Subject: Marine Mammology Prepatory Coursework

Phil Colla (pcolla@cts.com)
Mon, 23 Feb 1998 18:38:32 -0800

>I am about to start High School and next week we have to sign up for the
>courses we are going to take for are future career. What are the courses I
>need to sign up for to become a Marine Mammologist?

In high school, try to take at least BIOLOGY, CHEMISTRY, PHYSICS and MATH.
Take as much as you can, because all of these disciplines are helpful for
whatever career you might pursue in the sciences.  Most specifically:

You need to be proficient in the biological sciences.  This is the most
important, so take as much BIOLOGY coursework as you can.  When in college,
you would continue by taking related courses such as MICRO BIOLOGY,
MARINE BIOLOGY, Animal or Mammalian PHYSIOLOGY and some CHEMISTRY.

Science requires you to formulate hypotheses and attempt to
prove them, usually using mathematics and statistics and, often,
computers.  So, consider learning about:

  MATH (algebra, trigonometry, calculus, vector math, and beyond)
  COMPUTER SCIENCE (including some practice PROGRAMMING)
  STATISTICS and PROBABILITY

Lastly, to understand how marine mammals relate to their physical
world (the ocean), you will need an understanding of

  PHYSICS
  OCEANOGRAPHY

Some of these courses you may not encounter until college.  But if
you have them available to you as a high school student, take advantage
of them as much as you can.

You should be able to find interesting summer school courses by
contacting marine science institutions, such as Woods Hole (Massachusetts)
and Scripps Institute of Oceanography (California).  (There a many others
too.)

See also "Strategies for Pursuing a Career in Marine Mammalogy," which is
written for students by the Society for Marine Mammalogy:

http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~smm/strat.htm

Phil Colla


-----------------------------------------------------
Phil Colla, pcolla@cts.com
Humpback Whales: http://www.earthwindow.com/hwrf