Principle 4: The ocean makes the earth habitable
Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere originally came from the activities of photosynthetic organisms in the ocean. This accumulation of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere was necessary for life to develop and be sustained on land.
The ocean is the cradle of life; the earliest evidence of life is found in the ocean. The millions of different species of organisms on Earth today are related by descent from common ancestors that evolved in the ocean and continue to evolve today.
The ocean provided and continues to provide water, oxygen, and nutrients, and moderates the climate needed for life to exist on Earth (Essential Principles 1, 3, and 5).