Becoming a Marine Biologist

Marine Biologists study ocean ecology as well as aquatic life. They analyze varieties of plants, fishes, marine mammals, and other wildlife that inhabit in the oceans. They collect biological data about plant and animal species, and observe the structure of communities of marine organisms. They provide information and recommendations for the development of marine conservation and harvesting policies, including aquaculture. They also write scientific reports on research, investigations, and more general information in the areas of marine ecology, conservation, behavior, and physiology of marine organisms.  While some of these professionals are specialized working with marine mammals like whales, dolphins etc., others focus on the activities and habitats of marine plant life or microscopic organisms.

Work Environment

Marine Biologists may be employed by government agencies, private companies and industry organizations, and the jobs they do may differ according to the setting. They may also be employed by universities and other institutions to perform research in related field. They may spend significant amounts of time at sea on a research ship. Most of these professionals work full time.

Educational Requirement

To become a Marine Biologist, the aspiring candidates need to complete at least a four-year bachelor’s degree in marine ecology, marine biology, wildlife biology, or related field, such as ecology. A master’s degree is required at higher level investigative or scientific work, while a Ph.D. is necessary for research positions in this profession.

The course work includes cellular biology, ecology, anatomy, genetics, animal behavior, environment, statistics, wildlife management, applied techniques in habitat analysis and conservation etc.

Marine Biologists can obtain certification from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, or the American Academy of Underwater Sciences.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities for Marine Biologists may rise 4% from 2014 to 2024. The average annual salary of a Marine Biologist was $59, 680 in May, 2015.