The 7 Things Absolutely Everyone Should Know About the Ocean

Raising Awareness of the Fundamental Importance of the Ocean

The Ocean Agency

Photo Ocean Image Bank / Yen-Yi Lee

Spotted Eagle Ray by Francois Baelen / Ocean Image Bank and The Ocean AgencyThe Ocean Agency

These facts are inspired by the UN Ocean Literacy Principles

Ocean Decade Exhibition by Aanish PeshaveThe Ocean Agency

1. The ocean makes our planet habitable

Our ocean couldn't be more important — it makes life on Earth possible. The earliest evidence of life as we know it has been found in the ocean. The ocean also acts as the planet’s life support system, providing necessary water and oxygen and stabilizing global temperatures.

Ocean Decade Exhibition by Tim HelouThe Ocean Agency

2. The ocean regulates the climate and the weather

The ocean has been protecting us from the worst impacts of climate change. The ocean absorbs about 93% of the excess heat caused by climate change. Scientists estimate that if the ocean wasn't doing this job, the average surface temperature would be over 50°C (122°F).

Ocean Decade Exhibition by Umut RecberThe Ocean Agency

3. Humans are entirely dependent on a healthy ocean

The ocean provides food and livelihoods for billions of people, providing oxygen and water as well as other less obvious ways such as certain medicines. 

Children swimming in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Fabrice Dudenhofer / Ocean Image Bank, From the collection of: The Ocean Agency
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Paddle boarders over a reef, Grant Thomas / Ocean Image Bank, The Ocean Agency, From the collection of: The Ocean Agency
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Fisher in Alor, Indonesia, Erik Lukas / Ocean Image Bank, From the collection of: The Ocean Agency
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Ocean Decade Exhibition by Keronix RazeThe Ocean Agency

4. The ocean is home to the vast majority of animals

Life evolved in the ocean and it's still where most animal life on Earth can be found. 78% of all animal biomass lives in the marine environment. What's more, scientists have estimated that 91% of the ocean's species have yet to even be classified.

Humpback whales, Reunion Island, Francois Baelen / Ocean Image Bank, The Ocean Agency, From the collection of: The Ocean Agency
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School of fish, Papua New Guinea, Jayne Jenkins / Ocean Image Bank, The Ocean Agency, From the collection of: The Ocean Agency
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Leopard shark, Ningaloo Reef, Australia, Jake Wilton / Ocean Image Bank, The Ocean Agency, From the collection of: The Ocean Agency
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Ocean Decade Exhibition by Ocean Decade Exhibition / Tim HelouThe Ocean Agency

5. Over 80% of the ocean remains unexplored

Although the ocean covers more than 70% of the planet’s surface and impacts the lives of every living thing on Earth, much of it remains unexplored. Research shows that over 80% of the ocean is yet to be mapped — or explored at all — by humans.

Blanket Octopus, Mike Bartick / Ocean Image Bank, The Ocean Agency, From the collection of: The Ocean Agency
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Chromodoris lochi, Erik Lukas / Ocean Image Bank, From the collection of: The Ocean Agency
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Eastern Fiddler Ray, Australia, Jordan Robins / Ocean Image Bank, The Ocean Agency, From the collection of: The Ocean Agency
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Pygmy seahorses, OceanImageBank / David P. Robinson, From the collection of: The Ocean Agency
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Ocean Decade Exhibition by Hüseyin SahinThe Ocean Agency

6. Our world is shaped by the ocean and ocean life

For millions of years, the ocean has shaped our terrestrial world. From carving mountains to forming islands, it works at an epic scale. It's something we should remember now more than ever - the ocean is the world's biggest carbon sink, making it key to solving climate change.

Ocean Decade Exhibition by Hansruedi RamsauerThe Ocean Agency

7. There is only one ocean

The ocean is the planet's life support system. Although the ocean is divided into five regions (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Southern Oceans) — it's actually one body of water that connects us globally. What happens to the ocean in one location can impact anywhere else. 

Turtle on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia by Jordan Robins / Ocean Image Bank and The Ocean AgencyThe Ocean Agency

Find out more

Find out more about Our Incredible Ocean in our Creative Communication Toolkit. 


Dive into the Ocean Toolkit

Credits: Story

Artwork from the Ocean Decade Exhibition generously created by Aanish Peshave, Keronix Raze, Hansreudi Ramsauer, Hüseyin Sahin, Tim Helou, and Umut Recber. 

Visit Ocean Decade Exhibition for more on our work for the UN Ocean Decade.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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