The ocean is a continuous body of salt water that covers more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface. Ocean currents govern the world's weather and churn a kaleidoscope of life. Humans depend on these teeming waters for comfort and survival, but global warming and overfishing threaten Earth's largest habitat.
Geographers divide the ocean into five major basins: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern. Smaller ocean regions such as the Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Bay of Bengal are called seas, gulfs, and bays. Inland bodies of saltwater such as the Caspian Sea and the Great Salt Lake are distinct from the world's oceans.