While there is only one global ocean, the vast body of water that covers 71% of Earth is geographically divided into distinct regions. The United States recognizes five named ocean basins: Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern.
The ocean and large inland lakes play an integral role in many of the Earth's systems, including climate and weather. More than 50% of all species on Earth are found under the ocean and the ocean helps sustain human life above the water by providing 20% of the animal protein and 5% of the total protein in the human diet. In the United States alone, there are over 95,000 miles of shoreline. More than half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of the coast in the narrow area of land known as the "coastal zone."