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What Do Biological Oceanographers Do

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If I Want To Study Or Have A Career In Oceanography What Classes Should I Take In Middle Or High School

Marine Biology – Oceanography

Take as many Earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and computer science courses as you can. English is also important since scientists need to write clearly and communicate their findings to others on a regular basis. You might also find it helpful to take a course in public speaking. Find out what after-school organizations your school has that can help you with a career as an oceanographer, such as Science Clubs. Also consider doing an oceans-focused project for your local science fair and look for summer field experiences at near-by colleges and universities.

Education And Training Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for beginning positions. Students can earn a degree in oceanography or take courses in oceanography and major in a related field such as biology, physics, chemistry, or engineering. Graduate training is usually required for advancement. A doctoral degree is required for college teaching and for many research positions.

What Is An Oceanographer

Oceanography , also known as oceanology, is the study of the physical and biological aspects of the ocean. It is an important Earth science, which covers a wide range of topics, including ecosystem dynamics ocean currents, waves, and geophysical fluid dynamics plate tectonics and the geology of the sea floor and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries. These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge o…

Source: Wikipedia . Read more from Wikipedia

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Definition And Nature Of The Work

Oceanographers are scientists who study the sea. Oceanography incorporates features of many sciences, including biology, chemistry, geology, and meteorology. For this reason, oceanographers have varied backgrounds and do many kinds of work. Oceanographers may work on ships or in laboratories on land. Some work for private companies. Most work for research institutes or government agencies, or hold teaching and research jobs in colleges and universities.

Oceanographers who conduct research study many aspects of the sea. Their findings provide valuable information for industry and government. The fishing industry, for example, is interested in the life cycles and food chain of marine life. The federal government and the shipbuilding industry use information about the sea to design new ships. Oil and mining companies are looking to the sea for new sources of fuel and minerals. Plants and animals found in the ocean are used for medical research. Researchers are also trying to find new sources of food made from marine animals and plants.

Education Requirements To Become An Oceanographer

Job Profiles

Individuals who want to become an Oceanographer will need a combination of personal characteristics and a postsecondary degree in order to enter this profession.

In addition, individuals who complete a masters degree have better job prospects.

Individuals will need a minimum of a bachelors degree in order to become an Oceanographer.

Individuals with a bachelors degree most commonly qualify for entry level positions.

A focus in geosciences is highly recommended, however, employers will also seek candidates with a bachelors degree in the following areas and some coursework in geology: mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry or engineering.

The majority of individuals who become an Oceanographer pursue a masters degree.

These individuals also tend to have better job prospects in this field because of their graduate degrees.

Typical Geoscience programs include coursework in geology and its specializations such as: structural geology, petrology and mineralogy.

In addition to a focus in geology, individuals will also gain an understanding of physical sciences, engineering, mathematics and computer science.

Individuals must have an in depth understanding of specific software that enables to document laboratory research.

Individuals pursuing a bachelors or a masters degree are highly encouraged to gain laboratory and field experience in the geosciences field while they are attending their programs.

Individuals may also pursue a graduate PhD degree in geosciences.

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Job Description Of An Oceanographer

An oceanographer explores the worlds oceans, and its properties. Studies include plate tectonics, chemical/physical properties, marine life, ecosystems, geology of the seafloor, and ocean circulation. Oceanographers investigate issues like eroding coastlines, climate change, or declining fisheries. Tasks can vary pending on the specific area of study one enters however, all oceanographers should be familiar with the following functions: observe and collect data, measure water movement such as waves or tides, read and use satellite data or computer instruments, prepare and analysis reports, ensure safety measures/compliance, consult and adhere to state/federal regulations, and assist in potential funding opportunities for research.

Specialty areas tasks may vary in their specific studies. Marine biologists study ecosystems and the animals. Physical oceanographers study the oceans water movement. Chemical oceanographers look at the chemical aspects and composition that make up oceans. Geological oceanographers study the geographical features such as the ocean floor and tectonic activity.

What Are The Education Requirements To Become A Chemical Oceanographer

Chemical Oceanographers will typically start with a hard science degree. Chemistry is ideal, and math and biology should form a large part of your minors and elective choices. The key is to ensure that you get a good grounding in degree-level science. Statistics would also be very helpful. Although scientific openings will be open to you, you will need the specialization of a master’s degree in order to improve your competitiveness. If you want to become an ocean scientist of any kind, you will certainly need an advanced degree. PhDs are vital for research projects and high-level education such as university lecturing. For those who prefer a research science career, you will need professional certification.

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What Are The Skills Of A Marine Scientist

  • An analytical mind with an interest in finding answers
  • Logical approach to problem solving
  • Strong observation and laboratory skills
  • Love of the ocean and marine life
  • Keen interest in research
  • Ability to work indoors or out
  • Flexible in changing weather and work environments
  • Excellent analysis and communication skills

How is an Oceanographers Job Different from a Marine Biologist?

Oceanography and marine biology are both similar and different at the same time. Read about the differences.

  • Collect data on ocean temperatures and salinity
  • Study the plate tectonics and volcanic activity of the sea floor
  • Learn how waves, currents and tides move sand on and off beaches and how it impacts erosion
  • Understand how the ocean influences climate and how to measure changes
  • Study pollution, eutrophication and algae blooms and find restorative solutions
  • Discover how the environment impacts ocean life, including dolphins, jellyfish and sea turtles
  • Study whales and how water temperature affects migration of animals
  • Study the effects of an oil spill on plant and animal life or how pollutants contribute to algal blooms
  • Determine the impact of human activity on a coral reef
  • Understand lifecycles of marine organisms and their global importance
  • Uncover ways to sustain and protect ecosystems and living resources from negative human impacts

Specialties and Topics in Oceanography

What does an oceanographer do?

Current Topics:

  • Conservation

What Does A Chemical Oceanographer Do

Oceanographer Career Information : Meaning of Oceanographer

They are essentially oceanographers, but rather than studying the ecology, biological life and geology of the oceans as a broad subject, they examine the chemical composition of this particular environment. The chemistry of our oceans is important. Many plant and animal species have evolved to thrive in certain acidities and cannot thrive when the seawater is too acidic or not acidic enough. When an ocean’s chemical composition becomes too unbalanced, it can have a profound effect on the ecology.

One of the most important roles they may be working on now is the monitoring of ocean acidification. Oceans are a net carbon sink, but acidification is increasing and this has had measurable effects on the acid levels in the ocean – corals have been bleached as a result of increased carbon emissions and are under serious threat. As the ice caps melt, ocean acidification could be diluted in some areas. Chemical Oceanographers may work with environmental engineers to attempt to redress these problems and restore balance.

It’s not just coral and it’s not just about climate change. They will look at the problems caused by industrial chemicals and pollution, and advise on policy. They may also work as government advisors, providing evidence for court cases where civil action is brought against a business.

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Theres More Than One Way To Approach The Discipline Of Oceanography

1. Biological oceanography career protect endangered marine life

Otherwise known as marine biologists, these professionals conduct experiments and observe marine life to understand the complex interactions that cause different conditions to exist. When marine life is threatened, they can help improve conditions through their understanding of marine development and resources.

2. Chemical oceanography career protecting water to keep sea life healthy

These marine chemists study seawaters composition and cycles, as well as chemical reactions of seawater, the ocean floor and the atmosphere. Studying the impact of these chemical processes on marine life as well as the impact of ocean currents on pollution and other processes is also part of their job.

3. Geological oceanography career protecting marine life that lives on or near the ocean floor

4. Physical oceanography career protecting sea life from extreme weather and its impacts

Studying waves, currents, coastal erosion, and the way light and sound travel through water can help physical oceanographers understand the way weather and climate impact marine life. The ocean is profoundly impacted by climate and weather, and also influences weather in some ways as well.

5. Marine environmental scientists protecting marine life from hazards in the environment


How Do Oceanographers Study The Ocean Floor

Chemical oceanographers and marine chemists study the composition of seawater, its processes and cycles, and the chemical interaction of seawater with the atmosphere and seafloor. Through sampling, they look at millions of years of history of sea-floor spreading, plate tectonics, and oceanic circulation and climates.

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What Is The Job Demand For Chemical Oceanographers

Demand for geoscientists is expected to grow by 7% between 2020 and 20330. This is faster than most other industries. However, most of this demand is likely to be towards geologists as petrochemical companies continue prospecting for fossil fuels. There may be work for oceanographers here, especially with their specialization in chemistry, but it could prove particularly competitive.*

What Are The Education Requirements To Become A Biological Oceanographer

How to Become an Oceanographer

Entry-level jobs will require a BA or BS at a minimum. For those who wish to pursue careers as project managers, researchers or in scientific lab work, a MS or MA is preferable. Investigative jobs are possible through practical on-the-job experience with a BS or BA, the low job demand up to 2024 means this path will be more difficult. For those who would prefer independent research roles at universities, or to teach at a dedicated college or university, a doctorate is vital. Government jobs will often take those showing the most promise and the best degrees. At the very least, it is recommended that you acquire a Master’s Degree in order to be eligible for Federal jobs with such organizations as NOAA and EPA.

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Requirements To Become An Oceanographer

Although the educational requirements for oceanographers differ depending on the country, most have educational experience in oceanography, hydrology, geoscience, or environmental science. Specific classes also vary with specialization, but common subjects include deep-sea biology, molecular methods, marine ecology, and marine hydrodynamics. Oceanographers may also have to acquire licensing before they can start practicing. Licensing also depends on the state or country where an oceanographer intends to work.

Qualifications And Training Required

To become an oceanographer, you will usually need a degree in a relevant subject such as oceanography, marine sciences, geology, ecology, biology, chemical or physical sciences, computer science, software engineering, geophysics or technology, mathematics, environmental science or geography.

A relevant postgraduate qualification is essential for many positions. SUT offers sponsorship awards to undergraduates and postgraduates pursuing a relevant degree. Read our article on scientific postgraduate study to explore your different options.

Postdoctoral research, practical research or marine laboratory work experience can be helpful. Computer and mathematical modelling experience is also advantageous, as are practical skills such as boat handling, scuba or sub aqua diving and first aid.

You may be able to enter the profession with a higher national diploma or foundation degree. However, suitable posts will usually be support or technical positions, which are hard to come by.

  • A logical and independent mind
  • Meticulous attention to detail

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List Of Oceanography Careers


The short answer to, “What does an oceanographer do?” is this: An oceanographer studies the ocean. But the long answer is more complicated. Many different jobs exist that are related to oceanography, and each have a slightly different focus. Some jobs study the animals of the ocean, whereas others study the ocean floor or the chemical makeup of the ocean. If you’re interested in an oceanography career, it’s likely that you’ll need to narrow your focus to one of several specialties.

Oceanographer Salary And Career Path

Study Marine Biology and Oceanography | University of Southampton

In 2012, the median salary for Geoscientists, which includes the Oceanography profession, was approximately $90,890 per year.

Exact annual wages will depend on a variety of factors including level of experience and the industry an individual works in.

For example, individuals who work for the federal government should expect a median salary of approximately $94,830 per year while those who work for a state government can expect a median annual wage of approximately $62,030.

The job outlook for all geoscientists, which includes Oceanographers, is expected to grow at a faster than average rate.

Job opportunities in these professions are predicted to grow by 16 percent through the year 2022, a much faster than average growth when compared to other professions.

This growth is attributed to the demand by individuals to focus on environmental protection and responsible use of the earths resources.

Individuals who have attained a masters degree have better job prospects due to their level of education and experience researching.

Individuals pursuing a career as an Oceanographer will have an interest in the sciences, especially the geosciences in which their work may be used to improve the quality of life for oceanic species.

Their work may also help the public understand how a normal ocean should perform and help raise awareness for its preservation.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.

  • Annually

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Is Being A Marine Biologist Worth It

Most marine biologists do their jobs because they love the work. It is a benefit in itself, even though compared to some other jobs, they dont make a lot of money, and the work is not always steady. You will need to be good at science and biology to complete the education necessary to become a marine biologist.

Oceanography Or Marine Biology: Which Degree Is Right For Me

Studying oceanography or marine biology means working on issues like ecological balance, water quality, alternative energy, weather prediction, coastal management and pollution. It also means uncovering resources for drug research, finding solutions to fish overharvesting or developing solutions to curb invasive species. Oceanographers and marine biologists work in private industry, government, research laboratories and the military to advance solutions on these important ocean and marine ecosystem issues that affect life on Earth.

What is Oceanography?

The definition of oceanography is the study of the physical, chemical, geological and biological characteristics of the ocean. In their work, oceanographers take into account the environment, weather, space and planetary science, chemistry and geology.

What is Marine Biology?

The definition of marine biology is the study of animals, plants and microbes in the oceans and other saltwater environments such as estuaries and wetlands. It is the study of how physical properties of the marine environment, biological interactions and human activities affect marine organisms from plankton to whales, and all the habitats from coral reefs to the open ocean. Job titles for a marine biologist include zoologist, fish and wildlife biologist, aquatic biologist, conservation biologist, marine biotechnologist and much more.

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Research Tools And Techniques

To explore and define the roles of organisms in the marine environment, biological oceanographers employ a wide range of research tools and techniques. There are many technological challenges in the development of new instrumental and analytical techniques. The technological future of biological oceanography depends on advances in methods of data acquisition, sampling and culture techniques, and parallel progress in most fields of biology.

Researchers also adapt existing methodologies, such as flow cytometry, immunology, and high-resolution video analysis, to work in both the lab and the field.

Where Do Oceanographers And Marine Biologists Work

Lisa Munger, Ph.D, Biological oceanographer at work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that for geoscientists and oceanographers are expected to grow 14 percent through 2024, particularly in the oil and gas industry and private consulting firms. For those specializing in marine biology, employment is expected to grow 8 percent.

The future for marine biologists and ocean scientists is competitive, however growth will continue for experienced scientists as research centers, universities and other organizations conduct specialized experiments and manage current environmental issues. Marine biologists and oceanographers will find employment to solve issues including reducing carbon emissions, developing sustainable fishing methods and protecting marine habitats.

Specialists in oceanography and marine biology are employed by:

  • Federal, State and Local Governments
  • Scientific and Technical Consulting Firms
  • Research Institutes
  • Theme Parks, Zoos and Aquariums

Job Growth for Oceanographers and Geoscientist

Job Growth for Marine Biologists

In addition to scientific work, oceanography and marine biology jobs may include such duties as planning and carrying out research expeditions, managing a research project, preparing scientific equipment, collecting and analyzing data, using computer models, writing and publishing research reports, and collaborating with marine scientists in related fields.

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