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STEM Series Pt. 6: Marine Biologist

Who doesn't love a trip to the aquarium, to look at all the beautiful creatures that live in the water? If you would love to explore the animals of the sea for a job, then becoming a marine biologist is for you. Marine biologists study the intelligent and fascinating animals that live in the ocean.

Marine biologists study life in the oceans, and the ocean itself. They investigate organisms of the sea in their natural habitats. The responsibilities of marine biologists include collecting data and specimens, studying characteristics of different species, assessing human impact, and monitoring and managing populations. What they do every day can vary greatly on what area of the field they are in. Almost all marine biologists spend part of their time in the field conducting research using equipment such as boats, scuba gear, nets, and submarines. Marine biologists are more involved in research, and often write grants to request funding and collect and analyze data from their studies. They also publish papers in scientific journals describing their findings. Marine biologists who are more involved in teaching prepare lectures, work closely with students essentially having the duties of a professor. Finally, marine biologists in private industry may have more of a consulting role and may not be very active in conducting research.

To become a marine biologist, many often get a bachelor’s degree in biology, zoology, ecology, or other animal sciences. A master’s degree may also be required for entry-level marine biology research jobs, such as those at research organizations and biotechnology companies. Classes in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and statistics are also important to consider, as marine biologists will have to work in a lab and compare and analyze data. Other courses in English, public policy, and writing will also be useful for working on regulatory issues and communication. During their undergraduate or graduate degree, students also often seek summer internships that allow them to gain hands-on experience.

Like any job, there are certain skills that would benefit marine biologists with theirs. Critical and analytical thinking skills will help them be able to draw conclusions from their studies. Observational skills are equally as important as when studying marine life, it requires the ability to notice the slightest changes in behaviour and environment. Physical and emotional stamina is also good for marine biologists as fieldwork can be very physically demanding, especially when underwater, and can be emotionally draining when researchers are alone with only animals in the field. Lastly, it is great for marine biologists to be able to work in a team and with others, as the entire job is almost always done with others.

Marine biologists have a wonderful job, getting to spend time with animals, working in the field, in a lab, and behind desks creating a perfect balance. While the job can be demanding, it is rewarding to help sea animals thrive, and allows you to experience opportunities you never would have otherwise!


Kramer, Mary Hope. “Marine Biologist Job Description: Salary, Skills, & More.” The Balance Careers, The Balance Careers, 25 June 2019,

“Marine Biologist.” ECO Canada, 23 Mar. 2021,

“What Is a Marine Biologist?”,

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