What does a Marine Biologist do?

Median Pay $62,290
Growth Rate 8%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A marine biologist studies ocean organisms. They protect, observe, study, or manage marine organisms or animals, plants, and microbes. Therefore, marine biologists hold many titles and specializations. For instance, they might be found managing wildlife preserves to protect marine organisms. They may also study marine fish populations or test for bioactive drug. They write scientific reports from their findings and get them published.

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How to Become a Marine Biologist

marine biologist

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree with courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and zoology is required. Many employer’s prefer an applicant have a master’s degree specializing in marine biology and aquatic studies or courses in your specific focus of interest. It is also becoming more common to be asked for a doctorate degree.

Job Description of a Marine Biologist

A marine biologist observes and studies the animals and plants that inhabit the ocean. A marine biologist has so many areas of specialized fields that each one carries it’s own title, but all of them study the organisms in the water, to include marine animal life. A marine biologist may work ion a ship, beach, or salt marsh in order to do scientific research properly. They may also conduct studies and research in a laboratory to observe and record animals in tanks or view tiny organisms under a microscope.

In zoos or aquariums, they take care of marine animal life and observe their reactions to the environment and their behavior patterns. They assess their needs to be sure they are healthy and thriving. A marine biologist may scuba dive for specimens. They may be interested in studying larger marine animal life such as sharks, whales, seals or other sea life that is not so noticeable, like the sea’s coral. They also study the fluctuation of specific fish and their populations.

A marine biologist might also specialize in studying the of complex chemical make-up of marine toxins and their impact of the environment along with how the weather impacts sea life. They usually work with other scientists, engineers, technicians, or environmental agencies. He or she may teach in a university or college or act as a consultant for various agencies, like government.

Marine Biologist Career Video Transcript

As a marine biologist, we get to study the ocean and all the animals and creatures that live in it. The most fun parts of my job are that I’m going to see something and learn something new every day and that I get to travel I get to meet wonderful people who are also excited about what we’re doing.

My favorite creature is certainly the cowrie, which is a type of snail. I mean they’re spectacular and they’re beautiful. They’re very shiny and most snails aren’t as shiny or maybe they’re only shiny in the middle where the animal comes out. It’s because the animal comes and covers the whole animal when it’s alive so it makes the shell nice and smooth. Each of these different looking ones are different species and they all have slightly different habitats that they live in, different preference, different things that they like to eat. So you can tell from the smallest to the largest and yet they are in the same family.

If you’re interested in pursuing marine biology or any kind of bio diversity study, I would encourage everybody to just get out and walk around and observe the environment. Take the time to stop, look, and ask questions. The fun part about science is that we’re still finding and learning and discovering new things about the ocean about almost any place on the planet and so there’s a lot of opportunity to explore.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists.

National Center for O*NET Development. 19-1020.01. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the Public Domain and originally hosted on Kids.gov which is now USA.gov, an interagency product administered by USAGov, a division of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service.