Why does NOAA explore the ocean?


All life on Earth – including yours – depends on the ocean. The ocean plays a major role in providing oxygen and regulating the Earth’s temperature, making it livable. The ocean also gives us food, energy and a way to travel and transport materials. Despite this and the fact that it covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean is 95 percent unexplored, unknown, and unseen by human eyes.

NOAA is changing that. We explore the ocean to discover and advance our knowledge. We find new species and new territories for known species on nearly every mission. We discover new resources, and gain a better understanding of ecosystems and the diversity of life so we become better stewards.

NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research works with partners to uncover the many mysteries of the ocean. Past projects have discovered new species, explored amazing underwater volcanoes, visited the world’s most famous shipwreck, and photographed some of the most unusual animals on Earth. Our work has also added to a Census of Marine Life in the Arctic, recruited narwhals as “oceanographers” to measure ocean temperatures, and searched for potential medicines from the sea.

This month’s expert: Christine Patrick, NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

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