career in the marine sciences means having a career in marine biology,
oceanography, ocean engineering and related fields such as ocean filmmaking,
ecotourism, marine education, marine law, and aquaculture, specializing in
marine or freshwater. There are numerous
areas of extreme specialty in the marine sciences including marine
biotechnology, which studies pharmaceuticals,
nutraceuticals, and chemicals created from marine sources as well as marine pollution control,
genetically engineered marine organisms, and biofouling prevention (how to keep
biological agents from fouling structures, equipment, and gear).
can also study marine ecology, aquaculture (which is the study of raising fish
and plants for food and other sources), marine toxicology and cleanup, and
marine mammal study (which looks at bioacoustics, vocalization and population
dynamics). Working in marine science
doesn’t necessarily mean that you must work on one of the US’ main coastal
areas. You can work in freshwater areas
marine scientists work in colleges or universities, others work in industry,
and still others work for major organizations that have interests in marine
science. You can work for the government
as well in areas of marine science that are related to national or state
Career Paths in Marine
a postgraduate marine scientist, your career path would involve studying water
life in freshwater and marine locations.
You can do pure or applied science for a corporation. You can also study oceanography, which does
limit you to working on the coast or off-coast on a ship or boat. You would study all aspects of the ocean,
including weather, currents and the physical aspects of the ocean. Finally, you can follow an engineering path
and study ocean engineering. This
involves the use of engineering principles in the creation of technology that
Careers in Ocean Science
Hole Marine Biological Lab: This is an international
educational laboratory that boasts the oldest privately run marine laboratory
in the country. More than 275 staff
scientists work in areas of ecology, developmental marine biology,
microbiology, molecular evolution, neurobiology, global infectious disease and
sensory physiology. Students come from
around the world to study there by the thousands, and it has a robust
Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Affiliated with the UC San
Diego, it is one of the oldest and largest research centers for ocean science,
earth science research, marine education and public service. It hires graduates in the fields of marine
biology, chemistry, geology and the geophysical study of the oceans and the
earth. It aspires to be an international
leader in marine basic research and developing scientists in the marine field,
and in advancing the cause of science need for a sustainable balance between
human activity and our nearby natural environment.
are programs in marine biology and the marine sciences at UC Santa Cruz, UC
Santa Barbara, Rutgers’s University and the University of Texas. There you could do basic research in the
ocean sciences and would be involved in teaching undergraduate students. Other universities and colleges that have
marine biology programs where you could do basic research or teach in the field
is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This governmental agency deals with the
preservation and management of ocean resources in both coastal and deep
waters. It provides products and
services which promote safe navigation, supports coastal communities, mitigates
coastal hazards and helps sustain marine ecosystems. It has a method of observing ocean systems
which is part of the total Global Earth Observation System of Systems, which
uses 21st century technology to protect, predict and observe the earth,
including its oceans.
US Navy has a Marine Animal Program which studies the military use of marine
animals, particularly bottlenose dolphins and California Sea Lions. It trains animals to guard ships and harbors,
in mine protection and clearance and in equipment recovery.
Pacific Northwest National Lab: This national laboratory is located in Richland, Washington, and
is a part of the US Department of Energy.
It is managed by the US DOE Office of Science. It performs research in the marine sciences
for the government, universities and industry.
It has numerous programs,
including one related to fuel from biological resources and the effects of
energy on the environment.
There are many small
companies in the marine biotech industry. Some examples are:
Azantis, Inc. is the fastest growing small business in the Nutraceutical
Industry with Krill Oil, having tripled sales in 2009. Their core
products are focused on a range of omega-3 phospholipids and fatty acids,
derived from marine and other sources, which are used in food, supplements,
medical foods, and prescription products.
Algenol commercializes the use of hybrid algae to
make ethanol, and high-value organic green-chemicals directly from carbon
dioxide, water and sunlight. It has
invested $40 million in research and development and has built a team of more
than 100 scientists and engineers working in fully equipped biological research
and engineering laboratories and specialized algal growing facilities.
Associates of Cape Cod, of Falmouth, Massachusetts, with 80 employees, is a
leading research lab, manufacturer and distributor of blood extracts from
horseshoe crabs for the biomedical
Resources for finding Jobs in this Area
You can find jobs at any
of the major sites listed above, including the NOAA, the Pacific Northwest
National Laboratory, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Woods Hole
Marine Biological Laboratories. You can
also find ocean-related jobs at Sea Grant Marine Careers.
There is a good job board in marine-related jobs at Ocean Careers.
positions vary with the area you are planning to work in. You would be an
instructor or professor at any university or college. You would be a research
marine biologist at one of the major institutes. You could also be a “project manager” or
senior scientist at any of the above places.
You would be a Marine Engineer in the Industrial Sector.
pay varies from about $50,000 to $100,000 or more and is higher in the private
sector where marine engineers are being employed.
What would a Job in this
Field be like?
A person hired as a post graduate in the field
of marine science may use bench skills if they are studying the microbiology of
the ocean. There may be a great bit of
field work if areas studied involve marine life in situ or the collection of
species of marine life. There may be a
lot of time spent on a boat at sea. As a
researcher, you will be working with a team and will need to have good
communication and writing skills, especially if you are writing for
grants. There may be extensive travel
because the ocean is a big place and there may be species in areas outside your
immediate realm. In some cases, you need
to be an excellent researcher. If you
are working in the area of marine engineering, your engineering skills need to
be as strong as your marine skills. It
is a competitive field, in that there is a lot of undergraduate interest in it
but when you get to the post graduate level, there are fewer jobs available.