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What is a Typical Day Like For a Marine Biologist?

It’s hard to say exactly what a marine biologist does on a daily basis because there are so many different variables. For instance, what a marine biologist chooses to do in the winter may be significantly different from what they do in the summer. Not only that, but marine biologists are employed by different entities who all want different things. For instance, to work for a university would be very different than working for a government agency. Likewise, working with an environmental conservation group would differ greatly from working with an aquarium or a fishery. Also, many marine biologists (backed by independent investors or government grants) travel to different countries or regions to conduct research. For the most part, it is very common that a marine biologist will conduct research, publish articles or books on that research, and teach at a university at the same time. In the timeline below, I will follow the life of this kind of marine biologist.

The marine biologist wakes up early in the morning. The sun is just coming up as the biologist gets in the car and heads over to his field of research, in this case, the shoreline. Here the researcher samples specimens–this time clams. To get a better idea of the clams’ environment, the marine biologist has been conducting tests on the water. He checks the salinity, the temperature, and the current. He records the data and places his sample clams into bottles so that he may take them to the laboratory for further testing.

The marine biologist drives to the university and deposits the samples in a lab. He organizes them, takes a few notes, and rushes to his classroom in order to teach Introduction to Marine Biology. He spends an hour and fifteen minutes filling the minds of his students before heading back to the lab to check on the progress of his samples and conduct tests.

Students from a more advanced marine biology class meet the professor in the university laboratory. They are conducting experiments themselves. The marine biologist goes around to each student: helping them wield new tools, asking pointed questions about their research, and making corrections to their data.

The marine biologist heads home. After some hearty food after a long day, the marine biologist settles in to work on his computer. He spends a couple of hours writing about his research for publication, and analyzing his data. After that, he works on his lesson plans for the next day. By the time he is through with his computer, that day has been quite long, perhaps ten hours, perhaps fifteen.

As I stated before, this is only one possible avenue to take in the world of marine biology. Many different lifestyles are open to you if you begin a life in this field. Becoming a university professor is ideal because it keeps you in the hub of all new scientific knowledge and it forces you to publish research (the old academic proverb being “publish or perish”) in order to get marine biology grants for research. No matter if you are following seals’ mating patterns in the arctic, exploring the hunting habits of the great white shark in Australia, or combing the coast for crabs, all marine biologists work long hours. So, it is important that you enjoy your subject, though it is hard not to enjoy salt water, coral, and mysterious underwater creatures.


Comment from Angela
Time April 18, 2012 at 1:24 am

Hi, my name is Angela and i am 12 years old. I am doing a research report about marine biologist. I am suprised that marine biologist are so important or else we people will not know anything about sea life!

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