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The Challenges of Marine Biology Jobs

Marine biology jobs are an incredibly intriguing career choice, but they're extremely rigorous all at once. Here's a look at what's required in order to get started.


Children that grow up with an interest in nature may want to turn that interest into a career as they get older. Depending on the particular facet of the environment that they are attracted to, there are a variety of career opportunities available. For those with an interest in the ocean and sea-life, marine biology jobs are an option to consider, although there are a number of challenges to pursuing this career.

High School Basics

For those looking to become involved in marine biology jobs, preparation for this can begin at high school level in terms of studying the right subjects and looking to experience some extracurricular activity in the field. Typical subjects that can be useful to study include math and the science subjects (chemistry, physics and biology). Finding out about the requirements of the job at this stage can also be useful in identifying if it is definitely something you want to pursue. A good resource for this is Marine Careers, which has a great deal of information about the job and access to those working in the field. It can also be worth checking if there are any facilities in your area where you can volunteer to get some practical experience and this can include locations such as aquariums, science centers and marine parks.

Finding a College Course

If you decide that you want to pursue a career in marine biology, then studying at college is a requirement and the next challenge is to find a suitable college course. The best course of action that many experts recommend is to first to get an undergraduate degree in one of the basic sciences with the obvious options including biology, chemistry and physics, although other options are available. The benefit of this is that it keeps your options open in terms of what you want to do, and if this is marine biology then you can go on to specialize in this at masters or doctoral level. However, with that being said, there are courses available in marine biology at both undergraduate and masters/doctoral level to suit the personal requirements of students. Websites that can be useful in finding details of these include American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) and Marine Bio. Most courses will provide classroom study, field courses and laboratory courses.

Finding a Job

Marine biology tends to be a relatively narrow field and there can be a challenge in finding a suitable job following graduation. However, the chances of finding a job can be enhanced by the college you choose to attend. Many include internships as part of the course, and this can be a way to get some work experience as well as providing the opportunity to network and get some contacts in the industry while you are still studying. Many colleges also offer assistance in finding job placements, which can also increase the chances of finding work. Checking the record of a college in assisting students to find marine biology jobs can therefore be worth doing. Other resources that can help marine biologists in the search for suitable work and employers include Ocean Careers and Hopkins Marine Station, although there are a number of other resources to be found on the internet these days.

Nature of the Work

Marine biology jobs involve the study of marine animals and organisms, their behavior and life cycle and their interactions with the ocean environment. It is generally considered to be an all encompassing field in oceanography, and those involved in it generally need to have an understanding of a variety of other disciplines including chemical, physical and geological oceanography. This can be challenging to do, although those working in the field generally consider it a rewarding career. There are a number of specializations in the field of marine biology, and these can be in terms of a particular environment, ecosystem, species or animal. Many marine biologists will come to a specialization through their studies and the jobs they become involved with.

Spending Time Away From Home

Marine biology jobs can be laboratory research based or field based. For those that work in field based research, this can mean spending periods of time away from home and this is something to think about when looking for jobs. Many people can find spending time at sea a challenging experience, and depending on the personal circumstances of an individual, they will need to consider which type of work best fits their needs and lifestyle.

Becoming involved in marine biology jobs can be an interesting career and for those that have an interest in sea life and the ocean it can be a good choice. There are a variety of challenges to becoming involved in this occupation, with a few of these set out above. This is information that those thinking about entering the field should consider.

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