What is the Ocean?

The ocean is a large body of salt water that covers 70% of Earth’s surface and contains 97 percent of the world’s water. The ocean is a vital part of our planet and plays an important role in the lives of every living thing on it. It is also a source of energy, food, and transport for humans and other animals. Scientists are constantly learning more about the ocean and its incredible biodiversity, but even with all we know now, 80 percent of the ocean has never been mapped or explored by human beings. National Geographic Explorer Marcello Calisti works to design robots that can travel through the seafloor like octopuses do, and his goal is to eventually reach the most remote parts of our world’s oceans.

The word “ocean” comes from the Latin oceanus, meaning ‘great sea’ or ‘large lake’. People have used the ocean for thousands of years as a place to travel and trade, but today’s oceans are in trouble because of human activities. It is time to take action to save our oceans, and it starts with each one of us.

There are many words that can be used in place of ocean, but these words have similar meanings or related meanings:

water that covers a large area of the Earth, including all inland seas and rivers that connect to it.

a large and deep body of water.

a region of the Earth’s surface covered by an icy layer, especially an Antarctic basin.

the largest and deepest sea or river, with a continental shelf that reaches down to the sea floor.

an icy layer on the surface of a body of water, such as the Arctic Ocean.

a warm current that rises from the Gulf of Mexico and travels along the eastern coast of the United States.

any area of a body of water with an abundance of plankton.

the rocky outer layer of the Earth or other celestial bodies, including moons.

a group of organisms, such as plants or animals, that live in the same habitat or ecosystem.

an adaptation that allows a species to better survive or thrive in its environment.

a system of interconnected bodies of water that carries nutrients and waste from one place to another.

the force that causes waves to ebb and flow across the surface of a body of water.

The path of ocean currents is partly determined by the effect of Earth’s rotation, which is known as the Coriolis effect. This causes large systems, such as winds and ocean currents, that would otherwise move in a straight line, to veer to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere.

People can help protect our oceans by not contributing to pollution and overfishing. They can also reduce their carbon footprint by using less water and energy, choosing sustainable seafood, buying greener products, and getting involved in clean up efforts at the beach and in their communities. Educating themselves about the ocean and marine life can also make a difference.

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