Marine Environmental Protection students research project in the Cayman Islands.
Ever wondered what it’s like to go away on a marine research project? My mate Joe documented his time in the Cayman Islands doing reef surveys and general joviality.
Coral reef surveys are intensive and you need to know your stuff, from coral species to fish families, but spending so much time down there, you never know what you’re going to see!
You guys ask me for tips on getting employed. I can’t do better than this!
Yep - get more experience!
Going back to school is a worthy investment, but not the only route you can take. Plus, you would gain so much more from higher education if you were taking the course with purpose and direction.
Volunteer, take an internship, get that experience so you can say “No I don’t have a masters, I have all this awesome hands on, practical, and excellent experience”. Ask if any local labs or field stations need help. Do a project overseas (ahem Zoox ahem).
It’s not an easy thing to do, to put yourself out there voluntarily, especially if you have a job and bills to pay already, but the investment you put into yourself and your skills now will pay off.
Hi Anon, Don’t freak out. Nothing is beyond repair, just maybe a slightly different path to what you originally intended. Now, it all depends on what sort of marine biologist you want to be. I can’t help you with that. What I can say is try and make up for your grades with practical experience. Get some lab or field work in you, volunteer for anything relevant. Basically, prove your worth with successful experience rather than your grades. Make sure you network, meet people in the field you want to be in. Ask their advice. Don’t have a chip on your shoulder about your grades. It’ll hold you back. Accept them, and move forward! Remember just because you’re not doing exactly what you planned doesn’t mean that it isn’t a success!
Yes ‘everyone’ says this. They told me this too. I think many of us forget how immense the ocean and its life are, an therefore how broad the term “marine biologist” is. Technically the term means someone studying (i.e. researching) the biology of organisms in the marine environment. There’s lots of organisms and there’s lots of different marine environments! Maybe you are studying Cephalopoda in the deep sea, or maybe you’re working with gobies on a rocky shore, or sea birds and mangroves…there is a long list of research. But research isn’t the only thing you can do with a marine biology degree. Maybe you’ll work in education, or in environmental consultancy, or marine conservation. The skills you will learn are transferable to other fields. So there is no real answer to that question, and generally it IS hard to get a job in these economic climes. My advice, as always, is do something you love. You’ll be more interested and do better at it. But things aren’t gonna fall into your lap just because you worked hard at school. Seek opportunity, volunteer, take internships. It will help you focus you’re interests and build a network of contacts. And tell ‘everyone’ to sod off. We’ve all heard it before.
Tough question! I imagine most of your specimens come to you frozen or preserved. Fisheries management and conservation requires genetic analysis to determine distinct populations and reproductive habits, so as long as you are collecting the samples you’d be with the animals.
I suggest asking around, trying to contact the authors of journal articles you are interested them. Try for concise and direct questions. People are busy, they won’t give time to reply to basic, wikipedia-able questions, so do your research.
Good luck, it might not be straightforward at first, but I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities there!
How far does the future of this career go? How deep is the sea? There is still so much to learn, study, research, protect! Everyday we lean new things from and about our ocean. I’m sure there’s a cross over between biomedicine and marine biology. A coral reef is like the rainforest - millions of things left to learn and medicinal uses are already being investigated. I don’t know much about biomedicine but I’ll open it up to the followers who are themselves an infinite source of information! Anyone got any more advice?
I’ve been involved with a lot of different conservation projects over the last year. Currently I’m Programmes Officer for a marine conservation internship company called ‘Zoox’. I supervise our volunteers, make notes for professional feedback and oversee the work experience side of their internship, which is working with a project called Green Fins - which provides environmental standards and training for the diving industry.
Daily, I might be scuba diving, or presenting to dive center staff. I could be working with one of the volunteers on one of their personal projects, providing advice and support. I send and receive a lot of emails, have my hand in writing grant proposals and articles for magazines, updating our social media…. what ever needs to be done!
Every day is different for me. It’s fantastic!
I loved the practical experience - the field trips, the lab work opportunities I got with external institutions like the Marine Biological Association and Plymouth Marine Labs. I liked a lot of things about the Uni itself, though after so much time it’s hard to pinpoint the good or the bad. I LOVED the weather. Mild(er) winters, blissful summers (when the sun is out), and … ok the wind and sideways rain wasn’t always great.
I would highly recommend going to the open days of the Uni’s you’ve gotten offers from. I had my heart set on another University, but when I arrived to look at Plymouth, I knew it was the right place for me. Sometimes you just know, you know.