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What Is The Study Of Marine Biology

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Intertidal And Near Shore

Study Marine Biology and Oceanography | University of Southampton

Intertidal zones, the areas that are close to the shore, are constantly being exposed and covered by the ocean’s tides. A huge array of life can be found within this zone. Shore habitats span from the upper intertidal zones to the area where land vegetation takes prominence. It can be underwater anywhere from daily to very infrequently. Many species here are scavengers, living off of sea life that is washed up on the shore. Many land animals also make much use of the shore and intertidal habitats. A subgroup of organisms in this habitat bores and grinds exposed rock through the process of bioerosion.

What Is Marine Biology All About

Reading the title Marine Biology straightaway suggests that it is a branch of biological science that deals with the study of marine creatures, isnt it? Although correct, the subject is broader than you think. We already know that in Biology, diverse forms of family and genera of living organisms are present. One such category is the Marine Family that encompasses all living organisms that live in the sea, ocean, brackish waters and other forms of water bodies.

Did you know that the three-dimensional ocean occupies most of the Earths surface, as big as 71%? As a result, marine biology also focuses on the study of habitats like coral reefs, tidepools, seagrass meadows, sandy, rocky bottoms in an ocean, thermal vents and of course the kelp forests.

In a nutshell, everything from the microscopic picoplankton to huge mammals like blue whales and creatures living in the oceans, estuaries, and wetlands is all included in the study of Marine Biology.

Best Colleges For A Bachelor’s Degree In Marine Biology 2021

The schools listed below offer some of the most affordable marine biology bachelor’s programs today. While cost remains a major factor in deciding which college or university to attend, these schools offer other advantages as well including accreditation, specialization areas, and scholarship opportunities. Begin with this list in your search for an affordable bachelor’s in marine biology.

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Suny College Of Environmental Science And Forestry

The SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry is part of the SUNY school and is heralded as the nation’s top institution for natural resource management and environmental science. Each year, the school attracts many of the nation’s brightest students who want to study marine biology and aquatic sciences.

SUNY’s aquatic program is recognized around the world and has trained many students to become professionals in marine sciences.

Beyond the core curriculum involving science and math, all students take a deep dive into the vast knowledge of our Earth’s natural marine and freshwater ecosystems, gaining a better understanding of how we can protect and conserve them.

Students also take courses such as communications, social science, economics, and natural history, which broaden the scope of their studies, allowing them to pursue careers in environmental NGOs, private consultancies, government agencies, and more.

Why Study Marine Biology

How to Select a Marine Biology Program

Life in the sea has been a subject of fascination for thousands of years. One of the most important reasons for the study of sea life is simply to understand the world in which we live. The oceans cover 71% of this world, and yet we have only scratched the surface when it comes to understanding them. Scientists estimate that no more than 5% of the oceans have been explored. Yet, we need to understand the marine environment that helps support life on this planet, for example:

Health of the oceans/planetPollution Coral reefs

Alternate energy sources.

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What About Entry Training And Qualifications

Professional Marine Biologists

The usual requirement for professional posts in marine biology is a degree in biology or biochemistry. Specialist interest in marine studies is, of course, helpful and there are some degree courses specialising in marine biology or marine science. It is also worth checking courses that offer ecology or environmental studies as options. However, its advisable to start with a broad degree as this may offer you more possible career options and will ensure that you get a good understanding of how biology fits into your marine interests. A relevant degree can be followed by a postgraduate degree specialising in marine biology in fact, most jobs now ask for postgraduate qualifications. Suitable subjects to take at an advanced level for entry to biology-related degree courses are biology and chemistry, and either maths, physics or another science.

The IMarEST accredits a number of higher education courses around the world. Please visit our accredited courses webpage to look for a course that might be of interest to you, which we have assessed to be of an acceptable standard to apply for professional registration.

Laboratory Assistants and Technicians

Who Employs Marine Biologists

Employers of marine biologists include:

  • Research and advisory bodies
  • University research teams
  • Non-governmental Organisations
  • Commercial fisheries
  • Government-run regulatory and environmental bodies, e.g. the Marine and Fisheries Agency and the Environment Agency in the UK
  • Large industrial concerns, such as offshore oil and gas exploration companies
  • Environmental consultancies

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What Jobs Are There In Marine Biology

As a marine biologist, you could work in conservation biology and policy, environmental and resource management, fisheries biology, ecosystem restoration and marine impact assessments.

When you study marine biology at JCU, you might find marine biology jobs with not-for-profit organisations, universities and other research institutions, commercial organisations and governments.

Or, you may find may work as a marine biologist internationally, in a range of precious marine and coastal locations.

The kinds of jobs you could hold with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Marine Biology from JCU include:

  • Biological oceanographer.

How Do You Get Into A Marine Biology Degree

Duncan: One big reason to study marine biology

As weve just touched upon, applying to study a degree in marine biology will require good mathematics, biology, and science results. Youll need to have a minimum of an ABB A-level result in chemistry, mathematics and science. This is equivalent to an SAT score of 1,290 in SAT Reasoning and 650 in three subject areas. If you have an associate degree it will need to have achieved with a minimum mark of 3.2.

As an international student, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency will be important. You can do so by demonstrating a qualification from a university in which the language of instruction was English or by providing a certified English language test score. This would be a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with no section score lower than 5.5 for admission onto a programme. There is also the option of a pre-sessional English course to get up to speed.

Explore universities in Canada where your ambition to study marine biology could happen:

  • Regulatory bodies

As a marine biology graduate, youll need to build up your experience and be willing to relocate frequently. However, the work can be interesting and rewarding with salaries for graduates starting from GBP 20,000 and rising to GBP 40,000 with more experience.

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What Is A Marine Biology Degree

What exists under the Earths waters has been a subject of fascination for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Studying sea life helps us understand the world we live in, especially since the oceans cover over 70% of the surface of our planet! There is an incredible amount of research to be done in this field, as scientists estimate that only about 5% of the oceans have been explored so far.

Marine biology is the study of marine or saltwater organisms in their natural habitatand study everything from microscopic picoplankton and single-celled bacteria, to giant kelp and the majestic blue whales. They focus on understanding how marine organisms function today in order to predict how ecosystems will cope with large-scale changes such as climate change, overfishing, pollution, and invasive species.

Research projects are at the heart of what most marine biologists do, whether it be actually collecting specimens in the field, compiling research data, finding real life applications for the research data, or classroom teaching.

The minimum educational requirement to work as a marine biologist is a university undergraduate degree. A graduate degree is required for independent research.

What Does A Marine Biologist Do

Not all marine biologists work in the field. Many marine biologists work either in laboratories or in offices, carrying out computer work such as research, data analysis or the building of predictive models.

As part of the job, marine biologists often have to write and publish papers or reports, or present their findings at scientific meetings.

Other areas in which marine biologists are involved include working with organizations to achieve environmental compliance, monitoring pollution levels, or advocating the importance of marine environments to businesses or governments.

The majority of marine biologists find work with government agencies. These roles offer good job security and the opportunity for advancement.

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Are You Ready To Find Your Fit

A branch of science focusing on ocean life, marine biology studies the diverse species that live in the earth’s saltwater environments. Marine biologists study the behavior of marine animals, the physiological processes of different species, and the different habitats and environments found in the ocean. They also examine how human actions impact marine life. These professionals explore viable solutions to problems such as global warming and rising sea levels, oxygen depletion in the earth’s oceans, and widespread chemical and plastic pollution.

A bachelor’s in marine biology provides a framework for understanding the diverse ecological roles of sea creatures. Marine biologists often possess a strong affinity for ocean life and a commitment to preserving and improving the ocean environment. Graduates of an accredited bachelor’s in marine biology program often qualify for jobs as zoologists, conservation biologists, and marine ecologists.

Is Marine Biology A Stem Subject

study marine biology research

Yes. Marine biology is classified as a STEM subject. It is usually offered a BSc degree. As a biological science, the discipline requires an understanding of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and science. Marine biology may also open the door to other related STEM fields such as oceanography or marine engineering.

If youre a little unsure of all that STEM degrees entail you can consult our guide on the topic.

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Courses In A Marine Biology Bachelor’s Program

Course offerings for marine biology majors vary by program. While foundation courses likely cover similar topics, specializations typically include specific classes and course requirements.

Students explore topics such as the molecular basis of behavior, signal transduction pathways, and molecular endocrinology. Enrollees examine the physiological and behavioral responses of different organisms to environmental stimuli. The course familiarizes enrollees with traditional and emerging research theories and methodologies used to study control systems and molecular signaling.

The course introduces enrollees to various policies relevant to conservation issues and the preservation of diverse species populations. Students explore topics such as habitat fragmentation, ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation, and reserve design. They examine the close interrelationship between living organisms and their physical environment to craft viable conservation policies and sound ecological alternatives.

In this course, students examine the biodiversity of marine communities on several locations like beaches, marshes, coral reefs, and tidal flats. Topics covered include biogeography, physical attributes of marine systems, and environmental adaptation. Students also study factors that affect the diversity and distribution of marine organisms such as invertebrate animals, micro- and macro-algae, and vascular plants.

Level 6 & 7 Elective Courses

Choose nine of the following, or seven and the Research Project course .

Asterisk indicates recommended electives for this major

  • CONS621 Conservation Planning
  • ECOL603 Ecological Concepts*
  • ECOL604 Ecology Concepts II*
  • ENVS624 Plant and Animal Taxonomy*
  • ENVS632 Planning for Environmental Sustainability
  • GEOL601 Geology, Landscape and Environment
  • GEOL602 Sedimentary Rocks & Environments
  • ECOL731 Animal Behaviour and Ecology
  • ECOL732 Pacific Island Ecosystems

Other electives may also be available.

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What Are Marine Biologist Education Requirements

A bachelor’s or master’s degree is typically required for entry-level marine biology research jobs, such as those at private research organizations and biotechnology companies. Doctoral degrees are usually required for faculty positions and other jobs that allow you to follow your own research interests.

While several schools offer programs in marine biology, many students graduate with bachelor’s degrees in biology, zoology, fisheries, ecology, or other animal sciences. Classes in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and statistics are also important. Classes on public policy, English and writing are also helpful for working on regulatory issues and communicating with others.

What Are The Top Marine Biologist Skills

Studying Marine Science vs Marine Biology | What’s the difference?

To give a snapshot of some common skills and experience employers are looking for, weve summarised key skills from 13 job descriptions for marine biologists posted over the past 4 years. These jobs include:

  • Olive Ridley Project
  • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  • Data analysis, e.g. using R
  • Technical and report writing skills / preparing publications
  • Taxonomic skills
  • Dive certification at varying levels
  • GIS , GPS and spatial analysis
  • Project management including planning, funding, implementation and reporting
  • Animal husbandry
  • Strong verbal and written communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Ability to interact with a broad range of stakeholders / partners / audiences / technical backgrounds
  • Organisational skills
  • Ability to work independently / with minimal supervision
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • MS office packages, specifically Excel and PowerPoint
  • Delivering presentations
  • Experience with specific taxonomic groups


  • Living or working in a particular region or context
  • Working in remote locations and/or with limited resources and/or challenging situations
  • Multi-disciplinary collaboration
  • Working with customers / guests / volunteers
  • Working with local communities
  • Knowledge of marine environmental regulations
  • Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Managing external consultants/contractors
  • Specialist experience such as bioacoustics

You can also check out , which gives real-life feedback to applicants for one of the organisations job opportunities.

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What Does Marine Biology Study

The marine biologist is in charge of identifying the species that inhabit the sea, as well as their distribution and the cause of this phenomenon. Likewise, it also studies the interaction that exists between species, and between them and their environment.

As for their life cycles, you can study their reproduction, embryonic development and population fluctuations, or their variations and inheritance. Through marine biology, the mechanisms of adaptation to the marine environment or the depths can be analyzed.

It can also determine the effects of pollution on individuals, this discipline offers the possibility of using them as indicators of pollution or environmental stress.

University Of Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island is a public research university in Kingston, Rhode Island, United States. The University was founded in 1888 as the states agricultural school and is currently organized into five colleges: Agriculture and Natural Resources Business Administration Education Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences Nursing.

The University of Rhode Island has been ranked among Top 10 Best Undergraduate Schools for Marine Biology by College

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How Much Money Does A Marine Biologist Make

According to the National Careers Service, the average salary for a biologist in the United Kingdom ranges all the way from £14,000 for someone just starting out, to £70,000 for an experienced biologist. For example, this role with British Antarctic Survey was offered at £24,685. The average salary for a marine biologist in London is expected to increase by 16% from 2021 to 2026.

  • Accommodation, meals and flight reimbursement for a Venture Leader & Site Manager with Love The Oceans, Mozambique.
  • Board, lodging, domestic travel and visa for a with Atoll Volunteers, Maldives.

What Else Can You Do To Improve Your Employability


Joining a professional institute, such as the IMarEST, provides you with a range of benefits and services that are tailored to your point in your career, to support your professional development, raise your profile and connect you with other like-minded professionals from around the world.

Once you have joined a professional institute like the IMarEST, you can join your local branch to become involved in local activities and communities to get more from your membership and further boost your profile. Additionally, you can join a Special Interest Group, either as a corresponding member or, if you are advanced enough in your career, as a member of a committee and start influencing the profession at a higher level.

You could also gain relevant experience by volunteering. Many non-governmental organisations run conservation research expeditions that you can gain practical fieldwork skills and research skills, whilst also having a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Check out the list of the IMarESTs NGO Partners for ideas as to where you could go. The IMarEST also offers a variety of volunteering opportunities. Take a look at our get involved brochure as well as our volunteering brochure to find out more!

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Scope Of Marine Biology In India And Abroad

There is a huge variety of job profiles to choose from after graduating in marine biology. Most of the roles require research and scientific skills, specialising in a particular area and technical skills. Jobs are in coastal management, invertebrate biodiversity, fisheries biology, reef ecology or marine pollution.

Relevant experience after your degree is essential to have a successful career in the future. Students who are interested in fieldwork and are comfortable working for short term contracts are suitable. Candidates with a capability to work with a variety of people from government to local people and many more are needed. Strong team working enthusiasts make research and laboratory work easier. Students who are physically fit and practically adventurous are a good match. You can expect a classroom-based or a field-based career according to your preference.

University Of California Santa Barbara

The University of California, Santa Barbara, is quite unique in that it is one of the only colleges that allows undergraduates to major in aquatic biology. So, if you’re looking to broaden your horizons in the world of aquatic education, then this is one of the best marine biology colleges around.

Not only do students get the opportunity to learn about oceanography and marine organisms, but they also get the chance to study freshwater ecosystems.

Students come out of this program with a tremendous sense of fulfillment, as the aquatic biology element of the marine biology program sets them up for careers in water quality, fisheries, marine conservation, and much more. However, several graduate students continue their studies at UCSB, hitting the Ph.D. track or completing their master’s education.

Regardless of what they choose, UCSB students often benefit from the challenging yet rewarding marine science coursework they’re given. Plus, since the campus sits on the shoreline, students get access to field experience in outdoor laboratories, which take them out into the rich and diverse ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean.

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