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The sixth edition of ESSENTIALS OF OCEANOGRAPHY conveys Garrison's enthusiasm for oceanography to non-science students taking the introductory course. It is a streamlined version of his bestselling OCEANOGRAPHY text, but was created specifically to meet the needs of instructors who prefer a shorter text. This edition incorporates global climate change as a recurring theme. ESSENTIALS OF OCEANOGRAPHY provides students with a basic understanding of the scientific questions, complexities, and uncertainties involved in ocean use, and the role and importance of oceans in nurturing and sustaining life on the planet.

Tom S. Garrison, Orange Coast College

Tom Garrison (Ph.D., University of Southern California) was an inspiring professor of Marine Science for over 47 years at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California -- one of the largest undergraduate marine science departments in the United States. Dr. Garrison also held an adjunct professorship at the University of Southern California and won multiple teaching and education awards during his career. He was a founding member of the Consortium for Ocean Science Exploration and Engagement, wrote a regular column for the journal Oceanography, and enjoyed writing for National Geographic magazine. Dr. Garrison was an Emmy Award team participant as writer and science advisor for the PBS syndicated Oceanus television series, and writer and science advisor for The Endless Voyage -- a set of television programs in oceanography. His widely used textbooks in oceanography and marine science are the college market's best sellers, and 42 years of teaching allowed him to pass his oceanic enthusiasm to more than 65,000 students in his career.
  • A new box entitled About the Ocean World / A Student Asks… is designed to spark student excitement about oceanography and expand active learning opportunities. This new boxed feature in every chapter highlights questions received from inquisitive students. The sections present current scientific understandings in answer to these fascinating questions and establish connections to chapter content. They also offer suggestions for student inquiry and discovery.
  • Expanded and Fully Integrated Pedagogy: A new section called Chapter Preview offers a concise description of 4-6 main ideas covered in the chapter. After each major section in the chapter Brief Review sections help students focus on the major points. At the end of chapters, a Chapter Summary provides a brief narrative summary of contents and Study Questions help students apply what they have learned, creating a fully integrated learning system for each chapter.
  • Course Customization Resources on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and more: Three new Oceanography Modules help you keep your course relevant and timely. Consider customizing your text with a capstone coverage on one or more of these important topics.1) Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill 2) The Science Behind the Ocean's "Garbage Patches" 3) Underwater Research.
  • Global Geoscience Watch: Updated several times a day, the Global Geoscience Watch is a focused portal into GREENR – our Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources – an ideal one-stop site for classroom discussion and research projects for all things geoscience! Broken into the four key course areas (Geography, Geology, Meteorology, and Oceanography), you can easily get to the most relevant content available for your course. You and your students will have access to the latest information from trusted academic journals, news outlets, and magazines. You also will receive access to statistics, primary sources, case studies, podcasts, and much more!
  • Updated Design and Even More Spectacular Visuals: A new text design allows for even more photos and visual learning. A more spacious "look and feel" offers students an even more inviting introduction to Oceanography.
  • ESSENTIALS OF OCEANOGRAPHY, Sixth Edition continues to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of marine science, stressing its connections with astronomy, physics, chemistry, meteorology, geology, biology, ecology, history, and economics. Using an engaging writing style, author Tom Garrison helps students gain "an oceanic perspective" in which water, continents, seafloors, sunlight, storms, seaweeds, and society are connected in subtle and beautiful ways.
  • Global climate change is integrated throughout this text. Icons presented both on chapter outlines and in the text itself show readers where global climate change topics are covered and also help them make connections to overall chapter content.
  • Each chapter of the book includes a fully integrated learning system. A Preview of 4-6 main points begins each chapter, a Brief Review summarizes each section in the chapter, and a Chapter Summary helps students crystallize what they have learned and Study Questions help them apply what they have learned.
  • Student learning is enhanced by an art program that includes over 200 separate illustrations and 250 photos. Chapter Opener Photos are supported by a short Vignette that puts the photo in perspective and motivates chapter content.
1. Origins.
2. History.
3. Earth Structure and Plate Tectonics.
4. Ocean Basins.
5. Sediments.
6. Water.
7. Atmospheric Circulation.
8. Ocean Circulation.
9. Waves.
10. Tides.
11. Coasts.
12. Life in the Ocean.
13. Pelagic Communities.
14. Benthic Communities.
15. Uses and Abuses of the Ocean.
Appendix I: Measurements and Conversions.
Appendix II: Geological Time.
Appendix III: Latitude and Longitude, Time, and Navigation.
Appendix IV: Maps and Charts.
Appendix V: Working in Marine Science.

Textbook Only Options

Traditional eBook and Print Options

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  • ISBN-10: 1133700829
  • ISBN-13: 9781133700821
  • STARTING AT $21.99

  • STARTING AT $42.99

  • ISBN-10: 0840061552
  • ISBN-13: 9780840061553
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $202.25
  • RETAIL $268.95

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


Instructor Companion Website

ISBN: 9781337394482
Everything you need for your course in one place! This collection of product-specific lecture and class tools is available online via the instructor resource center at You'll be able to access and download materials such as PowerPoint presentations, images, instructor’s manual, videos, and more.

Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero Instant Access

ISBN: 9781337112796
Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero® is a flexible, online system that allows you to import, edit, and manipulate content from the text's test bank or elsewhere, including your own favorite test questions; create multiple test versions in an instant; and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom, or wherever you want.