Old Hickory Council - Hanging Rock District

Troop 444: Oceanography Merit Badge






  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, and
        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, mid-water, 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) an oceanographic research ship, or (2) an oceanographic institute.
              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.

Oceanography Worksheets for use in working on these requirements

Boy Scout Oath

On my honor, I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my Country and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Boy Scout Law

A Scout Is...

A Scout tells the truth.
He keeps his promises.
Honesty is part of his code of conduct.
People can depend on him.
A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.LOYAL
A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.HELPFUL
A Scout is a friend to all.
He is a brother to other Scouts.
He seeks to understand others.
He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.
A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position.
He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.
A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle.
He treats others as he wants to be treated.
He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.
A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop.
He obeys the laws of his community and country.
If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.
A Scout looks for the bright side of things.
He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
A Scout works to pay his way and to help others.
He saves for unforeseen needs.
He protects and conserves natural resources.
He carefully uses time and property.
A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid.
He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.
A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean.
He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals.
He helps keep his home and community clean.
A Scout is reverent toward God.
He is faithful in his religious duties.
He respects the beliefs of others.