Where can I find information about oceans?

Image: Underwater Photography of Fish by Franceso Ungaro on Pexels.

Entry last updated: 16/03/21


The world or global ocean is a large body of salt water that covers the earth. It is divided into 5 oceans — Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean and Southern Ocean (Antarctica).

Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth's surface.

List of Oceans

Here is a list of the five oceans:

Arctic Ocean: The world's smallest ocean. It is also the coldest.

Atlantic Ocean: Ocean between North and South America and the European and African continents. It is the saltiest ocean.

Indian Ocean: Lies between Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Southern Ocean.

Pacific Ocean: The World's largest ocean. It covers more than 30% of the Earth.

Southern Ocean: Completely surrounds Antarctica.

General websites

Look at these websites to find information about the different oceans.


DKfindout! allows you to search, learn, and explore information on a safe and secure site. Perfect for help with homework, DK’s clear, reliable, and highly visual content covers all curriculum subjects. This website has fantastic photos and graphics.

  • Enter the keyword 'oceans' into the search box.
  • Click on the link called Oceans and seas.
  • This has an interactive map with all the oceans.
  • Select an ocean to find out more eg Southern Ocean.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg [insert topic word]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Britannica School

This is the online version of Encyclopedia Britannica. It is also one of the EPIC databases. You can search Britannica School in 3 different reading levels.

  • Select primary level.
  • Enter the keyword 'oceans' into the search box.
  • Select the article ocean (Earth feature) to find general information as well as about ocean life.
  • Select an ocean name to find out about that ocean's features, currents, and environmental issues eg Pacific Ocean.
  • Change the article level at the top of the page to get more information.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Elementary (Gale In Context)

This is also one of the EPIC databases. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. This database has easy to read information for primary students on science, technology, people, plants and more.

  • Go to the section called Science.
  • Then select Earth Science.
  • Look further down the page to find the Oceans topic.
  • Explore the book articles, pictures and videos among other things.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Ocean Portal

This site is an educational website maintained by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. It covers ocean life, ecosystems, tides, waves, ocean currents, history, and conservation.

  • Explore the tabs at the top of the page.
  • Choose Ocean Life to find articles about animals and plants in the ocean.
  • To find out about different ocean environments select Ecosystems.
  • Planet Ocean has articles about ocean processes.
  • Or look at Conservation to find out more about this topic.
Tips: A website’s address (URL) can give you a hint about how reliable it is. Look for addresses in the results that include .gov or .edu in the URL. These are quality sites from overseas government or educational organisations.

New Zealand sites

These sites also have information about Oceans but the focus is more on New Zealand.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Enter the keyword 'oceans' into the search box.
  • Scroll down to 'ocean currents and tides' for some interesting information about the ocean around New Zealand.
  • Also check out the many images and videos relating to oceans.
Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov or .edu in their address – or by looking at their About us or Contact pages.

Young Ocean Explorers

This is made with funding from New Zealand On Air. It has lots of short videos and quizzes about different ocean topics including ocean life. There is no search on this site but you can:

Topic Explorer

Topic Explorer is an online tool from the National Library of New Zealand. It contains a wide range of resources on a variety of topics. These resources have been selected from reliable national and international sources.

  • Topics are in alphabetical order.
  • Scroll down the page until you find Ocean Pollution.
  • From the topic page you can filter by media like images, articles and videos.


Your school library or public library will have lots of books on oceans.

Here are some suggested titles:

SCIS no: 1984748
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