Marine scientists address problems and issues facing marine life. They systematically gather data in the field or laboratory with special sampling gear and monitoring equipment. They interpret and evaluate the data they collect, then write scientific reports for clients or supervisors. They may also help make decisions or solve problems. Sometimes they deal with problems of great economic or political importance.
A marine scientist may work as in independent consultant, for a consulting firm or a university system, or for a federal or state resource management agency. A few marine scientists conduct environmental studies for the petrochemical industry. Opportunities with tax-supported federal and state management agencies are limited; many agencies are cutting their marine science staffs. The marine science aspects of bioengineering, aquaculture, and environmental science may lead to new job opportunities in the future.
To be a marine scientist you must be competent in biology, chemistry, and the physical sciences. You must have a good foundation in mathematics, computer skills, communication, and writing. You should have a keen interest in conservation and coastal and marine resources. For a high-paying job, you need a master's or doctoral degree.
In high school, take biology, chemistry, advanced mathematics, and physics. Take marine biology, if it is offered. Typing or microcomputer courses are essential. Get involved in extracurricular marine debris or shoreline erosion projects, if you can.
-- Mel Russell, Texas A&M University