Oceanography is the branch of Earth Sciences that study the oceans and seas, including its biological, chemical, physical and geologic processes. This science, also call science of the sea, oceanology or marine science, has undergone a great development in the last years, due to the technological advances and to the great interest of the present time of the marine life and their resources.
The knowledge and observation of the seas have been present from the oldest times. Aristotle and Estrabón registered their observations of the tides. The first modern explorations, realised by geology, only took place in the surfaces and the species were analyzed that fell in the networks of fishermen. The trips of Louis Antoine de Bougainville and James Cook gave valuable information of the South Pacific in the decades of 1760 and 1770. By the end of century XVIII and beginnings of century XIX, James Rennell wrote on the currents of the oceans Atlantic and East Indian. In 1840, James Clark Ross realised the first submarine sounding and by the same time, Charles Darwin published information of reefs and atolls. In 1855, it appeared the first book on oceanography written by Matthew Fontaine Maury.
In 1871, the Royal Society of London recommended the British government to finance an expedition to explore the oceans of the world and to carry out scientific researches. It was in 1872, with the Challenger Expedition de Charles Thompson and John Murray, when oceanography began like a science. The results were written in 50 volumes with biological, physical and geologic information and 4417 new species. In 1910, John Murray and Johan Hjort they realised the most ambitious expedition in the North Atlantic, that took to the classic book of 1912, “the Depths of the Ocean”. More ahead the institutes dedicated to the study of oceanography began to be based. With time many were realised more expeditions than they took to great discoveries. From the decade of 1970, there has been much emphasis in the use of great computers in oceanography for numerical predictions of the oceanic conditions, as well as predictions on environmental changes. At present, the new technology allows to majors submarine reconnaissances and every year new discoveries are realised.
The study of oceanography is divided in branches. The main ones are: Biological oceanography or Marine Biology, that studies the plants, animal and microbes of the oceans and their relation with the environment. Chemical oceanography or Chemical Navy, that studies the chemistry of the oceans and its interaction with the atmosphere. Physical oceanography or Physical Navy, that studies the physical attributes of the oceans as the mixture (molecular diffusion and turbulent of the properties), the waves, the internal waves, the tides of surface and interns, the currents, etc. Geologic Oceanography or Marine Geology, whom the geology of ocean floors studies, including the tectonic plates.
Other branches of this great science include Pelagic Oceanography (it studies biological processes of seas or distant open waters to the coast), Nerítica (it studies the biological processes of the sea near the coast), Bentónica (it studies biological processes of the surface of the ocean floor), Demersal (it studies the biological processes on the marine bottom), Descriptive (it describes to distribution and characteristics of marine waters), Dynamics (it studies the movement of the oceanic water and its causes), Meteorological (it studies interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere), Coastal Processes (studies geomorphology and dynamics of deltas, estuaries, matting, coastal beaches and other bodies), Marine Sedimentología (it studies the transport and deposit of the sediments, erosion and accretion of coastal bodies), Marine Contamination (it studies the alterations in the chemical composition of marine waters by anthropogenic effect).