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how we study the ocean
how does the cool room work
who's in the cool?
who uses the cool room?
evolution of oceanography

Who's in the Cool?

Even before there were modern day oceanographers, humans have been intrigued by the sea. It's in our nature to want explain the how and why of our world. So, it should be no surprise, that as early as 3000 B.C., humans built sailing vessels to travel further off shore, to discover new lands, to find new sources of wealth and to just plain satisfy our curiosity. By the 1800s we had a comprehensive understanding of the ocean's surface from the sailors and merchants who explored, observed and recorded its behavior.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Exploring the world beneath the waves, sometimes called inner space, its nature, its contents, its surrounding environment and its interaction with the atmosphere, takes a collaboration between many types of scientists. Therefore, oceanography, a relatively young science, applies the basic sciences and engineering to the study of the sea. Some of the scientists include:

Biological oceanographers, marine biologists, and fisheries scientists study marine plants and animals, their development, how they relate to one another and their environment and how they adapt over time.

Chemical oceanographers and marine geochemists study the chemical composition of seawater. They also take a look at the chemical processes of the ocean as it interacts with the seafloor, the atmosphere and marine life, as well as effects of pollution.

Geological oceanographers and geophysicists explore the ocean floor and map submarine geologic structures, giving us insights into earth's history and its interaction and impact on the ocean.

Physical oceanographers
are building a body of knowledge on the properties of the ocean, such as temperature, density, wave motions, tides, and currents. They also are studying the influences of the atmosphere and the ocean floor on the ocean's properties.

Marine and ocean engineers apply scientific and technical knowledge to design, build and help monitor all the instruments, robots, labs, etc., used in the studies as well as use computers for sophisticated modeling.


Find out what an oceanographer looks like - watch the Ocean-Bunch movie!

Learn more about the evolution of oceanography.

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