Offbeat careers: Marine Biologist

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The oceans have been a subject of fascination for thousands of years. Scientific study of marine life may have begun as early as 384 BC, since the time of Aristotle, who is regarded as the Father of Marine Biology.  Simply put, marine biology is the study of life in the oceans and other salt water environments such as estuaries and wetlands. All plant-animal life forms are included, from the microscopic plankton to the majestic blue whale, the largest creature in the sea – and for that in the world.

Profession overview:

The task of marine biologists is to study animals in their natural habitats, assessing effects of environment and industry on animals, interpreting findings and recommending alternative operating methods for industries.  Their official job description is to study the behavior of marine plants and animals and their interactions with the aquatic environment. Sounds pretty vague, doesn’t it? Well, it should. Considering the vast number of opportunities to study the ocean, the jobs can be just as varied.

Institutions Offering Marine Biology:

In India:

1. Annamalai University – Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu.

Courses offered: Master of Philosophy in Marine Biology and oceanography.

Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Biology and Oceanography.

2. Karnataka University – Hubli, Dharwad, Karnataka.

Courses offered: Master of Science in Marine Biology.

You can check out more colleges by clicking on the link below:

Institutes abroad –

1. Boston university – Massachusetts, US.

Courses offered:  Undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level courses.

2. Duke university – North Carolina, US.

Courses offered:  Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and PhD level courses.

All courses usually take 2-3 years to complete.

Qualifications required:

In order to pursue a career in marine biology you will first need a solid background in the basic sciences; a bachelor’s degree in marine science or any one of the biology sciences like zoology, ecology or molecular biology. Also, it is necessary to choose a university that offers practical training along with the theoretical know-how.  Additionally, along with good communication and writing skills, prior experience in the field is vastly beneficial.

Scope and Job Prospects:

There are a wide range of career options available for students with a Marine Biology degree. You can specialize in areas such Marine Biotechnology, Molecular Biology or Aquaculture. There are also other non-research jobs like teaching and working as marine engineers with important networks such as National Geography or Discovery. Depending on the type of job and experience, the average marine biologist can earn anything from 360,000 and 780,000. The pay scale gets better as you climb higher up the ladder.

Working conditions for Marine Biologists can be rough. They work in a lot of different places on both land and sea. They may go underwater to monitor whale calls or work as a professor at a university. They might even need to spend days submerged underwater if their project requires so. It really depends what you choose to work on and with.

Marine Biology with its average pay scale and rough working conditions can be an unconventional career option for many. It’s a tough course and an even tougher job in the field. But if you are passionate about it and love all things marine then the rewards are endless. Watching a bicolor angelfish in a tank is one thing but seeing one among the coral in the Great Barrier Reef is another experience altogether. Here’s a career where an open mind and creativity will take you far and where the opportunities are endless.

Syed Zahoor Qasim, Sylvia Alice Earle and Harald Rosenthal are some famous marine biologists of our time and they are some success stories in this field. Want to be one of them? Go for it!

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Currently in my third year, studying Political Science major at Ramjas College. I love chicken and books and sleeping. If you want to talk, feel free to drop me a mail at [email protected] or you can reach me through Facebook, Arindam Goswami. Kudos!

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