Planet Ocean

Despite the names "Atlantic" and "Pacific," the ocean is one giant interconnected ecosystem. Learn about the systems that hold it together, from sea ice and volcanoes to currents and chemistry.

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Seamounts, A Deep-Sea Habitat

Thousands of seamounts—most of them undersea volcanoes—tower above the muddy seafloor. They provide something hard to come by in the deep ocean : a solid surface to cling to. This photo gallery shows some...

Seamounts: Underwater Oases

Thousands of seamounts—most of them undersea volcanoes—tower above the muddy seafloor. They provide something hard to come by in the deep ocean: a solid surface to cling to. Corals, sponges, and other marine animals...
Alvin, a human occupied vehicle (HOV), returns to the ship after a dive.

Exploring the Ocean with Robots and Submarines

To explore the deep ocean, scientists rely on numerous pieces of high-tech equipment . This photo gallery showcases some of the remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), submersibles, and other devices that have been used. Read...
Alvin, a human occupied vehicle (HOV), returns to the ship after a dive.

From Submarines to Robots: Exploring the Deep Ocean

Alvin, a human occupied vehicle (HOV), returns to the ship after a deep ocean dive. Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration Filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer James Cameron on March 25, 2012, became the...

Integrated Ocean Drilling Program

Scientists from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) collect sediments drilled from Earth’s crust. This marine research program supported by 24 countries is increasing our understanding of Earth’s history, structure, and changing environment. Learn...

The Ocean Drilling Vessel Chikyu

The Chikyu allows scientists to gather and study data about seafloor sediments as soon as they are collected. After a powerful 9.0 earthquake triggered a devestating tsunami in Japan in March 2011 , Japanese...

Tour the Chikyu

Climb aboard the scientific ocean drilling vessel Chikyu for a tour of this state-of-the-art research ship.

Dr. Jan Backman, Marine Geologist

Drilling near the North Pole, Dr. Jan Backman reveals a brief moment in time when the Arctic was subtropical. More about world climate change can be found in our Climate Change featured story .

The Invisible Loss: The Impacts of Oil You Do Not See

A tiny larval (baby) starfish. Credit: Dr. Allison J. Gong, UC Santa Cruz Since late April, the world has watched a devastating oil spill from a BP drilling rig spread throughout the Gulf of...

The Gulf Oil Spill: Effects on Marine Life

The Deepwater Horizon disaster has imperiled the ecosystem along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Most oil spills have occurred at the ocean surface. This one, originating at the ocean floor and rising up through the...

Census of Marine Life: Wild and Wonderful Creatures

The Census of Marine Life was a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” The international effort to asses the diversity, distribution, and...

Underwater Robots Explore the Ocean

The robotic underwater glider Scarlet Knight crossed the Atlantic over the course of several months in 2009. Credit: Map and Photo provided by Rutgers University A Rutgers freshman Engineering student prepares the Scarlet Knight’s...

Robotic Ocean Explorer

This is the world’s first unmanned, underwater robot—or “glider”—to cross an ocean basin, the pioneering Scarlet Knight . The robotic glider, also known as RU27, can dive to depths of 200 meters (660 feet)...

Receding Ice Cover

See an animation showing over time, the receding of summer sea ice in the Arctic .

Tracking Tsunamis

Tsunamis, giant waves caused by underwater earthquakes, speed across the ocean at 400 miles per hour. Early warning systems, such as NOAA’s DART systems, are key to saving lives. Today, 47 DART stations are...

Submarine Volcanoes Erupting

Did you know that 80 percent of the volcanic eruptions on Earth take place underwater? These underwater eruptions occur regularly, forming new landmasses and providing a living environment for deep-sea creatures . In 2009,...

Submarine Volcanoes and Hydrothermal Vents

Recent scientific discoveries have revealed an underwater community of marine animals and other organisms that thrive in the dark depths of the ocean near hydrothermal vents and undersea volcanoes. This ocean ecosystem is dependent...

Sea Levels on the Move

Through the use of satellites and land survey tools, scientists are learning about the effects of climate change on our ocean. By combining data regarding sea level and land elevation, they can see how...

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