The World Ocean

The World Ocean

Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala reviews general facts about each ocean within the one world ocean.


3 - 12+


Biology, Earth Science, Geography, Oceanography, Physical Geography

If you had to draw the boundaries of the Earth's oceans on a map, would you be able to? The answer is no—because there is really only one "world ocean."

Oceanographers have divided the world ocean into four principal areas: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. The Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans merge into icy waters around Antarctica. Some oceanographers define this as a fifth ocean, usually called the Antarctic or Southern Ocean.

Water, animals, plants, pollution, and people can move throughout the world ocean. This makes ocean stewardship challenging.

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala discusses the five areas of the world ocean in this collection of videos. The videos are taken from the interactive online game, My Ocean. Test your ocean knowledge and learn about the different ocean basins of the world ocean by playing here.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Samantha Zuhlke, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Marshall Daly, National Geographic Society
Mary Ford, National Geographic Society,

Narrator: Enric Sala
Audiovisual: Steven Pickard
Scripts/Support: John Grotland, Barrett Worthington

Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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Related Resources

National Science Foundation