What is a Marine Biologist?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A marine biologist is usually a person with advanced degrees in life sciences. He or she will study life forms of the ocean from a scientific perspective, and may hold specific bachelors, masters, or PhDs in biology, marine biology, and/or chemistry.

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.

There are many different areas in which marine biologists may work. They may help to protect life forms in a part of an ocean, or study the interactions of life forms in a specific ocean environment. They might also analyze the behaviors of fish species. Some specifically examine microscopic life forms or one species of fish only.

Scuba equipment allows marine biologists to observe their subjects directly.
Scuba equipment allows marine biologists to observe their subjects directly.

Some marine biologists work in aquariums to help keep fish populations healthy and comfortable in a confined space. They may care for injured large fish and run a relocation program. They also may supervise or participate in developing educational materials for visitors to an aquarium. In the field, observations help them learn how to care for fish of different species and also what material is vital for others to know.

A marine biologist may develop guides, videos, and other materials for aquarium visitors.
A marine biologist may develop guides, videos, and other materials for aquarium visitors.

Since frequently a marine biologist works in the field or more accurately, the ocean, most have to be adept swimmers and divers. This means in addition to college education, someone in this career usually holds a certificate in scuba diving.

A marine biologist may choose to specialize in studying microscopic organisms.
A marine biologist may choose to specialize in studying microscopic organisms.

However, not every marine biologist works near or in the ocean. Some work in landlocked areas analyzing research or teaching marine biology. However, it is difficult to get these positions unless one has participated in some practical research along the way. Thus being a good swimmer is an important requirement.

Many with advanced degrees work as professors, and also continue to conduct field studies. This means a marine biologist should be very adept at applying for science grants in order to conduct work or research. He or she should be a good writer, because many who work independently rely on grants as their sole form of payment.

Being a good swimmer is an important requirement for becoming a marine biologist.
Being a good swimmer is an important requirement for becoming a marine biologist.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


What does a marine biologist do on a regular basis?


Being a marine biologist has always been my dream job. I feel so alive when I'm somewhere near marine life. But there are so many things that can stand in our way. I love marine life and everything about it but is marine biology right for me? No one will really know what job is right for them.


I want to be a marine biologist when I grow up. I love sea animals and the sea. I really want to become a marine biologist!


I need the main information about becoming a marine biologist and how much they get paid today -- enough to fill a two-page paper.


I am 10 and really want to become a marine biologist! I hope I will get to work with whales and travel!


I'm 10 too, and I am so involved in animals and I love it! My dream is to become the best marine biologist I can be and I love animals. I went to a scuba diving try out and it was amazing. I hope I will achieve my life long dream to become a marine biologist some day.


I have always wanted to be a vet, or work with some kind of sea animals and reading what this is all about is what i want to do. Where do marine biologists work? Do they travel?


What is the beginning pay, middle pay, and highest pay of a marine biologist?


I love marine animals and can't wait to get a chance to work with them when I become a marine biologist! I'm not afraid of anything! I'm an excellent swimmer and am proud to say this is what I want to do with my life! i want an adventure


what kind of qualifications, training, and education do you need in order to become a marine biologist? what degree do you need to become a marine biologist? i would love to know!


once i found out that sharks may lead to a cure to breast cancer, i immediately wanted to be a marine biologist. i am the smartest in my class and I've loved swimming since i was born so this is what I'm meant for and i believe that you can find what's right for you in the world.


i love marine biology and i loved this article


I'm 17 and applying to university very soon. I was wondering what the most world renowned university for studying marine biology is? Thank you.


I'm Shemoney, and to become a marine biologist has always been my dream job for the future since i was a child. I'm currently 15 years old and I look forward to becoming a part of the marine life, with a lot of hard work, and i should say this article really helped me a lot.

The sea world is so amazing,and wonderfully beautiful. I think I'm in love. Really.


My name is Tracey and I'm 10 and I would love to be a marine biologist. When people even talk about water I think of being a marine biologist. I just love the marine life. I love marine mammals and under the sea things.

It has been my dream since I went swimming! If I do get my dream job I would be the happiest person in the world.


my name is hayley. I am 9 years old and i really want to be a marine biologist because i love learning about sea creatures and think it would be a really cool job when i am older.


I am 14 years old and iv always dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. I've always been into sea animals and going to aquariums and learning more about them.


I think Marine Biology is really cool and this helped me to learn more about it.


i also think marine biologists are pretty cool.


Thanks so much! this really helped me write a paragraph for a poster that is due in a week!


i really like this. it help me learn more about a marine biologist and it helps me with my paper that due in like a few days. so thanks a lot and thanks for all your help.


I'm 11 and i need some information about marine biologists. these articles were useful but i need the topics of tools used by scientists and education requirements. Please post an article or direct me to another resource.


This is really cool. I also really want to be a marine biologist and/or a dolphin trainer. As far as I know, I've been interested in whales and dolphins since I was two, and I'm currently fourteen. I hope to be able to study whales and dolphins, specifically.


This information is great. i am 16 years old and want to be a marine biologist and oceanographer. i love science and the ocean and i have a passion for animals, especially marine ones. I can't wait to do research when i am older and really make a difference to the world.


What colleges are right for this job?


This article is really cool to read. I wish every one could read this. I think marine biologist is really cool to do. I think is really cool because you could work with different animals that live in the ocean or in the place that marine biologists work.

If you could think of more that marine biologists do, could you write them on the article.


Even though i am only 11, i have always wanted to be a marine biologist! i think it would be a very cool experience and privilege! i have researched about them every night and already getting ready to go to marine corps college!


Thank you for the article! It helped me realize what a marine biologist is and what they do. It gave me good insight into preparing for a marine biologist career.


i am only 13, but my hopes of being a marine biologist are very big. I've wanted this for about three or four years now. And also on top of the many years to come. There's only so much a 13 year old can dream of, and that's my biggest dream!


what does a marine biologist person need to already know before starting a job?


what does a typical day as a marine biologist look like?


i would love to become a marine biologist but they don't get paid well. but i will follow my dream.


I am ten years old. I am interested in being a marine biologist. I wanted to know how to start preparing now to become one? (p.s. My mother helped me to post my comment.)


this article really helped me out. thanks a lot.


these really are helpful facts and no matter the pay it's a really great job for persons with the sign of aquarius. lol. we love water.


i thought this was a very good page to help me with my school project.


it was awesome.


I wish some people could read this article about marine biologists because they often misinterpret this kind of job! I really want to take up marine biologist but i ended up taking nursing. Too bad for me.


I'm looking for the canadian universities that offer the program required for a marine biologist and entrance requirements for a marine biologist.


I'm doing a marine biology project at school. I'm sure someone knows what I'm talking about. anyhow, I'm trying to find the salary at the beginning and end of a marine biology career. any suggestions or links?


wow. this is amazing.


this helped me with my school work. thank you.


thanks so much. helped with my science project!


thanks so much. i'm doing a careers project on marine biology and this has helped so much.


Thanks! loved it.


i have like biology and water and fish so it's a great job. i also love science. thank you for posting it. this article helped me a lot.


I've got to write a five page paper, and this was a very nice contribution.Thank you!

I also did a bibliography, but it is a rather large annotated one, so....


i loved this article because i need to start thinking about my future. I have always wanted to be a veterinarian since i could speak, but all the grotesque things didn't appeal ti me, so I have decided that this may be a great route for me to achieve. Thanks much. =)


i would love to be a marine biologist because i love to work with animals and i love to help people.


hey i have a question for you, if i want to be a marine biologist, what would i have to do to get started?


wow thank you i learned so much on one website. i just wrote eight paragraphs on this information. thank you. and i made a bibliography so you will get credit on this.


I found enough info on Marine Biologists.


Thanks so much! now I've got the main part of my project done!


excellent article!


How many years in college to be a marine biologist?


thanks. you helped me with my science project.


all my life i've wanted to be one. this page let me know a little bit more of what a marine biologist does and now i think i want to be one. now i love all animals but i really love animals in the sea. --from T.C.


what schooling (post high school) is required for marine biology?


Thanks a lot! I love orca the best. they are so interesting!


i really liked this page. it has helped me a lot!


wow that is cool at first. i really didn't think i would want to be a marine biologist, now i changed my mind.


this helped me see what i really want to be. i love dolphins; they are my favorite animal! i cannot wait to become a marine biologist! i can see that i will not be working with dolphins but i will still be seeing them! By Travis Durdin.


How much do they get paid by the hour?


Do they get to swim with the pretty fishes?


Is there math involved?


what do they study?


this article helped me with my homework!


What's the difference between a wildlife biologist and a marine biologist?


OK so now that i got the whole picture of what exactly it is. where do marine biologists usually go to study these fish, like in australia?


This article helped me a lot with my report. Thanks!


at first i wanted to be a pediatric. then my cousin mentioned this. i looked it up.i love it


i think this is the best job every because i get to check out all the different types of animals that i never even thought of


i'm only 11 and i really want to be a marine biologist. it sounds so fun and i would think it's the coolest job in the world because you would see all these different things in the ocean that people wouldn't see on a daily basis. marine biologist is my dream job.


How did you get interested in marine biology because I really would like to know because I don't really know if I should do marine biology?


Wow, this article was really helpful! It gave me all of the brief facts that I wanted and needed to know about marine biologists! Thanks!


Marine Biologists are usually getting paid at least $18-$26 an hour.


How would you describe a summary of the job?


how much does a marine biologists get paid?

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