Hi Anon’s and g-g-g-,
Thanks for your questions. Let me start with a bombshell. There is no such thing as a “marine biologist”. Let me put the way Eugene Kaplan does in ‘Sensuous Seas’:
One can be a marine invertebrate zoologist (worms, clams and crabs), a marine icthyologist (fishes, or even a marine phycologist (algae, seaweed). Within these speciailties one can study the ecology, behaviour, physiology, taxonomy, and so on of one’s chose group of organisms. The marine scientist usually dedicates his life to the study of one type of organism, like sharks, and one kind of intellectual quest, like tracing the migration patterns of different sharks”.
When you study marine biology, you get a taste of the different animals, and the different biological or ecological aspects of the different animals. It’s then up to you what you do with the degree.
Anon #1: Rumour has it that it’s hard to get a job as a marine biologist ie. someone who studies marine animals. But I have a marine biology degree and I work in a slightly separate field, marine conservation… there’s always jobs. It just depends where you want to go with your marine biology skills after University. You don’t have to stay strictly in the science field if it is hard to find work. The skills you learn are transferable between fields, as they are with any degree.
Anon #2: Scuba diving - giving me a 45 minute peek under the sea. And when I teach environmental issues, and someone changes their attitude for the better. For example, I taught a local fishermen’s association in Philippines about coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass and how they are all connected and how they benefit the local community, and after they said they wanted to get involved with beach clean ups and mangrove replantation.
Anon #3: I’m afraid I’m not the right person to ask about US college courses. In the UK we get much less choice as to what modules we need to take to get the credits to pass. BUT, I have amazing followers who fill in the gaps for me. Can anyone help?
Games-geeks-girls: Sounds like marine conservation is the general direction you want to head. I’m not talking about Sea Shepard/ activism which what many people still view “conservation” as, unless that’s your thing. I’m talking about using your knowledge to help install realistic and sustainable use of marine resources. Any kind of marine conservation initiative should be based on good science e.g. protecting an area of coral reef that is a source of coral larvae, breeding grounds etc. However this needs to be supplemented by gaining support of the local government and communities which takes diplomacy, people skills, project management and monitoring. It’s a multi-skilled field. Gone are the days when all you need is science. And as the world is realising how important the oceans are to everyday life, even those land-locked, the field is expanding in a big way.
I listed my favourite parts above, and the ‘yucky’ part is being directly exposed to the threats and attitudes that threaten the environment. However, that is the inspiration I need to power through and not give up!
Hope that helps guys! Thanks for the awesome questions. Keep them coming!
- soimarriedanaxmurderer said: About a degree in the US: You don’t necessarily get a degree specifically in marine bio, but rather in biology with a concentration in marine science or something similar. Some colleges do offer a marine bio degree, but it’s usually just “bio major with tons of ocean-related…
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- thesmileoctopus said: It doesn’t hurt to be SCUBA certified, boat driving certified, lab safety certified, fishing licensed… but, I mean, my US college program has no required certs. It’s mostly regular bio. You have to find your niche and do what you can to develop.
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