marine biologist (fwd)

From: Mike Williamson (
Date: Thu Mar 02 2000 - 10:27:42 EST

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 06:36:29 -0500
From: Peter M Scheifele <>
Subject: On becoming a marine biologist

Hello Alice

Marine biology seems to be a popular career choice with people although
very few understand what it really entails. Marine biology does not
necessarily mean marine mammalogy. It is one narrow aspect of marine
science which includes marine chemistry and (my favorite, since I am one)
physical oceanography, marine geology and biological oceanography. In my
case, I am a marine bioacoustician who works with marine mammals
exclusively but that's even narrower.

To be good at any science your first priority in academics should be the
pursuit of mathematics and statistics since those skills will be the
major part of your ability to conduct analysis. Next, your writen and
oral skills. If you cannot write well or convey your ideas and research
to others you will not be able to get grants (which is your pay) very
easily. Finally, aside of special subjects in marine bio you need to be
well-rounded and knowledgeable about geography and history. These days
you'll find the gret need to be very good with computers, not only with
word processing, spreadsheet, databases and presentation software but
with programming languages as well.

I'm not sure there is an exact salary to quote you as a marine biologist.
 This is a good question to ask the visiting biologist at your school.
In general the salary will be detrmined by your employer and your
position. If you get a masters and/or a PhD and work at a university
then your salary will include teaching. Mostly you'll have to write
research proposals and seek grants. If you work for the government
(National Marine Fisheries Service, for instance) your salary will be
fixed. Whether or not you'll need a side job will depend on your

You should ask the visiting biologist to explain the difference between
marine biology and bioloical oceanography and also discuss the curren job
market and hi/her predictions for the future.

For now, if you're interested in marine mammals you should volunteer at a
local aquarium if possible. I have 2 publications that I could send you,
one one working with marine mammals as a vocation and the other on being
a marine scientist. Send me yur address and Ill send them to you then we
canspeak a bit more.

Good Luck!


On Wed, 1 Mar 2000 20:04:08 -0800 "Ralph Marshall" <>
> Hi, I'm in 9th grade and I was wondering, what subjects do you have
> to be good at besides Biology to become a Marine Biologist? If I
> become a Marine Biologist which I plan on, what's the typical
> salary, and will I have to have a side job? There's a Marine
> Biologist coming to my high school sometime, what questions should I
> ask him? What can I do now to work with marine mammals? My e-mail
> addresses are or
> -Alice-

Peter M. Scheifele
129 Hunters Road, Norwich, CT 06360

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