Subject: Re: Whales

Kim Marshall (kim@whale.org)
Mon, 7 Sep 1998 11:53:33 -0400

Question:

>Kim, this past summer my family  and I went whale watching I was very

>interested in learning more about whales if you could give me free

>information about them I would greatly appreciate it. I would also
like

>to work with whales someday  could you tell me what the=20

>profession is called?    Thanks for your time sincerely,

>                               Renee Weczorek=20


Reply:

The following is information that I have copied for you from a career
guide to the field of marine biology that will provide you with general
information about whales and give you an idea of what you need to do if
you want to work with whales in the future.


I also suggest searching WhaleNet's other pages for more detailed
information on whales.  Good luck! Kim


<bold><underline><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param><bigger>STRATEGIES
=46OR PURSUING A CAREER IN MARINE MAMMAL
SCIENCE</bigger></fontfamily><bigger><fontfamily><param>Times</param>

</fontfamily></bigger></underline></bold><bigger><fontfamily><param>Times</p=
aram>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>The following is
available (with active links) from
http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~smm/</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>

</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>----------------------------=
-------------------------------------------</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>T=
imes</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>The field of marine
mammal science has a growing appeal. Yet, many students do not clearly
understand what the field involves.  This brochure addresses questions
commonly asked by people seeking a career in marine mammal science in
the United States and provides suggestions on how to plan education and
work experience.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>What is marine mammal
science?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>There are about 100
species of aquatic or marine mammals that depend on fresh water or the
ocean for part or all of their life. These species include pinnipeds,
which are seals, sea lions, fur seals and walrus; cetaceans, which are
baleen and toothed whales, ocean and river dolphins, and porpoises;
sirenians, which are manatees and dugongs; and some carnivores, such as
sea otters and polar bears.  Marine mammal scientists try to understand
these animals' genetic, systematic, and evolutionary relationships;
population structure; community dynamics; anatomy and physiology;
behavior and sensory abilities; parasites and diseases; geographic and
microhabitat distributions; ecology; management; and
conservation.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>How difficult is it to
pursue a career in marine mammal
science?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>Working with marine
mammals is appealing because of strong public interest in these animals
and because the work is personally rewarding. However, competition for
positions is keen.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>There are no specific
statistics available on employment of students trained as marine mammal
scientists. However, in 1990 the National Science Board reported some
general statistics for employment of scientists within the US: 75% of
scientists with B.S. degrees were employed (43% of them held positions
in science or engineering), 20% were in graduate school, and 5% were
unemployed.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>Marine mammal
scientists are hired because of their skills as scientists, not because
they like or want to work with marine mammals. A strong academic
background in basic sciences, such as biology, chemistry, and physics,
coupled with good training in mathematics and computers, is the best
way to prepare for a career in marine mammal science. Persistence and
diverse experiences make the most qualified individuals. Often
developing a specialized scientific skill or technique, such as
acoustics analysis, biostatistics, genetic analysis, or biomolecuIar
analyses, provides a competitive
edge.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>What are typical
salaries in marine mammal
careers?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>Marine mammal
scientists enter this field for the satisfaction of the work, not for
the money-making potential of the career. Salaries vary greatly among
marine mammal scientists, with government and industry jobs having the
highest pay. Salary levels will increase with years of experience and
graduate degrees, but generally remain low considering the amount of
experience and education needed.  High competition in this field most
likely will keep salaries at a modest level.  A 1990 survey of 1,234
mammalogists conducted by the American Society of Mammalogists
indicated that 42.7% of the respondents earned >$40,000/year. The
salary range that included the most respondents (21.2%) was the
$30,000-$40,000 range.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>What types of jobs
involve marine mammals?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>Most jobs with marine
mammals are not as exciting or glamorous as popular television programs
make them seem.  Marine mammal studies often involve long, hard, soggy,
sunburned days at sea, countless hours in a laboratory, extensive work
on computers, hard labor such as hauling buckets of fish to feed
animals, hours of cleanup, numerous reports, tedious grant applications
and permit applications.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>As in other fields of
science, jobs dealing with marine mammals vary widely. Examples of
marine mammal jobs include researcher, field biologist, fishery vessel
observer, laboratory technician, animal trainer, animal care
specialist, veterinarian, whalewatch guide, naturalist, educator at any
level and government or private agency positions in legislative,
management, conservation, and animal welfare issues.  Many marine
mammal scientists work with museum displays and collections, as a
curator, an artist, an illustrator, a photographer, or a film
maker.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>Answers to the
following questions will help focus interests and indicate which marine
mammal scientists and facilities to contact for education, work
experience, and job
opportunities.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>1) What specific areas
are of interest, e.g. anatomy, physiology, evolution, taxonomy,
ecology, ethology, psychology, molecular biology, genetics, veterinary
medicine, pathology, toxicology, biostatistics, management,
conservation, museum curation, or
education?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>2) What species or
group of marine mammals is of interest, e.g. cetaceans, sirenians or
marine carnivores?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>3) Is a career involved
in field or laboratory work
desired?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>4) Is a career involve
with care of animals, teaching, research, or legislative/policy matters
wanted?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>5) Is working for
government, industry, academia, oceanaria, museums, private
organizations, or self-employment
best?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>6) In what part of the
world is work desired?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>For example, the
manatee is an endangered species in Florida.  They have a high
mortality rate because of accidental entrapment in flood control gates,
collisions with speed boats, and loss of habitat.  Local, state, and
federal governments fund research on this species. Some local
industries also are involved with management of manatees. Therefore,
people wanting to study manatees most likely should look for education
and work experience at universities and research facilities in
=46lorida.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>Who employs marine
mammal scientists?</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>A variety of
international, federal, state, and local government agencies employ
marine mammal scientists for positions in research, education,
management, and legal/policy development.  U.S. federal agencies
include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National
Marine Fisheries Service, Minerals Management Service, US Fish &
Wildlife Service, US National Biological Service, US Navy, Office of
Naval Research, Coast Guard, and Marine Mammal Commission.  Other
=46ederal agencies that work on marine-related issues include the
National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental
Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics
and Space Administration, Department of State, and Smithsonian
Institution.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Palatino</param>When oceanic
operations, such as oil and gas exploration, production, and
transportation, affect marine mammals these industries often hires
marine mammal experts. Because commercial fishing operations can
conflict with marine mammal conservation, some fishing organizations
hire marine mammal scientists. Many environmental, advocacy, and animal
welfare organizations hire marine mammal specialists.  Oceanaria and
zoos hire marine mammal specialists for veterinary care, husbandry,
training, research, and education programs. Museums hire marine mammal
specialists for educational programs, research, and curatorial
positions.</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Times</param>

</fontfamily></bigger> =20




<italic><fontfamily><param>Courier</param>Kim Marshall-Tilas          =20
                       (781) 259-0423

Whale Conservation Institute                          fax: 259-0288

191 Weston Road                      website: http://www.whale.org/

Lincoln, MA  01773

WCI is a member funded and focused organization.  Membership has

its privileges . . .</fontfamily></italic>