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{{Info|'''''{{PAGENAME}}''''' ''requires [[Merit Badges Requiring Prior Approval|prior counselor approval]] for requirements #8a, 8c.''}}<br>
{{Info|'''{{PAGENAME}}''' requires [[Merit Badges Requiring Prior Approval|prior counselor approval]] for requirements #8a, 8c.}}
|name= Oceanography
|name= Oceanography

Revision as of 21:32, September 18, 2008

Oceanography requires prior counselor approval for requirements #8a, 8c.
Oceanography merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1964
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 079
Requirements revision: 2004
Latest pamphlet revision: 2003


Oceanography requirements

  1. Name four branches of oceanography. Describe at least five reasons why it is important for people to learn about the oceans.
  2. Define salinity, temperature, and density, and describe how these important properties of seawater are measured by the physical oceanographer. Discuss the circulation and currents of the ocean. Describe the effects of the oceans on weather and climate.
  3. Describe the characteristics of ocean waves. Point out the differences among the storm surge, tsunami, tidal wave, and tidal bore. Explain the difference between sea, swell, and surf. Explain how breakers are formed.
  4. Draw a cross-section of underwater topography. Show what is meant by:
    (a) Continental shelf
    (b) Continental slope
    (c) Abyssal plain
    Name and put on your drawing the following: seamount, guyot, rift valley, canyon, trench, and oceanic ridge. Compare the depths in the oceans with the heights of mountains on land.
  5. List the main salts, gases, and nutrients in sea water. Describe some important properties of water. Tell how the animals and plants of the ocean affect the chemical composition of seawater. Explain how differences in evaporation and precipitation affect the salt content of the oceans.
  6. Describe some of the biologically important properties of seawater. Define benthos, nekton, and plankton. Name some of the plants and animals that make up each of these groups. Describe the place and importance of phytoplankton in the oceanic food chain.
  7. Do ONE of the following:
    (a) Make a plankton net. Tow the net by a dock, wade with it, hold it in a current, or tow it from a rowboat.* Do this for about 20 minutes. Save the sample. Examine it under a microscope or high-power glass. Identify the three most common types of plankton in the sample.
    (b) Make a series of models (clay or plaster and wood) of a volcanic island. Show the growth of an atoll from a fringing reef through a barrier reef. Describe the Darwinian theory of coral reef formation.
    (c) Measure the water temperature at the surface, midwater, and bottom of a body of water four times daily for five consecutive days. You may measure depth with a rock tied to a line. Make a Secchi disk to measure turbidity (how much suspended sedimentation is in the water). Measure the air temperature. Note the cloud cover and roughness of the water. Show your findings (air and water temperature, turbidity) on a graph. Tell how the water temperature changes with air temperature.
    (d) Make a model showing the inshore sediment movement by littoral currents, tidal movement, and wave action. Include such formations as high and low waterlines, low tide terrace, berm, and coastal cliffs. Show how the offshore bars are built up and torn down.
    (e) Make a wave generator. Show reflection and refraction of waves. Show how groins, jetties, and breakwaters affect these patterns.
    (f) Track and monitor satellite images available on the Internet for a specific location for three weeks. Describe what you have learned to your counselor.
  8. Do ONE of the following:
    (a) Write a 500-word report on a book about oceanography approved by your counselor.
    (b) Visit one of the following:
    (1) Oceanographic research ship
    (2) Oceanographic institute, marine laboratory, or marine aquarium
    Write a 500-word report about your visit.
    (c) Explain to your troop in a five minute prepared speech "Why Oceanography Is Important" or describe "Career Opportunities in Oceanography." (Before making your speech, show your speech outline to your counselor for approval.)
  9. Describe four methods that marine scientists use to investigate the ocean, underlying geology, and organisms living in the water.
* May be done in lakes or streams.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Oceanography is available here! Adobe Acrobat PDF
with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need!
Or click here to print just the Oceanography requirements.
meritbadge.org has PDF and DOC versions of
Boy Scout merit badge workbooks, Webelos workbooks,
Cub Scout workbooks, and Nova Award workbooks.
  1. This badge is one of the elective merit badges of the William T. Hornaday Awards for Boy Scouts.

Requirement resources

  • Composition of Seawater - Excellent site for requirements 2 and 5. It gives much detailed information about the oceans including the percentage of elements present in water, salinity/salts, density, dissolved gases, temperature, nutrients, and underwater photosynthesis.
  • Plankton and the Benthos: From Top to Bottom - Good resource for requirement 6. Provides detailed information on the Plankton and Benthos marine groups.
  • Marine Careers - The site says it all. Perfect for option C in requirement 8.

Related awards

See also

Boy Scout portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

  • University of West Florida - One of the leading universities in marine science. Offers undergraduate degrees in Marine Biology, Maritime Studies, and Oceanography; graduate degrees in Biology including specializations in Marine Biology and Coastal Zones.
  • Texas A & M - One of the largest and most well-known unversities that offers degrees and conducts research in the fields of marine science. Offers undergraduate degrees in Ocean Engineering and Biology and minors in Oceanography; graduate degrees in Water Management and Hydrological Science, Fisheries Science, Ocean Engineering, Oceanography, and Biology. It also has a special branch in Galveston, TX that is specifically devoted to the marine sciences.
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