Explore what lies beneath the oceans

Oceanography, the science involved in the study of oceans is a relatively young discipline, shaped by a continual flow of exciting discoveries. It looks at all aspects of the ocean, their boundaries and their continents.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2006 12:27 IST

Oceanography, the science involved in the study of oceans is a relatively young discipline, shaped by a continual flow of exciting discoveries. It looks at all aspects of the ocean, their boundaries and their continents.

To be more specific, oceanography is the study of the seas, its coastline, estuaries, coastal waters, shelves and the ocean bed. Being a profession that is highly technology oriented, it offers immense scope for those specialising in different scientific disciplines like Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Meteorology and Physics.

Oceanography is today of great significance to developing countries. A career in this area is really a challenging one and it provides opportunities to those with intrinsic curiosity and a desire to venture into the vast unexplored realm within our oceans.

Oceanographers apply the basic sciences to study the world’s oceans and coastal waters. They study the motion and circulation of the ocean waters and their physical and chemical properties, and how these properties affect coastal areas, climate, and weather. Often, they are chemists, physicists, biologists, or geologists who bring their special skills to ocean studies.

Oceanography offers opportunities in the following fields-
Biological Oceanographers and Marine Biologists study the flora and fauna of the oceans, what controls their numbers and kinds. They examine how marine organisms develop, relate to one another and adapt to their environment.

Chemical Oceanographers and Marine Chemists study the composition of seawater, its processes and cycles, and the chemical interaction of seawater with the atmosphere and seafloor and organisms.

Geological Oceanographers and Marine Geologists explore the ocean floor and the processes that lead to the formation of mountains, canyons, and valleys. They look at millions of years of history of the seafloor, plate tectonics, and oceanic circulation and climates. They also examine undersea volcanic processes, mantle circulation, hydrothermal circulation, magma genesis, and crustal formation.

Physical Oceanographers study the physical conditions and physical processes within the ocean such as waves, currents, eddies, gyres and tides; the transport of sand on and off beaches; coastal erosion; and, the interactions of the atmosphere and the ocean.

Marine and Ocean Engineers design and build many specialised technologies for exploring the ocean. Their work involves the use of seafloor instruments, vehicles, remote-sensing systems, and designing marine structures that can withstand ocean currents, waves, tides, and severe storms.
Sub-fields include robotics, electrical, mechanical, civil and chemical engineering, and naval architecture.

Being essentially a research–oriented profession, long periods are spent at the sea with all its challenges and hazards. But this is well compensated for by the vast learning opportunities for those curious enough to delve into the unknown of the deep blue.

Eligibility :
Those with graduation in pure science can go for a course in oceanography. In almost all cases mathematics is required as well.

Job Prospects and Career Options:
Those with right qualification can get employment in public sector, private sector and various governmental establishments as a scientist, engineer or a technician.

Remuneration :
The starting salary after your post graduation can be in the range of Rs 8,000. ART BOX
Ready to plunge?
The following institutes offer courses in Oceanography
• Berhampur University, Bhanja Bihar, Berhampur, Orissa
• Utkal University, Vanvihar, Bhubaneshwar
• Andhra Pradesh University, Waltair, Andhra Pradesh
• Mangalore University, University Campus, Mangala Gangothri, Karnataka
• University of Madras, Centenary Building, Chepauk, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
• Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala
• Goa University, Teleigao Plateau, Goa

First Published: Mar 21, 2006 11:54 IST