Count down to World Ocean Day with our new Ocean Literacy graphics

June is National Ocean Month! The ocean is the defining feature on our blue planet. All life, including our own, exists because of the ocean.

Want to learn more about all the wonders of the ocean? The Ocean Literacy Framework offsite link includes the essential principles and fundamental concepts of ocean science that you can use to better understand the ocean’s influence on you — and your influence on the ocean. Check back daily as we count down to World Ocean Day by debuting a new graphic for each of the seven Ocean Literacy Principles!

Jump to:

#7 The ocean is largely unexplored.

#6 The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.

#5 The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.

#4 The ocean makes Earth habitable.

#3 The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.

#2 The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.

#1 Earth has one big ocean with many features.

 


#7: The ocean is largely unexplored.

An underwater graphic of a diver searching the ocean with a flashlight, a submarine with a school of fish, a sunken ship, a deep sea angler fish, and a hydrothermal vent. At the surface of the ocean is a large research vessel and a buoy with a satellite in the sky.
Ocean Literacy Principle #7: The ocean is largely unexplored. (Kaleigh Ballantine, Oregon State University for NOAA Education)

Despite all of the tools and technologies we have for studying the ocean — ships, satellites, submersibles, scuba, and more — more than 80% of our ocean is unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored. Ocean exploration is not only an opportunity for interdisciplinary innovation and discovery, but also the key to sustaining ocean resources in the face of increasing pressure from humans worldwide. Learn more about Ocean Literacy Principle #7 offsite link.


#6: The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.

A graphic of land with houses and an industrial building on the water’s edge. In the water is a boat and offshore wind turbines. The graphic is surrounded by human hands encompassing the scene.
Ocean Literacy Principle #6: The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected. (Kaleigh Ballantine, Oregon State University for NOAA Education)

The ocean sustains human life on many levels: it moderates the climate, supports jobs and economies, and is a source of cultural heritage for people around the world. But human activities are also impacting the ocean on many levels. Individual and collective actions are needed to manage and protect these resources for all. Learn more about Ocean Literacy Principle #6 offsite link.


#5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.

A graphic of a spiral featuring different forms of ocean life, including phytoplankton, shrimp, crabs, squid, sharks, octopuses, and more.
Ocean Literacy Principle #5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems. (Kaleigh Ballantine, Oregon State University for NOAA Education)

The ocean is the largest living space on Earth, home to creatures ranging in size from microbes to blue whales. Variations in physical conditions like light and temperature create many different habitats across the global ocean. There are coral reefs, which are home to some of the most abundant life on the planet, some open ocean areas with relatively few species, and deep sea hydrothermal vents that rely on chemicals, rather than the sun, for energy. Learn more about Ocean Literacy Principle #5 offsite link.


#4: The ocean makes Earth habitable.

 A graphic of three ocean scenes brought together into one circle. The top left scene depicts a prehistoric fish crawling onto land and a living ammonite. The top right scene depicts nutrients and oxygen within the water. The bottom scene depicts fossils in sediment layers and nutrients in the water column.
Ocean Literacy Principle #4: The ocean makes Earth habitable. (Kaleigh Ballantine, Oregon State University for NOAA Education)

Hundreds of millions of years ago, early photosynthetic life forms in the ocean transformed our planet, converting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into oxygen. This change made it possible for Earth to support life as we know it. The ocean continues to provide essential ingredients for life on land and at sea, including water, oxygen, and other nutrients. Learn more about Ocean Literacy Principle #4 offsite link.


#3: The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.

 A graphic of the ocean, sun, sky, and rain clouds connected into a hurricane-like symbol. Specs in the water indicate other molecules, like carbon.
Ocean Literacy Principle #3: The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate. (Kaleigh Ballantine, Oregon State University for NOAA Education)

The next time you feel a raindrop, consider this: Most of the rain that falls on land originally evaporated from the tropical ocean. No matter where you are, the ocean has a significant influence on weather and climate by absorbing, storing, and moving heat, carbon, and water around the planet. Learn more about Ocean Literacy Principle #3 offsite link.


#2: The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.

A graphic of an ocean wave hitting a coastal cliff. Fossils are depicted in the eroding cliff and sediment floats in the water.
Ocean Literacy Principle #2: The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth. (Kaleigh Ballantine, Oregon State University for NOAA Education)

Land at the edge of the sea is always changing. The ocean erodes coastlines, transports sediment, and shapes continents. Many of the sedimentary rocks we see on land are made up of life forms that lived and died in the ocean millions of years ago. For example, limestone forms at the bottom of the ocean and is made in part by shells left by dead marine animals. Learn more about Ocean Literacy Principle #2 offsite link.


#1: Earth has one big ocean with many features.

A graphic of the Earth with illustrated ocean currents on the surface of the ocean. Some currents are red, depicting warmer currents, and others are blue, depicting colder currents.
Ocean Literacy Principle #1: Earth has one big ocean with many features. (Kaleigh Ballantine, Oregon State University for NOAA Education)

If you could watch planet Earth rotate from space, there’d be a time each day where nearly all you could see beneath the clouds would be blue ocean water. After all, approximately 70% of the surface of our planet is covered by the ocean. This year, World Ocean Day “dropped the s offsite link” to emphasize that we don’t have several “oceans,” only one. We are all connected to ONE ocean, ONE climate, ONE future — together. Learn more about Ocean Literacy Principle #1 offsite link.