Oceanography Merit Badge Pamphlet Oceanography Merit Badge

Oceanography


Requirements were REVISED effective January 1, 2013.

To see the changes which were made, Click here.

For the previous requirements, Click here.


  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:
    1. Continental shelf
    2. Continental slope, and
    3. 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:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Make a wave generator. Show reflection and refraction of waves. Show how groins, jetties, and breakwaters affect these patterns.
    6. 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:
    1. Write a 500-word report on a book about oceanography approved by your counselor.
    2. Visit one of the following: (1) an oceanographic research ship, or (2) an oceanographic institute, marine laboratory, or marine aquarium. Write a 500-word report about your visit.
    3. 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.


BSA Advancement ID#: 79
Requirements last updated in: 2013
Pamphlet Publication Number: 35924
Pamphlet Stock (SKU) Number: 35826
Pamphlet Revision Date: 2009

Worksheets for use in working on these requirements: Format
Word Format PDF Format

Blanks in this worksheets table appear when we do not have a worksheet for the badge that includes these requirements.


Page updated on: May 15, 2013



Scouts Using the Internet Cartoon - Courtesy of Richard Diesslin - Click to See More Cartoons
© 1994-2014 - U.S. Scouting Service Project | Site Map | Disclaimer | Project Team | Web Stats | Contact Us | Privacy Policy

Materials found at U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. Websites may be reproduced and used locally by Scouting volunteers for training purposes consistent with the programs of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) [Links to BSA Sites], the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) or other Scouting and Guiding Organizations. No material found here may be used or reproduced for electronic redistribution or for commercial or other non-Scouting purposes without the express permission of the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. (USSSP) or other copyright holders. USSSP is not affiliated with BSA or WOSM and does not speak on behalf of BSA or WOSM. Opinions expressed on these web pages are those of the web authors. You can support this website with in two ways: Visit Our Trading Post at www.ScoutingBooks.com or make a donation by clicking the button below.
(U.S. Scouting Service Project Donation)


(Ruth Lyons Memorial Donations)