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There is the life of the plankton in almost endless variety; there are the many kinds of fish, both surface and bottom living; there are the hosts of different invertebrate creatures on the sea-floor; and there are those almost grotesque forms of pelagic life in the oceans depths. Then there are the squids and cuttlefish, and the porpoises, dolphins and great whales.

  Sir Alister Hardy

What is it that draws you to marine biology? Is it the sight, sound, aroma, and feel of the sea? Is it the sounds of the seagulls, the sight of wiggly little creatures in the tide pools? Is it the drama of a great whale (which you have yet to see firsthand) breaking the surface of the sea with a grace that would seem impossible for a 3-ton creature? Are you drawn to the prospect of diving and working underwater as a regular part of your work? How about frolicking with the dolphins or engaging a hungry and curious shark (where YOU are the one inside the cage). More ...


Marine biology is the scientific study of organisms in the ocean or other marine or brackish bodies of water. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather than on taxonomy. ~ Wikipedia

Studies in marine biology focus on the scientific study of the ecology and behavior of microbes, plants, and animals inhabiting oceans, coastal waters, and saltwater wetlands and their interactions with the physical environment.

Broad studies in this discipline Include instruction in chemical, physical, and geological oceanography; molecular, cellular, and biochemical studies; marine microbiology; marine botany; ichthyology; mammalogy; marine population dynamics and biodiversity; reproductive biology; studies of specific species, phyla, habitats, and ecosystems; marine paleocology and palentology; and applications to fields such as fisheries science and biotechnology.



Marine Biology and Oceanography

 


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It All Begins with a Dream

What is it that draws you to marine biology. Is it the sight, sound, aroma, and feel of the sea? Is it the sounds of the seagulls, the sight of wiggly little creatures in the tide pools? Is it the drama of a great whale (which you have yet to see firsthand) breaking the surface of the sea with a grace that would seem impossible for a 3-ton creature? Are you drawn to the prospect of diving and working underwater as a regular part of your work? How about frolicking with the dolphins or engaging a hungry and curious shark (where YOU are the one inside the cage).

Dreams of marine biology are driven by an innate sense of curiosity and a real love for critters. If those characteristics can be bright together in the seas ... bingo! You are a natural for a career in marine biology.

Maybe you are  drawn to people of similar passions who, as yourself, often baffle your friends and family who would prefer to see you going into nursing, law, or accounting. Or perhaps you are challenged by the processes of researchtesting theories, discovering new creatures, writing papers and books, and teaching classes.

I can't suggest every possible sight, sound, impression, or circumstances that would draw you to marine biology. We are all different. You have your own impressions; and the only thing I can assure you is that there is something about the sea, its creatures, and your heart that draws you to it.

Likewise, it is impossible for me to suggest where you start. I have no way of knowing your present circumstances. But there is one suggestions that fits all:  Get started with something! And pursue the path that is at your fingertips now.

Are you ready for college? Here are some ideas to get your mind working. If you want to pursue the formal academics of marine biology, you should be prepared to get your schooling on either the east or west coast (assuming, of course, you will be attending a school in the USA). Here is a list of USA marine biology institutes and schools

If you are serious about doing marine biology, you must locate yourself within an hour's drive of the sea. I don't care if you are a PhD or a GED, you can't do serious, lifelong marine biology outside a maritime environment. But, of cause, there are always exceptions to the rule ... like municipal aquariums or even tropical fish stores.

If you are unable to relocate to a costal college, you might consider doing your undergraduate work (biology is a good choice) are a more convenient location, then transferring to the coastal school for your graduate work. You figure it out according to your own circumstances ... most things we dismiss as impossible are simply inconvenient.

Now let's suppose you are not ideally prepared with the academics. Maybe you have have an undergraduate degree in biology, just a year or so of college, or maybe a GED. How can you get into serious marine biology at the entry level? Well first, it's a no-brainer to understand you have set up your life near a marine biology or oceanographic institute. Visit the place with the understanding that every person walking the halls or working in the labs and offices are PhD marine biologists. There are the people at the reception desk, the guys loading equipment and provisions onto oceanic research vessels, people cleaning fish tanks and others charged with feeding and caring for all manner of critters. It's the foot-in-the-door/dream-in-the-heart scenario.

Professional marine biology researchers share your passions, and most are pleased to chat help another who is less credentialed but equally excited. So put yourself into the right positions, never stop learning, and watch for your next opportunity.

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David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015