Marine biologists study saltwater organisms and their ecosystem. They analyze the ways marine life interacts and how changes such as pollution and global warming affect this delicate ecosystem. Aspiring marine biologists should begin their training with an undergraduate degree in biology or marine biology.
A graduate degree or doctorate degree in marine biology is the minimum requirement for entry-level marine biology jobs in research. Doctorate degrees in marine biology are needed for highly sought independent research and faculty positions.
Some marine biologists work directly with the ocean on research ships or fisheries, running tests and conducting experiments. Others work in laboratories with marine samples from the field, researching physical, chemical, and biological processes.
Some of the areas that marine biologists research include:
Effects of environmental changes on the ocean ecosystem
Career opportunities within marine biology are vast and include some of the following positions:
Salaries for marine biologists vary depending on the type of position one holds. In March 2009, PayScale.com reported an overall median salary of $48,869 for marine biologists with at least five years of experience. Marine biologists employed by the Federal Government made a median salary of $62,538 and $49,215 when employed by a state or local government. Those working for a private company earned a median salary of $45,978. Marine biologists in academia received a median salary of $45,000.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, competition for jobs in marine biology is fierce. However, employment growth should remain average over the next decade. With more funding being allocated towards cleaning up the environment, green positions in marine biology should be most in demand.