Essentials of Oceanography, 13th Edition © 2020

A bestselling book in the market, Essentials of Oceanography, published by Pearson, has developed an integrated and immersive approach that engages students through approachable and digestible pedagogy with online resources available to support learning.

  • New Creature Feature provides fun facts about marine animals
  • Emphasis on the process of science
  • Tools to help students practice data interpretation
  • This program is accompanied by Pearson’s Mastering® platform with eText

High School Oceanography Program with Digital Resources

Introduce students to the study of oceans and marine life while deepening their scientific thinking skills.


Equip Students to Think Like a Scientist

Process of Science features help students understand how scientists think and work. Scientific methods and results are taught clearly through their connections to oceanographic inquiry.


Students Grasp Key Concepts with Concise Content

Chapters are structured to open with a list of learning objectives and close with a review so students retain and build upon their skills and knowledge throughout the course.


Bring Oceanography to Life for Better Engagement

New Creature Features create greater interest for students with a compelling “Who Am I?” format and intriguing facts about marine life.


Help Students Achieve Mastery In Class and at Home

The Mastering® platform from Pearson allows teachers and students to make fuller use of their time and technology, with the purpose of helping students achieve true understanding.

High School Oceanography Teaching Solutions

  • Develop Students’ Critical Thinking Skills
  • Providing Focus on Takeaways
  • Bring Oceanography to Life
  • Exploring Data Features
    Exploring Data features embed data interpretation questions directly within the captions of figures such as graphs and maps.
  • Chapter-Specific Activities
    Mastering® Oceanography activities associated to Exploring Data are available for each chapter.
  • SmartTables
    SmartTables use a selected dataset to create engaging videos that detail that data’s relevance.
  • Concepts in Review
    Concepts in Review is an end-of-chapter feature that coordinates with Focus on Concepts. This feature provides a concise overview of key ideas by using photos, diagrams, and questions that test students’ understanding of core concepts.
  • Give It Some Thought Questions
    Give It Some Thought questions and problems, relating back to each chapter’s learning objectives, challenge learners by involving them in activities that require higher-order thinking skills such as synthesis, analysis, and application.
  • Recaps
    Recaps are placed throughout the chapters to clarify essential concepts and direct students’ studies and reviews.
  • Essential Learning Concepts
    Essential Learning Concepts provide a list of learning objectives and a roadmap to teaching a chapter’s essential concept.
  • Concept Check Questions
    Concept Check Questions help students discover whether they’ve understood the Essential Learning Concept before moving to the next section.
  • Essential Concept Reviews
    Essential Concepts Reviews at the end of each chapter simplify the study process through summarization and highlighting key figures, along with study resources, Critical Thinking Questions, and Active Learning Exercises.
  • SmartFigures
    25 new and revised SmartFigures have been added to the collection of 3- to 4-minute video lessons. In each one, oceanography experts explain difficult concepts and data.
  • QR Codes
    Students can scan QR codes that appear with the SmartFigures or enter a short URL to access more information available through the artwork and data tables.

Take a Deeper Look at Essentials of Oceanography



Get to know Essentials of Oceanography with Mastering® Oceanography with Pearson eText.

Online Platform for your Oceanography Program

Mastering® from Pearson provides teachers and students online access for homework, tutorials, and assessments to improve class results.

Next Generation Science Standards

Our solutions are designed to support and correlate to the Next Generation Science Standards.

View Correlation

More About This Program

  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction to Planet "Earth"

    1.1 How Are Earth's Oceans Unique?

    1.2 How Was Early Exploration of the Oceans Achieved?

    1.3 What Fields of Science Does Oceanography Include?

    1.4 What Is the Process of Science and the Nature of Scientific Inquiry?

    1.5 How Were Earth and the Solar System Formed?  

    1.6 How Were Earth's Atmosphere and Oceans Formed?

    1.7 Did Life Begin in the Oceans?

    1.8 How Old Is Earth?

    Essential Concepts Review


    2. Plate Tectonics and the Ocean Floor

    2.1 What Evidence Supports Continental Drift?

    2.2 What Additional Observations Led to the Theory of Plate Tectonics?

    2.3 What Features Occur at Plate Boundaries?

    2.4 Testing the Model: Can Plate Tectonics Explain Other Features in the Ocean and on Land?

    2.5 How Has Earth Changed in the Past, and How Will it Look in the Future?

    Essential Concepts Review


    3. Marine Provinces

    3.1 What Techniques Are Used to Determine Ocean Bathymetry?

    3.2 What Features Exist on Continental Margins?

    3.3 What Features Exist in the Deep-Ocean Basins?

    3.4 What Features Exist along the Mid-Ocean Ridge?

    Essential Concepts Review


    4. Marine Sediments

    4.1 How Are Marine Sediments Collected, and what Historical Events Do They Reveal?

    4.2 What Are the Characteristics of Lithogenous Sediment?

    4.3 What Are the Characteristics of Biogenous Sediment?

    4.4 What Are the Characteristics of Hydrogenous Sediment?

    4.5 What Are the Characteristics of Cosmogenous Sediment?

    4.6 How Are Pelagic and Neritic Deposits Distributed?

    4.7 What Resources Do Marine Sediments Provide?

    Essential Concepts Review


    5. Water and Seawater


    5.1 Why Does Water Have Such Unusual Chemical Properties?

    5.2 What Important Physical Properties Does Water Possess?

    5.3 Why Is Seawater Salty?

    5.4 Why Does Seawater Salinity Vary?

    5.5 How Does Seawater Salinity Vary at the Surface and with Depth?

    5.6 How Does Seawater Density Vary with Depth?

    5.7 Is the Ocean Acidic or Basic?

    5.8 What Factors Control the Distribution of Carbon and Oxygen in the Ocean?

    Essential Concepts Review


    strong>6. Air—Sea Interaction

    6.1 What Causes Variations in Solar Radiation on Earth?

    6.2 What Physical Properties Does the Atmosphere Possess?

    6.3 How Does the Coriolis Effect Influence Moving Objects?

    6.4 What Global Atmospheric Circulation Patterns Exist?

    6.5 How Does the Ocean Influence Global Weather Phenomena and Climate Patterns?

    6.6 Can Power from Wind Be Harnessed as a Source of Energy?

    Essential Concepts Review


    7. Ocean Circulation

    7.1 How Are Ocean Currents Measured?

    7.2 What Creates Ocean Surface Currents and How Are They Organized?

    7.3 What Causes Upwelling and Downwelling?

    7.4 What Are the Main Surface Circulation Patterns in Each Ocean Basin?

    7.5 How Do Sea Ice and Icebergs Form?

    7.6 How Do Deep-Ocean Currents Form?

    7.7 Can Power from Currents Be Harnessed as a Source of Energy?

    Essential Concepts Review


    8. Waves and Water Dynamics 

    8.1 How Are Waves Generated, and How Do They Move?

    8.2 What Characteristics Do Waves Possess?

    8.3 How Do Wind-Generated Waves Develop?

    8.4 How Do Waves Change in the Surf Zone?

    8.5 How Are Tsunami Created?

    8.6 Can Power from Waves Be Harnessed as a Source of Energy?

    Essential Concepts Review


    9. Tides

    9.1 What Causes Ocean Tides?

    9.2 How Do Tides Vary during a Monthly Tidal Cycle?

    9.3 What Do Tides Look Like in the Ocean?

    9.4 What Types of Tidal Patterns Exist?

    9.5 What Tidal Phenomena Occur in Coastal Regions?

    9.6 Can Tidal Power Be Harnessed as a Source of Energy?

    Essential Concepts Review


    10. Beaches, Shoreline Processes, 10 and the Coastal Ocean"

    10.1 How Are Coastal Regions Defined?

    10.2 How Does Sand Move on the Beach?

    10.3 What Features Are Typical of Erosional and Depositional Shores?

    10.4 How Do Changes in Sea Level Produce Emerging and Submerging Shorelines?

    10.5 How Does Hard Stabilization Affect Coastlines?

    10.6 What are the Characteristics and Types of Coastal Waters?

    10.7 What Issues Face Coastal Wetlands?

    Essential Concepts Review/p>

    11. Marine Pollution

    11.1 What Is Pollution?

    11.2 What Marine Environmental Problems Are Associated with Petroleum Pollution?

    11.3 What Marine Environmental Problems Are Associated with Non-Petroleum Chemical Pollution?

    11.4 What Marine Environmental Problems Are Associated with Non-point Source Pollution, Including Trash?

    11.5 What Can You Do to Help Prevent Marine Pollution?

    11.6 What Marine Environmental Problems Are Associated with Biological Pollution?

    Essential Concepts Review

    12. Marine Life and the Marine Environment

    12.1 What Are Living Things, and How Are They Classified?

    12.2 How Are Marine Organisms Classified?

    12.3 How Many Marine Species Exist?

    12.4 How Are Marine Organisms Adapted to the Physical Conditions of the Ocean?

    12.5 What Are the Main Divisions of the Marine Environment?

    Essential Concepts Review

    13. Biological Productivity and Energy Transfer

    13.1 What Is Primary Productivity?

    13.2 What Kinds of Photosynthetic Marine Organisms Exist?

    13.3 How Does Regional Primary Productivity Vary?

    13.4 How Are Energy and Nutrients Passed Along in Marine Ecosystems?

    13.5 What Issues Affect Marine Fisheries?

    Essential Concepts Review

    14. Animals of the Pelagic Environment

    14.1 How Are Marine Organisms Able to Stay above the Ocean Floor?

    14.2 What Adaptations Do Pelagic Organisms Possess for Seeking Prey?

    14.3 What Adaptations Do Pelagic Organisms Possess to Avoid Becoming Prey?

    14.4 What Characteristics Do Marine Mammals Possess?

    Essential Concepts Review

    15. Animals of the Benthic Environment

    15.1 What Communities Exist along Rocky Shores?

    15.2 What Communities Exist along Sediment-Covered Shores?

    15.3 What Communities Exist on the Shallow Offshore Ocean Floor

    15.4 What Communities Exist on the Deep-Ocean Floor?

    Essential Concepts Review

    16. The Oceans and Climate Change

    16.1 What Comprises Earth’s Climate System?

    16.2 Earth’s Recent Climate Change: Is It Natural or Caused by Human Activities?

    16.3 What Causes the Atmosphere’s Greenhouse Effect?

    16.4 What Changes Are Occurring in the Oceans as a Result of Global Warming?

    16.5 What Can Be Done to Reduce Greenhouse Gases?

    Essential Concepts Review

  • Al Trujillo Author Bio
    Al Trujillo is a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences Department at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. He received his bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of California at Davis and his master’s degree in geology from Northern Arizona University, afterward working for several years in industry. Al began teaching at Palomar in 1990. In 1997, he was awarded Palomar’s Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2005 he received Palomar’s Faculty Research Award. He has coauthored Introductory Oceanography with Hal Thurman and is a contributing author for the textbooks Earth and Earth Science. In addition to writing and teaching, Al works as a naturalist and lecturer aboard Holland America Line and natural history expedition vessels for Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic in Alaska, Iceland, the Sea of Cortez/Baja California, and the South Pacific. His research interests include beach processes, sea cliff erosion, and active teaching techniques. He enjoys photography, and he collects sand as a hobby. Al and his wife, Sandy, have two children, Karl and Eva.
  • Hal Thurman Author Bio
    Hal Thurman’s interest in geology led to a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma A&M University, followed by seven years working as a petroleum geologist, mainly in the Gulf of Mexico, where his interest in the oceans developed. He earned a master’s degree from California State University at Los Angeles. Hal began teaching at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, in 1968 as a temporary teacher and taught Physics 1 (a surveying class) and three Physical Geology labs. In 1970, he taught his first class of General Oceanography. It was from this experience that he decided to write a textbook on oceanography and received a contract with Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company in 1973. The first edition of his book Introductory Oceanography was released in 1975. Harold authored or coauthored over 20 editions of textbooks that include Introductory Oceanography, Essentials of Oceanography, Physical Geology, Marine Biology, and Oceanography Laboratory Manual, many of which are still being used today throughout the world. In addition, he contributed to the World Book Encyclopedia on the topics of “Arctic Ocean,” “Atlantic Ocean,” “Indian Ocean,” and “Pacific Ocean.” Hal Thurman retired in May 1994, after 24 years of teaching, and moved to be closer to family in Oklahoma, then to Florida. Hal passed away at the age of 78 on December 29, 2012. His writing expertise, knowledge about the ocean, and easy going demeanor are dearly missed.

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