What is Marine Biology?
Marine biology is the study of ocean life – organisms and ecosystems in saltwater environments. Marine scientists study interactions between marine plants, marine animals and coastal areas and the atmosphere. Marine biology is a broad term which includes many specialisations.
What does a Marine Biologist do?
The job is research based, so research projects are the main focus (as well as ocean education). These involve collecting specimens at sea, compiling research data, and laboratory-based experiments. Research areas may include human impact on reef systems, migration patterns and the underwater ecosystem.
Where could I work?
Marine Biologists can work in many research and education specialisations. These include conservation and marine parks, fisheries and the fishing industry, planning and management, universities, museums, marine science institutions, power generation (sustainable please!), engineering and consulting government and industry.
- Developing, planning and carrying out experiments
- Operating tracking technology, fishing nets, sonar and remotely operated vehicles.
- Using specialist computer software to aid data interpretation
- Writing research papers and reports.
- Patience and determination
- Excellent problem-solving skills
- Finding solutions to challenges whilst out on the ocean – sea legs required!
- Practical skills – boat handling, scuba diving and first aid knowledge
- Thorough attention to detail
- Team working and interpersonal skills
Marine Biologists rarely work alone. They therefore need to be able to work as part of a team and communicate well with everyone. Communication and coordination are key attributes.
Marine Biologists spend extended periods of time observing and studying ocean life. Therefore, they need a passion for this in order to generate new ideas for research and understandings about how sea life works.
Excellent research means analysing in a new or insightful manner so Marine Biologists need to be able to decide which analytic methods would prove most useful to a particular set of data.
A degree in marine science, biology, geology, ecology, oceanography or zoology is usually required, followed by a Masters to work in a research position. Many marine biologists collaborate with universities and also teach when not out working on research projects in the field, whilst others work for consultancies, coastal authorities, charities and aquariums.
Where can I study Marine Biology in Queensland?
- University of Queensland
- James Cook University
- Griffith University
- Southern Cross University (external studies)
Check out our fascinating Marine Biologist for A Day programs to get things rolling…