Oceanography is an Earth science that studies the ocean.
Oceanography, sometimes referred to as marine science, is an Earth science that studies oceans. Its practitioners, called oceanographers, conduct research on the temperature and current patterns of the ocean, its biodiversity, geology of the sea floor, and water quality. Oceanographers have a number of tools to help them in their work: water samplers, seafloor samplers, plant and animal collecting devices, floats and drifters, and shipboard laboratories
Water sampling devices can range from a bucket dropped overboard to large water bottles sent hundreds or even thousands of meters toward the seafloor on a wire. Probably the most widely used water sampler is a CTD/rosette, whose framework is designed to carry up to 36 sampling bottles, ranging from 1.2 to 30 liters in volume). Depending on the depth of the water, a standard rosette/CTD cast requires 2 to 5 hours of station time.
Scientists gather seafloor rocks by towing a dredge made of a chain bag and steel box. More precise sampling can be achieved by using a submersible equipped with robotic arms or a remotely operated vehicle with television in order for the area where the rock is found to be described in detail.
Plant and Animal Collecting Devices
Collecting nets are used to collect plants and animals. They come in a wide array of sizes. The small ones, maybe a meter long, can be towed briefly in the near-surface waters. The biggest multiple opening-closing nets consist of a great metal frame that can carry as many as 20 nets.
Floats and Drifters
Floats and drifters constitute another tool that is used in oceanography. They can be weighted to become neutrally buoyant at a certain depth, where they can drift in the current, emitting periodic sounds. These sounds are later tracked by special receivers, which provide clues to the ocean current patterns. This information is also important for understanding how the ocean transports water tracers and pollutants.
The heart of a research voyage is the main lab, or laboratory, where plans are made, samples prepared and analyzed, important data gathered and processed, and an occasional party held.
The laboratory is seldom a tidy place; the lab configuration often changes completely from one voyage to the next, and sampling containers, wires, computers, tools and analytical instruments crowd every available square inch.