Skip to content
For WHOI personnel, vendors, and visitors: COVID-19 Guidelines

Ocean Topics

The ocean matters

The ocean covers more than two-thirds of Earth's surface, it makes life as we know it possible, and it sustains human society. Yet the global ocean is largely unexplored and unknown. What we do learn never ceases to amaze or to provoke more questions. These topics will help you begin to explore the ocean and its vital importance to Earth and everything that lives on it.

Climate & Ocean

The ocean plays a central role in global climate and regional weather patterns, including droughts, rainstorms, and hurricanes.

Coastal Science

Although the oceans cover most of Earth, the the tiny sliver of the coastal ocean greatly influences, and is most influenced by, human activity.


Our ocean planet is dynamic and constantly changing, sometimes resulting in dramatic threats to humans.

Ocean Chemistry

The understanding of chemistry in the ocean is critical because changes can influence marine life, and in turn, human life.

Ocean Circulation

Ocean currents and water properties play large roles in Earth's climate and ecosystems.

Ocean Resources

The global ocean provides food, minerals, and other valuable resources for human use.

Polar Research

The polar regions are experiencing unprecedented environmental changes that have significant potential impacts on global climate, ecosystems, and society.


Oil spills, discarded chemicals, and leaky engines are burdens to the ocean and those who try to clean it.

Seafloor & Below

From plate tectonics to underwater mountain ranges spanning the globe, the seafloor and below encompasses a large field.

Tools & Technology

Researchers use a variety of instruments and tools to sample and study the ocean.

Underwater Archaeology

Wreckage of ships and airplanes underwater are difficult to find, survey, and study.