Into the deep sea: A career as a Marine Biologist

A marine biologist studying a coral reef underwater

Marine biology is the study of all marine organisms, right from planktons and microbes, to plants and animals. Marine biologists investigate the behaviour and interactions of marine life with their surroundings. They try to understand how the increase in environmental degradation is affecting marine organisms, and come up with solutions to control and treat them.

What’s this career about?

Marine biologists study plants and animals living in salt water and the environmental conditions which affect them. They investigate the water conditions such as salinity, temperature, acidity, light and oxygen content. They may study the effects of light, temperature and nutrients on the growth of both plants and animals in the sea.

These life scientists may assist in the rehabilitation of damaged ecosystems. They often take samples of marine organisms, and conduct tests in laboratories using complex equipment such as electron microscopes and computer-driven machines to collect and analyze data. They monitor water pollution using techniques such as measuring the radioactive content of organisms.

Much of the work of marine biologists focuses on research. They publish the results of their research in scientific journals and sometimes present papers at scientific meetings and conferences. Marine researchers also experiment with ways to administer drugs to diseased populations of farm-raised fish. Disease can wipe out an entire crop of farm-raised fish or shellfish due to the confined settings in which they are raised.

Marine biologist work in many new areas such as finding new food sources and other useful products from the sea, studying the effects of pollution on plant and animal life in oceans, and researching endangered species of marine plants and animals and their habitats.

Due to the diversity of this field, many marine biologists select a particular interest and specialize in it. Limnologists specialize in the study of freshwater life. Aquaculturists specialize in culture, breeding, and the farming of finfish, shellfish, and seaweeds.

PLUS!

  • How do I get there?
  • What key skills do I need?
  • Institutes
  • Employment profile
  • Pay package

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Dr Vibha Gupta

Dr Vibha Gupta

Dr Vibha Gupta, a feature writer, is a Ph.D. in Mathematics from IIT Roorkee. Her book Careers: A Pathfinder and articles in various publications are an attempt to guide students in choosing a career according to their natural strengths, talents and skills.