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Learn more about these OCEAN and COASTAL RESEARCH areas...


Ocean, Great Lakes and Coastal Research

A view of our world from space suggests that earth is very much a water planet. Our oceans comprise an astonishing 70 percent of the earth's surface, lending our planet its vibrant blue hue. Yet, we are only beginning to understand how unique our oceans are. More than a century of oceanographic research has revealed that oceans play a critical role in regulating earth's weather and climate, house extraordinarily diverse plants and animals, provide food and medicines, and significantly influence the creation and ever-changing appearance of our coastlines. However, we are still paddling at the surface of this immense resource. Knowledge of the oceans, their resources and their relationship to human activities is vital to our society — and to our planets existence.

NOAA Research, in cooperation with its research partners, explores and investigates ocean habitats and resources. We provide scientific results to help manage and understand fisheries, conserve and protect our coasts, and build a stronger economy through marine products and businesses, such as biotechnology and sustainable aquaculture. We also look for changes in the oceans due to natural and human activities.


Waves pound against a rugged shoreline in this marine sanctuary.

"Inspired by their majesty and mystery, we depend on our oceans and their coasts, not just for pleasure and food—although these uses are central—but also as a counterweight to extremes of heat and cold on land, as a sponge for absorbing excess carbon, and as a generator of life-giving oxygen. Although we often view the ocean as starting where the land ends, that separation is arbitrary. Land and oceans are part of the same global system. Activities on one profoundly affect the other."