Marine Biology

Kamryn Stitz

"Marine biology is the study of life in the oceans and other saltwater environments such as estuaries and wetlands. All plant and animal life forms are included from the microscopic picoplankton all the way to the majestic blue whale, the largest creature in the sea..."

Some interesting facts...

  • Oceans cover around 71% of the Earth's surface
  • Less than 10% of ocean space has been explored
  • Marine biologists identify animal species, analyze biological data and plant life, research the effects on the environment, and provide the public with new findings
  • Marine biologists can focus their study on a certain species
  • As of 2 years ago there were 226,408 named marine species - it is estimated that there are around 750,000 marine species (50% of the 1.5 million known species on Earth)

"And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came."

- John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy's America's Cup speech in 1962 and JPK DD850

The Career...

Marine Biology is a very broad, diverse career.

Job Description

A marine scientist can be employed by either government agencies, industry organizations, or private companies. The job description varies by workplace. For instance, one marine scientist could analyze marine water for contamination, but another could create useful products out of marine plants. Also, a marine scientist could find work at an aquarium or zoo. In this type of environment they could conduct studies, or aid the marine life. In addition, one could work as a professor at a university and conduct research.
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  • Bachelor's degree in either marine biology or another marine science (fisheries or zoology)
  • Certain topics - oceanography, toxicology, biostatistics, and aquatic animal biology
  • Along with basics in biology, physics, and chemistry
  • Advanced degrees - master's or doctorate program in marine biology may be preferred by some employers - marine ecology, marine mammal physiology - specialized expertise in marine topics - programs often require research projects, and a thesis
  • Research program for working with marine mammals can be found at universities such as University of Hawaii and UC Santa Cruz - ecology, ethology, taxonomy and systematics
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Median salary - $51,180

Lifetime earnings - $2,137,000

  • Highly competitive
  • Right out of college - $30,000
  • Doctorate - $80,000 plus
  • Private firms tend to make more than government agencies
  • Location is everything

Marine scientists have a rewarding job. They help the environment, and aid the future.

Typical Day

An average day varies for every marine biologist, which is a wonderful thing. Some typical days may include:

  • Diving and exploring coral reefs
  • Examining water samples
  • Going out on boats or ships
  • Working in a laboratory with samples
  • Publicate findings
  • Teaching or guiding students in research
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The entire Pixar staff had to take a class in Marine Biology before creating Finding Nemo.