Resources for Coaches

General Topics of Study

Please keep in mind that the questions for the NOSB will integrate fundamental concepts in physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and math in the context of the oceans. Although your students might not study the ocean sciences in any depth (pun intended!) during school, they should have a grasp of the basic concepts of physics, chemistry, etc., and therefore have a good foundation for figuring out the correct answer to the question. Questions on estuaries and the Great Lakes will be included.


Our list of topics is as follows:

  • Physics of the oceans
  • Chemistry of the oceans
  • Biology of the oceans
  • Geology of the oceans
  • Social Sciences, including economics, history, & human interactions
  • Ocean-related technology, including instrumentation, remote sensing, & navigation
  • Geography
  • Current events


Level of Difficulty

The level of difficulty of competition questions will generally correspond to that of an AP high school/introductory undergraduate course.



These texts were recommended by the Technical Advisory Panel of the NOSB. Any ONE of these textbooks will address the breadth of topics that the questions in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl will cover. Purchasing information is provided below, but as a teacher you may be able to request a complimentary copy. You may find earlier editions of these texts by the same authors in the library. Generally, any edition published since 1990 will be adequate. Some of these authors (e.g. Duxbury & Duxbury, Gross & Gross and Thurman) have texts for high school as well, but the ones listed below are college level.

Duxbury, Alyn C.,Alison C. Duxbury and Keith Sverdrup. Introduction to the World's Oceans,7th ed. Wm. C. Brown, 2003. ISBN: 0-07-247280-4 Contact: McGraw-Hill Companies

Garrison, Thomas. Oceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science, 2005. ISBN: 0534408877 Contact: Brooks Cole Publishing

Gross, Grant M. and Elizabeth Gross. Oceanography: A View of Earth, 7th ed. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 1996. ISBN: 0-13-231788-5. Contact: Prentice-Hall Publishing

Life on the Ocean Planet Contact: Current Publishing

Pinet, Paul R. Invitation to Oceanography, 3rd ed.Colgate University, 2003 ISBN: 0-763-7213-60 Contact: Jones & Bartlett

Segar, Douglas A. Introduction to Ocean Sciences, Dec. 2006 ISBN-13: 978-0-393-92629-3 Contact: W.W. Norton & Co.

Thurman, Harold V. & Burton, Elizabeth Introductory Oceanography, 9th ed. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 2001. ISBN: 0-13-857061-2 Contact Prentice-Hall Publishing

In Depth Books

These books cover fewer topics, but the coverage is more in-depth. They have been designed for secondary grade levels. These would be good supplemental texts to any of those listed above.

Curriculum Research and Development Group. The Fluid Earth: Physical Science and Technology of the Marine Environment, 3d ed. U. Hawaii, Honolulu, 1996. ISBN: 0-937049-58-1. Contact: Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii Curriculum Research & Development Group

Curriculum Research and Development Group. The Living Ocean: Biology and Technology of the Marine Environment, 3d ed. U. Hawaii, Honolulu, 1996. ISBN: 0-937049-75-1 Contact: (see other CRDG text above)

Greene, Thomas F. Marine Science, 1998. ISBN: 0-87720-071-8 AMSCO order code: R 451 P Contact: AMSCO Publishing

Niesen, Thomas. The Marine Biology Coloring Book, Second Edition. ISBN: 0064603032



The following periodicals are all good sources of information regarding the oceans. While these magazines have been published for many years, for the purposes of the NOSB competition, contestants need only be concerned with information that has been published from the last five years.

Click on the title to visit a web site associated with the magazine. Some web sites have more information than others, such as complete articles on line, topic summaries, etc. All have online subscription information. Your local public library or school librarian should be able to provide more information on where these sources are located in your area.

  • Discover
  • National Geographic
  • Oceanus (the semi-annual report of current research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
  • Scientific American
  • Science News



Ocean Drilling Program's "Mountains to Monsoons" Cost: none Contact: Joint Oceanographic Institutions Tel: (202) 232-3900, ext. 244 e-mail:

Tasagraph's "The Theory of Plate Tectonics" Cost: $59 for first CD, $38.35 thereafter (plus s/h). Contact: Tasa Graphic Arts, Inc. Tel: (800) 293-2725 e-mail:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory's "A Visit to an Ocean Planet" Cost: $0 for first CD (order on-line) Contact: Jet Propulsion Laboratory Tel: (818) 354-4321 e-mail: for multiple copies for a single copies


Web Sites

There is a lot of good information on the World Wide Web on the oceans. However, there is also no quality-control mechanism. For this reason, we are restricting our recommendations to U.S. Government web sites and "The BRIDGE". Once you leave the government domain via a "link", there is no certainty that the information you find there is valid. These sites are offered as starting points and, therefore, these URL's are the most general ones for each agency. In some cases, particular pages of note within an agency's web site are listed as well. These sites are a treasure trove of information, but as with most treasures it takes some time to find what you are seeking! We recommend that you use these sites mostly for studying about ocean-related current events.

  • Ocean Literacy
  • Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • NOAA ocean related pages
  • Oceanographer of the U.S. Navy (and subordinate commands)
  • Neptune's Web from the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC)
  • National Aeronautics & Space Administration's Earth Science Enterprise
  • National Science Foundation's Directorate of Geosciences
  • Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Public Affairs
  • U. S. Geological Survey Check out the USGS "Learning Web"
  • Mineral Management Service (MMS)
  • BRIDGE Ocean Sciences Teacher Resource Center
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