Interview with marine biologist

From: Jennifer Philips (
Date: Mon May 07 2001 - 23:59:41 EDT

Hello. My friend and i are doing an oral project on marine biology and we
trying to find out different information on the career marine biology. we
were wondering if we could ask you a couple of questions because we wanted
interview a marine biologists but slight problemo we live in New Jersey and
there is not very many know Marine biologists around here we have deadlines
for this project and we were wondering if we could interview u by e-mail?
here goes our questions..

What college did u go to and what courses did u take in order to become a
marine biologists?
> I got by Bachelors degree in Biology at University of California, Santa
Cruz and my Master's degree in Psychology at University of Hawaii, Manoa. I
am currently working on my PhD. I took courses of all kinds, ranging from
biology, chemistry, physics and calculus to developmental psychology,
cognitive psychology, animal behavior and bioacoustics.

What made u want to become one?
>When I was a kid I had a fascination with marine life and the oceans. I
also had an aptitude for science and math, which drove me to pursue a career
in science.

Do u like your job?
>Yes. I enjoy the challenges involved in scientific investigation, and the
fascinating discoveries that are to be made.

what exactly do u do?
>Right now, I am developing a new research project with walruses, writing a
journal article for publication, and working on my PhD program, including
studying for comprehensive examinations. In general, my job usually involves
some aspects of designing and conducting research projects with marine
mammals on subjects of bioacoustics (or sounds and hearing), analyzing
experimental data, writing journal articles, attending conferences to
present new research findings, taking and teaching courses, and mentoring
younger students.

What was your starting salery?
>A marine biologist with a PhD will usually make about $30,000 to $40,000.

how much do u get paid now?
>As a doctoral candidate, I make a little less than that.

Are the oceans/water animals different in Hawaii than anywere else?
>Some of the marine mammals that are around the Hawaiian islands are unique
to the islands, such as the Hawaiian Monk Seal. Others, like the humpback
whale, the bottlenose dolphin, and others, are found in other areas around
the world. But, the islands are very unique in general because they remained
isolated from other lands for hundreds of thousands of years, if not more.
Many species of birds and fishes emerged in the islands that cannot be found
anywhere else in the world.

What is your favorite part of studying marine biology?
>Running experiments and analyzing data. I love the idea of discovering
something new about something that no one knew before.

Do you work solo as a marine biologists or with alot of people?
>That varies. At times I will work for days alone, analyzing data or
writing. Other times, I spend much more time interacting with my colleagues
at work or at conferences. That is another aspect of the job that I enjoy -
the fact that the working conditions are extremely varied.

We read that marine biologists make substances from sea elements to help
humans from sicknesses is that true?
>I don't know. My work is with marine mammals, so my knowledge of other
aspects of marine biology are limited.

I would recommend that you explore the careers section of the Whalenet
website (
for more information on careers in marine biology. You'll find good
resources developed by a variety of authorities on the subject. They should
give you different perspectives for your project. The
website is particularly good for providing interviews with marine biologists
of many different types of specializations.

Good luck on your project!
Jen Philips

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