Subject: education

Phil Clapham (
Fri, 05 Feb 1999 07:28:16 -0500


For this career, as much biology as possible is ideal.  You don't NEED
to be great at math to be a biologist (you can always find a pet
mathematician when you need one!) but there's no doubt that having a
good math background helps in any science.  If your high school offers a
statistics course, take it - this is the branch of math that biologists
use most in their research.

Typical day: depends rather on what sort of work you do.  For me it used
to be spending a lot of time in the field working with whales on many
days, then using others to manage and analyze the data.  Now I spend a
lot more time in an office dealing with the political end of science,
but do get out in the field also from time to time.  In any job in this
business, there's a fair amount of report writing, fundraising and
administrative stuff - but the field work and research more than make up
for that.

What I have always loved about this job is two things.  One, the
opportunity to spend time close to whales, since they're fascinating
animals and very exciting to be around.  And two, the research itself,
which is never mundane and always challenges you with new ideas.  Your
brain doesn't get bored in this work.

Discouraging: yes, sometimes.  It's discouraging when you work with very
rare animals (like right whales) and it seems very difficult to help
them or to get others to pay attention to their plight.

Hope this helps.

Phil Clapham wrote:
> Hi I'm doing a report for school on marine biology.  It is a big report that
> is a grade for both Lang/Lit and math.  I was wondering if you could answer
> the following questions to help me with my report.
> 1.  What college maths do you need to take to be in this career?  High School
> math courses?
> 2.  What is a typical day like in your career?
> 3.  What do you like about your job?
> 4.  Does your job ever get discouraging?
>         If you could answer these as soon as possible I would be very happy.  
> would help me with my report a lot.
>                                                 Thank You,
>                                                         Megan


Phillip J. Clapham, Ph.D.
Large Whale Biology Program
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
166 Water Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543

tel (508) 495-2316
fax (508) 495-2066