Oceans cover a majority of the earth. This makes oceanography a field with seemingly endless possibilities for work and discovery. From the study of life underwater to that of water itself, there are several types of oceanography careers.
Geophysicists study the physical properties that make up the earth. This career within oceanography, specifically geological oceanography, deals with the ocean floor. From the rocky coastlines to the deep crevasses in the center of the ocean, there are myriad types of rocks and minerals that can only be found under the sea. There are also many underground volcanoes that allow geophysicists to study how the earth as we know it originally took shape.
Marine biology is one of the more commonly known careers in oceanography. It is also one of the more extensive areas of work in the field. Marine biologists study all life that dwells in the sea, from giant whales to tiny deep-sea organisms. They even work with ocean plant life. Marine biologists not only observe how these forms of life interact with one other, but also try to learn how they affect their surroundings. This allows marine biologists to work with scientists in all the other fields of oceanography.
A marine geochemist focuses on the chemical composition of the waters that make up the oceans and interactions with the elements it comes in contact with. These include the ocean floor, the air near the surface of the water and the molten lava that spews into it. Marine geochemists also play an integral role in the study of any pollution that might affect life in ocean waters, and therefore often work closely with marine biologists.
Physical oceanographers deal specifically with the properties of the ocean itself. This includes everything from water temperatures to the study of tides and ocean movement. Physical oceanographers also observe the density of different parts of the ocean and how light reacts when passing through it. Since the spectrum of properties can be vastly different from one ocean to the next, a physical oceanographer has plenty of information to work with.
More than any other career in oceanography, marine archaeology addresses the study of human involvement with the sea. Marine archaeologists scour the ocean for everything from shipwrecks to ancient pottery to discover traces of human life and learn about previous cultures and their interactions with the ocean. One of the most famous marine archaeologists is Robert Ballard, who discovered the remains of the Titanic in 1985.
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