Marine Biologist Career Facts

Marine biologists are specialist biologists that work in the ocean environment. Marine biology is one of the major streams of biology, and is becoming increasingly important in terms of environmental science, fisheries and marine ecological studies and policies. 

The Work Environment

Marine biologists work underwater as much as they work in labs. Their work includes a lot of area survey, ecological study, and in many cases intensive research into marine ecosystems on all levels. Marine environments are often extremely complex systems, in which fish, corals, algae, plankton and other marine populations are researched. To understand one issue, it may be necessary to form a holistic picture of the environment in which the situation occurs. Loss of one support will affect the entire system. Some of the big issues in ocean ecology are good indicators of the nature of the work involved in marine biology:

  • Fish populations: Over fishing of commercial fish stocks in the 20th century have eradicated many fish species. Ongoing study and monitoring of fish populations are now the primary methods of achieving sustainable fishing practices. 
  • Invasive species: Global shipping has created serious problems in terms of the introduction of invasive marine species around the world. One of the primary tasks of marine biologists is to study the effects of these invasive species, which can be devastating. The biologist will attempt to set guidelines to control the invasions.
  • Habitat loss: Combinations of fishing, runoff from human settlement, and major effects in terms of ocean environmental issues have caused significant habitat loss in the world's oceans. That situation has in turn severely affected marine populations. Marine biologists monitor and report on these issues, and in many cases provide advice regarding conservation methods.
  • Ocean acidity: Related to habitat loss, increased acidity in the oceans is affecting marine populations in terms of viability and the health of ecosystems. This is a very large area of study, and a lot of research is involved in tackling the problem. The primary need is to accumulate reliable biological data to verify and monitor the effects of acidity on ecosystems. 
  • Marine virus populations: This is a branch of virology, having a lot of practical ramifications in marine ecosystems as viral populations expand and affect them. It's also an emerging area of major study in many ways, requiring large amounts of research for marine biologists. 
  • Deep sea studies: Marine biology includes a lot of advanced scientific techniques and the technology related their work. Nowhere is the technical aspect of marine biology more obvious than in deep sea research, using robot submarines and  surveying the deep ocean environment. 

The Career Environment

The nature of the work is both academically and operationally rigorous. The science is very technically detailed at all levels of analysis. Marine biologists are the epitome of career scientists, often specializing in areas where a handful of individuals provide a large proportion of the knowledge base. There's a real demand for marine biologists in several commercial and non-profit areas, too. This is some of the most important science in the world. If you choose a career as a marine biologist, you'll find your career fascinating, and very rewarding.