What are the Different Marine Biology Careers?

Allison Boelcke

Marine biology is the scientific study of aquatic organisms. The field is extensive and can include classifying marine wildlife, examining microorganisms, or observing marine environments. Since it is such a broad discipline, a variety of possible marine biology careers are available.

A marine biologist typically focuses on one field of study, such as coral reefs.
A marine biologist typically focuses on one field of study, such as coral reefs.

One of the most common marine biology careers is research. A marine researcher can travel to different oceans or other bodies of water to study marine wildlife. He or she may observe the behaviors of sea creatures in their natural habitats. Researchers can study the effects of climate or other factors on marine environment. They may also collect samples of microorganisms to determine if they have any medicinal or industrial benefits. Experienced marine biologists may manage research teams without actually performing the research themselves.

Some marine biologists may specialize in the study of whales.
Some marine biologists may specialize in the study of whales.

A marine biology researcher can choose to devote his or her career to a specific area of study. He or she may focus on a particular species or environment. For example, a researcher may specialize in the study of whales and study their interactions, factors that affect their population, or the differences between whales in various climates.

Researchers may also work for government agencies. They can study the quality of water to determine if pollutants are present. Marine biologists may perform government funded research on how to improve water quality and preserve valuable wildlife, especially the varieties with economic value, such as heavily exported fish or shellfish.

Marine biology careers can concentrate around consultation for zoos or aquariums. Zoos or aquariums may keep a marine biologist on staff to advise employees on properly caring for different sea animals and how to best emulate their natural habitats to keep them safe and comfortable. A consultant can also recognize signs of disease or otherwise poor health in the creatures and ensure they are treated.

Biologists can also take their marine knowledge and apply it to the field of journalism. They may report on different research studies for scientific journals. Some marine biologists may become advocates for marine wildlife protection and publish informative brochures or perform public speaking engagements to schools or government agencies. Advocates may choose to devote their marine biology careers to running nonprofit organizations that fight to prevent the extinctions of certain species or to educate people about environmental hazards.

Marine biologists also have the option of working in higher education. They may teach marine biology courses at universities or supervise student marine research. Biologists who work in academia may often develop marine biology textbooks or other educational materials.

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