Ocean, Science & Environmental Literacy

Education > Ocean Literacy

Over the course of many years, USC Sea Grant has been integrally involved in the development of ocean, science and environmental literacy principles. Below we describe these efforts.

Ocean Literacy

Ocean literacy is the understanding of the ocean's influence on you and your influence on the ocean. (Definition from https://www.marine-ed.org/ocean-literacy/overview)

Since the ocean covers 71% of our planet, is the main driver of our climate, and is an important source of food, medicine and even inspiration worldwide, it is important for all people to have a basic understanding of the ocean. The Ocean Literacy Network—a group of scientists, educators and policymakers worldwide—are working together to improve ocean literacy. (from https://www.marine-ed.org/ocean-literacy/overview)

USC Sea Grant, along with the National Sea Grant Educators network and professionals from NOAA and the National Marine Educators Association, have established a set of seven essential principles for ocean literacy -- that is, what people should know and understand about the ocean environment.  These principles form the basis for ocean education curriculum that promotes an understanding of ocean and coastal science, as well as the interactions between ocean and terrestrial processes. Learn more...


Principles & Concepts

Ocean scientists from around the world have compiled a list of seven things everyone should know about the ocean in order to be ocean literate. These seven things are known as the Essential Principles of Ocean Literacy. These Principles are listed in the graphic above. Learn more... 

Scope & Sequence

The Scope & Sequence breaks down the seven Principles into four grade bands (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, & 9-12). It provides guidance to curriculum developers, standards committees, informal science educators, and teachers regarding how to help learners build their understanding of the Principles from the earliest grades to the end of high school. The Scope & Sequence uses "conceptual flow diagrams" to show which concepts and sub-concepts are most appropriately taught at each grade band and how the concepts connect to each other. Learn more...

Environmental Literacy

California Congressional Bill AB 1548 in 2003 required the identification of environmental education principles and concepts that would be used to establish the curriculum that has been created to bring education about the environment into the primary and secondary classrooms throughout California. The EEI Curriculum is the result of a multi-agency education and environmental partnership. More information about the EEI is available here.



For more information

Linda Chilton, Director of Education, USC Sea Grant, 213.740.1965
Lynn Whitley, Co-Director COSEE-West, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, 213.740.1964


  • USC Sea Grant
  • 3454 Trousdale Pkwy, CAS 200
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0373
  • (213) 740 - 1961
  • seagrant@usc.edu