Oceanographers explore many different aspects of the sea including the chemical make up of the water, its structure and formations, and the sea life living there. They work to eliminate pollution, explore a world that is uncharted in many cases and even predict earthquakes.
To become an oceanographer, an individual must meet certain criteria, including all of the following:
Oceanographers may specialize in different areas including physical, chemical or geological studies. Physical oceanographers research the physiology of the ocean and study plate tectonics. Chemical oceanographers investigate plant life, water content and the chemical composition of the ocean environment, most often in an effort to explore the effects of pollution. Geological oceanographers map out the seafloor and explore the sea life there.
Oceanographers use various methods of technology to complete their research and explore the underwater world. They utilize global positioning systems, underwater cameras and depth finders. They collect and analyze samples of plants, water and sediment using sophisticated equipment.
They may also perform the following tasks:
It’s not unusual for oceanographers to work cooperatively with other geoscientists such as geologists, seismologists and hydrologists. They may spend extensive time in field work, having to travel for periods of time.
Environmental concerns, particularly pollution, and natural disasters, such as earthquakes, provide increased opportunities for oceanographers. The average wages for oceanographers were around $79,000 in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Oceanographer salaries range from $42,000 to $155,000.
An oceanographer’s salary may vary considerably based on type of work and employer. Oceanographers who worked for the Federal government averaged a salary of around $106,000.