Tap to Read ➤

Marine Biologist Job Description

Abhijit Naik
Considering that approximately 2/3rd of the Earth's surface is covered with oceans, a career as a marine biologist may seem pretty enticing, but one has to understand that the stakes are quite high when it comes to job opportunities and income in this field.
A marine biologist studies the marine biome, i.e., the lifeforms inhabiting this biome, their population, relationship with the habitat, dependence on each other, how they affect the marine ecosystem, and so on.
While that may sound interesting, career experts say that a career in marine biology is more about being passionate about the environment, rather than making money. It is important to understand that the life of a marine biologist goes well beyond the concepts like 'deep sea diving' and 'five figure salary' which make this profession seem so enticing.

Marine Biologist Duties and Responsibilities

Marine biologists are hired by environmental assessment bodies, government authorities, educational institutes, etc. As a marine biologist, there are various positions; some requiring overall expertise and some requiring specialization. An environmental biologist, for instance, specifically studies how ocean pollution affects the marine ecosystem.
» A marine biologist is supposed to study the marine ecosystem, i.e., study the lifeforms inhabiting the oceans and their interaction with land, atmosphere and the ocean floor. It involves study and analysis of some of the most diverse and interesting aspects of ocean life.
» Monitoring the population of different species, studying endangered species to find out why their population is depleting, implementing conservation measures, studying newly found species, and presenting all this information in form of reports or scientific papers, are just a few of the numerous things that marine biologists do.
» The individual will conduct research in laboratory or on field, manage projects, analye and interprete data, prepare detailed reports for assessment, prepare research papers and present them. The data compiled in these studies will be eventually used to make policies to save the marine environment.
» Other than research, an individual working in this field is also involved in rescue and rehabilitation of marine species, and preservation of the marine environment. He may also have to conduct awareness programs to educate people about the problems faced by the marine life.
» As a marine biologist, you also become a sought-after person in the field of teaching, writing, etc. Individual research is yet another lucrative option, but, in case you are interested in teaching, PhD is mandatory for it.

Career as a Marine Biologist

In order to pursue a career as a marine biologist, you need to have a science background (preferably biology or zoology) with good academic record. The cutthroat competition that one gets to see in this field nowadays, has made a strong educational background all the more important.
On completing academic courses, you are expected to begin your career as an intern. The experience you gain as an intern is more valuable than your academic records. While a Bachelor's or Master's degree in marine biology/biology/zoology may help you enter the field, your experience will count from there and you'll continue to 'study' throughout your career.
The salary depends on the company, designation, job location, experience, and academic performance etc. On an average, a marine biologist can earn anywhere between $29,464 - $99,330. While the salary might seem impressive, limited funding for research and cutthroat competition means less opportunities and high competition in this field.