In the past, Oceanography has been divided into four or five main disciplines: Physical Oceanography (or Ocean Physics) – currents, waves, tides, ocean/atmosphere links and interactions, energy input; Marine Biology (or Biological Oceanography) – which encompasses all life in the ocean; Marine Chemistry (or now Marine Biogeochemistry) – a field that investigates nutrients, pollutants, carbon dioxide, and other dissolved chemicals in the ocean; Marine Geology – folk who research aspects of the sea floor and its margins, non living resources such as oil, manganese nodules and such like; Ocean Engineering – designing and manufacturing structures for use in the sea e.g. harbours, oil rigs and the like.
Modern oceanography attempts to undertake cross disciplinary and multi-disciplinary studies. The present profile of staff in the Department tend to align themselves with studies in “physical oceanography and ocean-atmosphere science” and “marine biogeochemistry”. However, there are many cross disciplinary studies being undertaken in the deaprtment.
Ocean tools include satellite remote sensing of the ocean, use of numerical ocean models, and in situ sampling from autonomous vehicles and ships.