Spotlight on the Ocean and Water

One Earth, One Ocean

As climate change begins to impact human societies with a fury, and access to fresh water becomes ever more limited, the importance of understanding the ocean and its role in sustaining life on Earth is more important than ever. We live on a water planet, and understanding Earth systems without understanding the one ocean that covers over 70% of its surface is impossible. Throughout the global ocean there is one interconnected circulation system that distributes water, nutrients, organisms and pollutants worldwide.

The ocean makes Earth habitable and is a major influence on weather and climate. Over half the phyla of living things on Earth occur only in the ocean. And yet, the ocean is the last and largest unexplored place on Earth–less than 5% of it has been explored. Hundreds of scientists and science educators around the country have come to consensus about the urgency of research about the ocean and of promoting an ocean literate society. Ocean Literacy is an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you, and your influence on the ocean. An ocean literate person: understands the Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts about the functioning of the ocean; can communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way; and is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources. The scientists and educators here at Cal hope you enjoy the resources we have provided to help you join the Ocean Literacy Campaign!

On Planet Earth there is only one ocean. Let’s take care of it.

Meet Cal Scientists

Why do these Cal scientists study the ocean and water? How does their research relate to our everyday lives? Just click on each picture to find out!

James K.B. Bishop Faculty Senior Scientist Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Inez Fung Professor, Atmospheric Science Co-Director, Berkeley Institute of the Environment Dept. of Earth and Planetary Science
Ashok Gadgil Senior Scientist and Deputy Director (Strategic Planning) Environmental Energy Technologies Division Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering