There are thousands of different kinds of jobs that one could do as a marine
biologist. It could mean working with whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions,
any kind of fish, molluscs, plankton, even bacteria which are found in the
deep sea hot springs! The jobs could be indoors or outdoors, usually some of
both, and of course could take place anywhere in the world where there is an
ocean. At least 150 countries and island states have marine coastlines.
Some of the actual jobs include: whale watch guide or naturalist, teacher or
professor, marine veterinarian, field biologist, laboratory technician,
government researcher, government manager, conservationist, writer,
broadcaster. Many marine biologists do several of the above during their
career, as well as many other things.
The amount of schooling you need depends upon what you eventually want to do
in the above list but a university course which includes marine biology
courses will start you out on the right track. However, a broad education is
extremely useful and it should include a wide range of courses at every
level. Not all marine biologists have PhDs but many find it useful for
obtaining certain jobs.
Probably the most important thing is enthusiasm, raw drive, and dedication.
In my own career, I started in the early 1970s as a film maker and my
introduction to marine biology was being asked to film orcas in the wild as
part of a film crew. First we had to find them and learn about them. I ended
up spending a whole summer living with 3 pods or family groups of orcas and
going back (off northern Vancouver island) to see them for 7 summers
thereafter, finally writing a book and many articles about them. My income
came from survey work, selling my writing and photography on whales, but in
the early years I lived mainly on enthusiasm.
The pay can vary tremendous from volunteer work to $100,000 a year or more.
According to a 1990 survey of mammalogists in the US, nearly half were
earning more than $40,000 a year while 1/5 earned between $30,000 and
I hope this helps. If you or your school would like a little booklet on
strategies for pursuing a career in marine mammal science, I would be happy
to send you a copy if you send your address. As I live in Scotland, it may
take a week to arrive by mail.
Good luck on your project and in your career!
>From: "sara shannon" <email@example.com>
>Subject: please read this a.s.a.p
>Date: Thu, Jan 6, 2000, 11:46 PM
> Hi, my name is Sara and i'm doing a report on what I want to be
> when i grow up. I want to be a Marine Biologist. And i was hoping that you
> could send me some information on what they do, what kind of schooling you
> need, and how much do you get payed EXT. thanks for your time and hpoe to
> hear from you real soon!
> p.s. I heard that you spent 7 summers with orcas! that is really cool.
> I saw then when I went to Sea World in Florida.
> Thanks Sara from the CMS (Cloquet Middel School)
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