Oceanography Survey Services

Oceanography (compound of the Greek words ωκεανός meaning “ocean” and γράφω meaning “to write”), also called oceanology or marine science, is the branch of Earth science that studies the ocean. It covers a wide range of topics, including marine organisms and ecosystem dynamics; ocean currents, waves, and geophysical fluid dynamics; plate tectonics and the geology of the sea floor; and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries. These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge of the world ocean and understanding of processes within it: biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, and physics as well as geography.

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The study of oceanography is divided into branches:

  • Biological oceanography investigates the ecology of marine organisms in the context of the physical, chemical, and geological characteristics of their ocean environment. It is closely aligned with marine biology, though the latter has more emphasis on the biology of individual marine organisms.
  • Chemical oceanography, or marine chemistry, is the study of the chemistry of the ocean and its chemical interaction with the atmosphere;
  • Geological oceanography, or marine geology, is the study of the geology of the ocean floor including plate tectonics and paleoceanography;
  • Physical oceanography, or marine physics, studies the ocean’s physical attributes including temperature-salinity structure, mixing, waves, internal waves, surface tides, internal tides, and currents.

These branches reflect the fact that many oceanographers are first trained in the exact sciences or mathematics and then focus on applying their interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and abilities to oceanography. Data derived from the work of Oceanographers is used in marine engineering, in the design and building of oil platforms, ships, harbours, and other structures that allow us to use the ocean safely.

Oceanographic data management is the discipline ensuring that oceanographic data both past and present are available to researchers.

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