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The work of a marine biologist is crucial to understanding the existence of so many amazing creatures we don’t see. But it isn’t only limited to learning about sea creatures, it also explores different plant life and so on. If you have a natural affinity towards marine life, you may want to read this blog to know if becoming a marine biologist is your cup of tea.
But before we learn more about this profession, let’s understand what marine biology is.
What is Marine Biology?
Marine biology is the study of marine life- how they behave and interact with their corresponding environments, in this case, wetlands, estuaries, oceans, and seas. Marine life is not only limited to whales, dolphins, orcas, and sharks, it includes everything from microscopic phytoplankton to all kinds of plant life.
It also includes a variety of disciplines such as biological oceanography, astronomy, cellular biology, geology, ecology, molecular biology, physical oceanography, zoology, chemistry, and more.
The life of a marine biologist is extremely exciting and challenging at the same time. It is based on a well-defined scientific method akin to other kinds of scientific disciplines. The only goal of all scientific disciplines like that of marine biology is to get to the truth. And one of the primary ways to get to this truth is by observation and experimentation.
Some of the steps used in marine biology to achieve this end-goal are-
- Characterization (observation)
Subfields of marine biology
The ocean covers approximately 70% of the earth and that is why our planet is referred to as the ‘blue planet’. Given the extent of marine life, scientists believe that they have till now been able to explore only 5% of it. If you are deeply pondering about marine biology education and training, you should know that it includes several sub-fields such as-
- Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Environmental Marine Biology
- Deep-sea ecology
- Marine mammology
- Marine ethology
What does a marine biologist do?
- A marine biologist goes underwater and observes marine creatures in their natural environment.
- They study and sometimes even video the behavior and physiology of the creatures.
- They also carry out species inventory, monitor whether they have been exposed to any harmful pollutant. If so, they would collect a sample of the pollutant and carry it back to the labs for further research.
- Additionally, a marine biologist also evaluates and maps the distribution of the marine population and preserves samples of new and undiscovered species.
The job demand for a marine biologist is high, but the actual availability is pretty low. This is because it is a popular choice amongst the driven youth these days, especially with more awareness of environmental issues. To bag the role in reputed organizations, you need to have a good balance of certain inherent skills and some learned abilities to make your profile strong amongst millions.
- A genuine interest in the marine environment and wildlife creatures
- Logical thinking for practical fieldwork
- Patience and eye for details
- An affinity for numbers and statistics
- Excellent communications skills (both written and oral)
- Flexibility and enthusiasm to work outdoors in challenging weather conditions
- Writing skills (journalistic as well as science communications)
- Understanding of legislation and policy in the marine field
- Math skills
- Leadership qualities
- The ability to head and manage a project
What subjects will I learn?
As an aspiring marine biologist enrolled in a Bachelor’s program, here are the subjects that you will be taught-
- Fundamentals of Marine Ecology
- Chemical Oceanography
- Marine Geology
- Botany and Zoology
- Biology of Marine Organisms
- Fundamentals of Fishery Science
- Marine Pollution
- Marine Pharmacology
The same when opting for a Master’s program will comprise the following subject areas-
- Marine chemistry
- Marine microbiology
- Marine biochemistry
- Marine ecology practical
- Dynamic oceanography
- Marine microbiology practical
- Marine biology dissertation
If you have made up your mind to become a marine biologist then that’s the first hurdle you have crossed to accomplish your goal. The next hurdle waits wherein you need to browse through the list of the best universities worldwide and decide where you want to get your education and training as a marine biologist.
To help you make your decision we have a lost of top colleges that are best for marine biology-
- ETH Zurich, Switzerland
- Harvard University, USA
- University of California, LA
- Columbia University, USA
- University of California, San Diego, USA
- The Australian National University, Australia
- University of California, Davis, USA
- The University of Melbourne, Australia
- The University of Tokyo, Japan
- University of Leeds, UK
- Princeton University, USA
What are the application requirements?
To apply for a course in marine biology, you will need to have a few documents in place.
- You will need to complete your 10+2 level education in science with biology, preferably as one of your subjects.
- If you are planning to apply for a Master’s degree, you will need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology, Marine Science, or Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis.
- Proof of language proficiency (IELTS/TOEFL)
- Your relevant test scores (GRE/GMAT)
- Your statement of purpose
- Letters of recommendation
How much does it cost to become a Marine Biologist?
The cost of your degree in marine biology will depend on the country, the university, the type of program you are applying for.
However, saying that, you can expect the average cost of your degree to be around $30,179 for an undergraduate program and $23,127 for a graduate program.
Marine Biologist jobs
Once you have received your degree and have become a marine biologist on paper, here are the few positions you can apply for-
- Professional marine biologist
- Fisheries biologist
- Biological Technician
- Aquatic Biologist
- Reef Restoration Manager
Some common employers of marine biologists are-
- Research bodies in higher academic institutions
- Commercial fisheries
- Environmental consultancies
- Non-governmental organizations
- Advisory bodies
- Offshore gas and oil exploration companies
- Government-backed environmental bodies
We hope you enjoyed this blog, Don’t forget to comment below and share your thoughts! You can get in touch with us if you have any doubts.
Liked this blog? Read next: Marine Engineering | 5 Best colleges you must know about!
Q1. What kind of professional experience is required for marine biology?
Answer– A career in marine biology will mostly be research-oriented and will cause a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, internship experiences gained during your study from reputed government or private organizations will widen your career prospects later when you venture into the field for more stable and permanent employment.
Q2. What is the salary offered to a marine biologist?
Answer– The average salary of a marine biologist annually is $52,167.
Q3. Is marine biology a difficult career path?
Answer– The profile of a marine biologist is an exciting career path for those who love research, travel, and who love to work offshore. Also, those who love marine life, and most importantly, are sensitive towards issues of climate change and environmental pollution. A very dynamic role, the only downside to a career as a marine biologist is that availability of vacancies is limited and the number of applicants is high. However, if you have the talent and your application exudes genuine enthusiasm and sincerity, you are bound to bag your dream role wherever you apply.