17 April, 2012

A-Z Blogging Challenge: Oceanography

Autonomous underwater vehicle, by StifynTonna, CC-BY-SA-3.0. SOURCE.
Oceanography (sometimes called oceanology) is the study of the world's oceans, including the life they support, their physical and chemical characteristics, the ocean floors, and exploration of the oceans.

The history of the field began with early explorers such as Captain James Cook, who mapped coastlines and explored the Great Barrier Reef. Another figure (though more well known for his theory of evolution) who contributed significant early research was Charles Darwin, who published a paper about coral reefs and atoll formation.

There are four branches of oceanography: physical oceanography (the temperature, density, pressure, and other properties of seawater), chemical oceanography (the composition and biogeochemical processes that affect it), marine geology (the structure and evolution of ocean basins), and marine ecology (also called biological oceanography; it is the study of ocean-dwelling plants and animals). There is also Ocean Engineering, which involves the design and manufacture of objects to be used in water. The overall field of oceanography incorporates biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, and physics.

Information about currents, waves, ocean fronts, and variations in magnetic and gravitational fields are taken using special instruments, with recent technology such as satellites taking over for observations that were formerly made from aircraft, buoys, and ships; satellites are also capable of  mapping the ocean surface, currents, waves, winds, phytoplankton levels, sea ice, rainfall, and sea surface temperature. Autonomous undersea vehicles (or AUVs) are another type of machine used that does not require people to be out on the water. Many measurements are now electronic, and probes that can test chemical and biological factors are being used and developed.

Public domain image. SOURCE.
Notable Oceanographer:

Gene Carl Feldman

Gene Carl Feldman is an oceanographer who has been at NASA since 1985. His projects have included sea turtle conservation, the production, archival, and distribution of satellite data, SeaWiFS (Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor, which aimed to provide information on ocean color, or its "bio-optical properties"), hydrothermal vents, exploring the Kaikoura Canyon in New Zealand, and underwater dives. He has been part of programs involving the BBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Society, Cousteau Society, Smithsonian, and PBS, and he created the JASON Project with Robert Ballard, another oceanographer.

Video with Gene Carl Feldman talking about the Galapagos Islands and oceanography:




What's your favorite ocean or ocean-going animal? And just for speculation, do you think humans will ever live underwater, or at least develop the technology to do so?

***And I meant to mention this yesterday, but The Eagle's Aerial Perspective REACHED 1000+ FOLLOWERS! Rest assured, there will be a proper celebration post once the A-Z Challenge is over.***

-----The Golden Eagle


Deepali said...

OOh nice! Especially intereting topic as James Cameroon made all the news lately with his newest deepest underwater dive.

Jaye Robin Brown said...

I grew up on the Gulf of Mexico so am partial to that body of water. As for sea creatures, I'm partial to seahorses, crabs, and shrimp - Nemo anthropomorphized them all for me!

Em-Musing said...

My fav body of water is the Caribbean. I live on the Rivera Maya in Akumal, Mexico. It's a major dive center of the world. I've yet to take the plunge, but I can still enjoy the dolphins from the terra firma.

Old Kitty said...

No!! I don't want humans living under water - leave this one place to the creatures already there please! It's enough we pollute their home and hunt them to extinction. Ahem. Well it's true! But yay for Oceanography people for trying to understand this natural beauty! Take care

Jamie Gibbs said...

I find this fascinating, especially considering that we know so little of what lies beneath the surface.

Fellow A-Z Buddy
Doing a monumental blog catch-up
Mithril Wisdom

Ciara said...

I think Wales are majestic creatures, but I grew up around dive boats so I'm partial to swimming with dolphins in the wild.

running4him said...

Cool!! I entertained the idea of becoming an oceanographer for a while, but opted out of it.

noiln said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jay Noel said...

We still haven't explored the ocean. It's just amazing how we keep making new discoveries down there. It's like a whole separate universe.

L.G.Smith said...

Sea turtle conservation is a favorite subject. One of my goals in life is to go to a beach somewhere and help release baby turtles into the sea.

Also, I think it would have been incredible to have been an oceanographer in Darwin's day. All that discovery of new species and places!

cleemckenzie said...

We're fortunate to have oceanographers to help us understand and value one of our most precious assets on the planet.

As to the sea creature I'm most fond of, I guess I'd have to go with the dolphin. Although, that reclusive squid fascinates me.

cleemckenzie said...

I meant to add, yes. I think it's highly possible we will be able to live under the sea at some point in the future.

Pat Hatt said...

Knew this subject too. Yeah we will prob live under the water at some point. Favorite creature is Nessie of course..haha

The Beans said...

I suddenly feel smarter from reading your blog posts. :)

My favorite sea creatures are the Lion fish and the Clown fish. I stress that I liked the latter *prior* to the "Finding Nemo" film and am still waiting for Santa Claus to bring me the one he still owes me from a Christmas over 15 years ago. :P

(And congratulations on the 1,000 followers! Wow!)

-Barb the French Bean

Shallee said...

The ocean and ocean sciences have always fascinated me. I've loved dolphins for as long as I can remember!

I don't know if humans will ever live underwater, but it's fun to think about!

Charlie Holmberg said...

Thinking about oceans is almost as fascinating to me as outer space. Sort of the wonder-terror feeling. I think it would be so cool to go out on a ship to the deep sea, or a submarine, but I would be scared stiff doing either!

And blue whale. Hello, those are awesome.

I know there's an under-water restaurant... somewhere. I want to say Hawaii, but I'm not sure. But I doubt mankind will put much effort into under-water living anytime in the foreseeable future.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

NASA and sea turtle preservation - never would've put the two together.

S. L. Hennessy said...

I secretly used to want to be an oceanographer. Or marine biologist. Mostly just because I love the ocean.

Clarissa Draper said...

My favourite is the Manatee. Is that in the ocean? I think so.

M Pax said...

Oceanography fascinates me as much as space exploration. Great article you put together, Eagle. :)

Rhia Roberts said...

If we do live underwater I hope it's in a pretty part of the world (the Great Barrier Reef springs to mind)

Rhia from http://Dr-Rhia.com/blog

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I bet you're a fan of James Cameron and his exploits to the bottom of the sea.

David P. King said...

Man. This post makes me homesick. What I'd give to crash into some waves right about now. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I don't think people will ever live under the water. I love the Pacific Ocean.

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats for 1000 followers!!

That's awesome about oceanography. One of my favorite ocean creatures is the manatee. I think they're fascinating since they can go from salt water to fresh water and such.

Brian said...

Well I think I would really like to see an ocean!

A Quiet Corner said...

I THINK (I use the term loosely) that I would love to live underwater...so peaceful, serene..way down deep of course...because I get sea sick! LOL!!!...:)JP

Jemi Fraser said...

The ocean is an incredible place. I once considered trying to follow in Jacques Cousteau's footsteps - such a fascinating career!

mshatch said...

I don't have a favorite ocean. I love them all and can't imagine not living near one. And I think we could easily develop the technology to live beneath the sea. Think of the movie The Abyss and how long ago that came out.

E.D. said...

I think whales are fascinating - but I hope humans don't move under water. All we'd cause is trouble.

Rusty Webb said...

1000? Wow. Congrats to you. I hate to be a homer, but I'm a big fan of sea mammals.

Then again, anything with a big, problem solving brain is going to be a favorite of mine, like the Cuttlefish, Octopus or Squid. Really smart critters.

But on the other hand, sea urchins have spines of silicon... that's pretty exotic. How does crazy stuff like that happen?

Anonymous said...

I'd say dolphins are my favorite ocean animal.

I think we'll be able to live underwater one day.

DWei said...

Congrats on hitting 1000 followers! I don't even have half that number yet. :\

Marine Biologist counts as being similar to an oceanographer right? I used to want to be one.

Cheryl Klarich said...

Love looking at the ocean. Boat rides are nice, but I would not want to live under the sea.

I love dolphins.

cherie said...

Congrats on reaching 1K followers! Woot! So awesome.

I once considered becoming a marine biologist when I was trying to choose my college major. I grew up near the ocean so I've always loved it. But alas, it wasn't meant to be.

Trisha said...

I would love to be an oceanographer...but sadly my brain doesn't work that way ;)

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Congrats on your landmark! I don't think humans will ever live or have communities under water, but I did enjoy your detailed and well researched post!

This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.

Duncan In Kuantan

Anonymous said...

Congrats on 1K+ GE. You deserve it.

Whales fascinate me. Have been on a few whale watching boat days. Great experience.

The Golden Eagle said...

Deepali: Yup. And Richard Branson (another one of the uber-rich and famous . . .) is planning to do so as well.

Jaye: I've never really watched Finding Nemo. I sat through maybe the first half hour and don't remember the rest.

Em-Musing: Wow. It must be amazing to live in a place like that. :)

Old Kitty: Great point. Humans have a habit of destroying the place they live . . . though hopefully by the time we developed such technology we'd wise up. Probably not, of course.

Jamie: The oceans are one of the remaining frontiers. :)

Ciara: I love whales! I recently watched a three-part documentary by PBS's Nature about them, and it was fascinating.

Running4him: That would have been an interesting career.

Jay: It is! Hard to imagine that so much of life is underwater and we see so little . . .

L.G.: I'd love to do that. :) I've held a baby turtle before, but only one of the common terrestrial species (box turtle or something like that).

Cleemckenzie: Definitely!

If we ever do, I know I'd love to be one of the first to do so . . . that, or travel into space. ;)

Pat: LOL. I just read a Science Fiction book that treated Nessie as real.

Barb: Well, that's good. :)

Those are cool fish. Lion fish can be beautiful--and clown fish are very colorful.

Thank you!

Shallee: They're very smart animals.

It is!

Charlie: Me, too. Though I like to think I'd still take the chance, if it was offered. (Not that it will be, of course, unless I turn into James Cameron or Richard Branson.)

Really? I didn't know that!

Alex: It's an unlikely combination!

S. L.: It's an amazing part of Earth. :)

Clarissa: Manatees are indeed ocean going--hence there alternative name of sea cows.

M: Thank you! :)

Rhia: Imagine waking up and looking out your window at the Great Barrier Reef. Providing that we didn't destroy it with pollution, rising sea temperatures, and direct physical damage . . .

Michael: It's certainly interesting. I just wish that they could have done it without the billionaires (probably impossible, but still).

David: Aw, it's too bad you can't!

Susan: It's one of the most unexplored. :)

Cherie: Thanks!

Yup--there are few larger animals that can do it as often as they do.

Brian: I've only seen it a few times--and that at a distance--but it was impressive, that's for sure. :)

A Quiet Corner: I've never been on a boat, so I have no idea if I get seasick or not--but I bet it would be easier for many people if a colony didn't move around.

The Golden Eagle said...

Jemi: He was brilliant!

Mshatch: I've never seen The Abyss. I guess from the title that they go really far underwater and stay there for a while. :P

E.D.: Sadly, that seems more than likely.

Rusty: Thank you. :)

Yeah; the footage of octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish doing and understanding things is pretty amazing.

Evolution? However it happens, it certainly comes up with some striking results!

Medeia: Dolphins seem to be popular. :)

DWei: Thanks!

I'm sure you will get 1000 followers, if you keep blogging. Your blog is awesome. :)

Marine biology is one of the many sub-fields of oceanography--and biology too, of course!

Cheryl: I've never been on a boat. One more thing to get around to, at some point. :)

Cherie: Thank you!

But I suppose as a writer you could always make up a story about it.

Trisha: It's a really interesting field.

Duncan: Thank you.

I'm glad you enjoyed the post! :)

Stuart: Thanks!

I want to go whale watching someday. I've never actually seen a whale in the wild; just a few in aquariums/zoos.

Victor said...

Hello Eagle! I'm Victor the guinea pig. Please don't eat me. We saw eagles on the Isle of Mull. Mummy said they saw us but they saw her too. I wanted to tell you Mummy studied Oceanography so it must be cool. I think my buddy George would have liked your blog. Come and see us sometime. I'm doing A to Z of food, but Mummy is writing about her books.
I like your blog too.
Victor xx

The Golden Eagle said...

Victor: Hi there!

I would never eat a guinea pig. I love them--in a non-predatory, non-food way. :)

I'll definitely come over and visit your blog--I've never read a blog by a guinea pig before.