reef to atoll formation.

First major controversy in marine science centered around work of naturalists John Ross, James Ross and Edward Forbes.

James Ross, using a bottom grab, collected animals from the ocean floor 1.1 mile deep in Baffin Bay. James Ross recovered the same species in samples 4.3 miles deep in the Antarctic.

Forbes was also studying vertical distribution of life in the oceans at the same time - concluded plants limited to sunlit some near surface - also found that animal life greatest near surface and decreased with depth.

    - Theorized that there was an azoic or lifeless zone below 1800 ft

Further incentive for studying oceans came from laying of transatlantic telegraph cables, - needed to know conditions on sea floor.

Britain began a series of studies - retrieval of cable showed it was encrusted with organisms many of which had never been seen before cable was layed at 5000 ft. Well below upper limit of Forbes' azoic zone.

1st. large scale voyage to study the Marine environment was the Challenger Expedition in 1872 under chief scientist C. Wyville Thompson. To investigate:

        1). Physical conditions of deep sea in ocean basins.

        2). Chemical composition of SW at all depths.

        3). Physical and chemical characteristics of sea floor and its origin.

        4). Distribution of life at all depths and seafloor.

3.5 yr voyage logging 69000 mile took deep sea soundings, bottom dredges, open water trawls and water temp. observations.

        - netted and classified 4717 new species of organisms.

        - deepest sounding in Marianas trench 26,850 ft.

        - opened up era of descriptive oceanography.

Polar oceanography began with voyage of the FRAM by Fridtgof Nansen. - sailed from Norway to study drift of polar ice in Arctic.

FRAM in ice for 3 yrs and drifted 1028 miles - reached within 244 mile of North Pole) - proved that no continent existed in the Arctic Ocean - ice was not glacial but pack ice accumulating on ocean surface.

WW II stimulated tremendous interest in oceanography for national defense - responsible for development of radar, sonar, temp and depth recorders.