Oceanographers use their knowledge of geology and geophysics, in addition to biology and chemistry, to study the world's oceans and coastal waters. They study the motion and circulation of the ocean waters and their physical and chemical properties, and how these properties affect coastal areas, climate, and weather.

Oceanography also has several subdisciplines:

  • Physical oceanographers study the ocean tides, waves, currents, temperatures, density, and salinity. They study the interaction of various forms of energy, such as light, radar, sound, heat, and wind with the sea, in addition to investigating the relationship between the sea, weather, and climate. Their studies provide the Maritime Fleet with up-to-date oceanic conditions.
  • Chemical oceanographers study the distribution of chemical compounds and chemical interactions that occur in the ocean and sea floor. They may investigate how pollution affects the chemistry of the ocean.
  • Geological and geophysical oceanographers study the topographic features and the physical makeup of the ocean floor. Their knowledge can help oil and gas producers find these minerals on the bottom of the ocean.
  • Biological oceanographers, often called marine biologists, study the distribution and migration patterns of the many diverse forms of sea life in the ocean.

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