Subject: Killer Whales

Martine Berube (
Tue, 21 Oct 1997 15:54:42 -0700

Quesstion: >I am only a 12 year old kid but I am very interested in Killer
Whales. I have
>a few questions... 1. how do you pernounce their scientific name?

Answer: Orcinus orca

Question> 2. I want to be a Marine Bio. when I grow up what do you
>think the chances of getting that posistion.

Answer:  I have to say that it is quite difficult to find positions as a
Marine Biologist. Most people that have succeed as a researcher have
started as a volunter or worked for very little money. This is not a career
where you can earn a lot of money but there is other side to it which are
worth more than money. That is my point of view, of course. I have been a
field marine biologist and I am now working mainly in the lab. The two
areas are quite different. To be on the field, you have to love being out
at sea under all kind of weather conditions and most of the time for long
hours. These long hours, however, are being rewarded when you are finally
with the animal you are studying. The same goes for the lab work, you have
to work weeks and months and even years to create the data you need to
answer a question, then months to analyse them and finally you get to some
very exiting results which enable you to learn about the species and share
the information with the rest of the scientific community. In both cases, a
good part of your time is devoted at finding money to support your work.
Collection the data in the field as well as doing laboratory analysis are
time and money consumming.
Today, because of the competition (which is present in any field), it is
better to persue your education at the Master level. Also, try to get some
experience as a volunter or if you are lucky with a good summer job. If you
are not too tired of the University, a Ph.D is also a good idea. However,
there are more biologists, Masters or Ph.D's that there are jobs, so be
There are many options in the field of marine biologist but not many paying
jobs. If you are serious about your choice and are not afraid of the
challenge, go for it, it is worth the effort.
Good luck,

Martine Berube
Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of California
Irvine, CA, 92697-2525