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Oceanographers use science, mathematics and engineering to explain the complex interactions between seawater, fresh water, polar ice caps and the biosphere. They study the sea and all its different facets such as marine life, the sea floor, ocean currents and the physical and chemical composition of the water. They may also be concerned with the air above the ocean.
There are four main areas of oceanography, these are;
Marine Biology - Biological oceanographers and marine biologists are concerned with the study of marine animals and plants,
Marine Chemistry - Chemical oceanographers and marine chemists study the composition of seawater, its cycles and processes, and the chemical interaction of seawater with the atmosphere and sea floor. They also study the behaviour of pollutants.
Marine Geology - Geological oceanographers and marine geologists explore the ocean floor and the processes that form its mountains, valleys and canyons.
Marine Physics - Physical oceanographers and marine physicists study the physical processes and conditions within the ocean such as waves, currents, eddies, gyres and tides, coastal erosion, and the interactions of the ocean and the atmosphere. They are also concerned with the study of water temperature and density.
All of these disciplines are heavily intertwined and oceanographers frequently work in multidisciplinary teams.
Oceanography is used in ocean engineering, commercial or scientific ventures involving the construction of oil platforms, ships and harbours. Employers can include government agencies and meteorological offices, offshore gas and oil companies, civil engineering and offshore or coastal construction firms and manufacturers of marine instruments. Oceanographers are also employed by universities and research institutes.
Oceanographers may spend time in an office or laboratory or office collating and analysing data. Field work is also frequently required, either from the seashore or a field trip to sea, perhaps lasting for over 6 weeks.