A marine biologist, or marine scientist, studies organisms living in saltwater bodies, performing a number of duties that vary by the specific job. They may research, experiment, or create plans of action to improve and sustain aquatic life, health, and productivity.
What Does a Marine Biologist Do?
Find out what a marine biologist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a marine biologist.
Marine Biologists Job Description
Marine biologists may be employed by government agencies, private companies, or industry organizations, and their jobs may differ according to where they work. Some scientists may analyze marine water samples for contaminants. Others may use marine plants to create products for use. Still, other scientists may work for zoos or aquariums, monitoring marine animals and conducting studies.
Duties of a Marine Biologist
Marine biologists have a wide range of responsibilities, which include the following:
- Recording data on water quality, animal sightings, and other observations using computers or hand-held devices such as Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers or digital cameras
- Designing experiments to test hypotheses about the behavior of marine animals
- Collecting biological samples such as water or animal tissue to test for contaminants or disease
- Researching marine life forms to better understand them, including their ecology and life cycles
- Conducting environmental impact studies to determine the impact that human activities are having on marine ecosystems
- Studying the effects of pollution on marine life and aquatic habitats
- Communicating research findings to the public through presentations, journal articles, and other media
- Conducting research on marine animals in their natural habitats
- Conducting research on marine ecosystems, including coral reefs and intertidal zones
How to Become a Marine Biologist
A marine biologist’s career path can be advantageous, but it’s crucial to consider the many different paths made available for you. You could work in a research lab, teach at a university, or work for a government agency. You could also work in conservation or policy or become a freelance writer or photographer.
No matter which direction you choose, staying up-to-date on the latest scientific discoveries and developments related to oceans and marine life is essential. Read journals and articles, attend conferences, and connect with other scientists online. Stay active in your local community of marine biologists by volunteering or attending meetings.
Marine Biologist Salary
Marine biologists’ salaries differ depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of organization or company they work for.
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $198,000 ($95.19/hour)
- Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
The employment of marine biologists is expected to grow, on average, from time to time.
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Marine Biologist Job Requirements
Marine biologists typically need to have the following background:
- Certifications & Licenses:
Marine biologists must have a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and marine science or a related field. After completing essential biology, chemistry, and physics requirements, students major in specialized topics like aquatic animal biology, oceanography, and toxicology. Additionally, bachelor’s degree programs in marine biology often include biostatistics courses that use statistics concepts to measure, estimate, and analyze biological data.
Some employers prefer marine biologists with a master’s or doctorate in marine biology. These programs allow students to research and gain specialized expertise in topics ranging from marine ecology to marine mammal physiology. Individual research projects, a thesis, or a dissertation on a topic in marine biology may be required by some programs.
Certifications & Licenses: Although certifications are not always required for marine biologist jobs, many employers prefer candidates to have one. Certifications show that you are a motivated and ambitious professional.
Marine Biologist Work Environment
Marine biologists research all aspects of marine life, including organisms’ behavior, breeding, and distribution. They study the physical and chemical properties of the ocean and the effects of pollution and other human activities on marine life. Marine biologists often work in offices and laboratories near the coast, where they can easily access the ocean. They may spend most of their time outdoors, conducting field research on the shore or in small boats. They can equally work in aquaculture facilities, which help rear and harvest marine plants and animals. Marine biologists typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may work longer during field research or when preparing reports or grant proposals.
Marine Biologist Skills
Observation skills: Marine biologists use these skills (observation skills) to identify marine life and its behaviors. They also use observation skills to identify environmental changes in water temperature and also changes in the amount of oxygen in the water.
Technical skills: Marine biologists use technical skills to generate presentations and reports about their research. They also use technical skills to gather and analyze data, develop and implement research tactics and conduct experiments. They also use technical skills to generate presentations and reports about their research.
Problem-solving skills: Here, a marine biologist might work with a team of engineers to design a new tool to help them gather data or observe marine life. That is to say, they often work in teams to conduct research and provide solutions to challenges that come up during their work.
Communication skills: They often work with other biologists and experts, such as engineers, to complete their work. Good communication skills can aid marine biologists in communicating their ideas to others and understanding other people’s ideas. They may also communicate with members of the general public to help explain their work and its relevance.
Teamwork skills: Marine biologists work in teams to carry out research and complete other responsibilities because most marine biology jobs involve collaboration with other scientists and members of other departments. For instance, a marine biologist might work with a team of biologists to research a specific species.
Marine biologists can work in various fields, from academia to government agencies to private industries or companies. Their jobs are varied, but they all focus on one direction: they must be passionate about the ocean and its inhabitants.