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Marine Biologist Responsibilities and Duties

If you’ve considered a career as a marine biologist, you may be wondering what types of things you would be doing on a day to day basis. You probably already have an idea of the types of research projects and experiments you would be undertaking as a marine biologist, but you might still have questions about your daily tasks and what your typical work day looks like. Your key duties and responsibilities will be listed in your marine biologist job description, but your day to day routine may vary depending on the type of projects you are working on and whether you are doing field research. Your duties and responsibilities will also be dictated by your area of specialization and any special projects that have been assigned to you.

Types of Duties and Responsibilities of a Marine Biologist

Here are a few different types of tasks, duties, and responsibilities that might be assigned to a marine biologist:

  • Using specialized computer hardware and software programs to collect, process, and analyze data
  • Preparing special reports for industries, the government, or certain types of publications
  • Reviewing reports and analyzing data
  • Representing the employer in a technical capacity at conferences, trade shows, and other industry events
  • Studying aquatic plants and animals, and environmental conditions that affect them
  • Preparing requests for proposals or statements of work as required
  • Studying the reactions of plants, animals, and marine species to parasites
  • Working with teams on field studies and to conduct various types of experiments
  • Classifying and studying the structure, behavior, physiology, nutrition, and distribution of plant and animal species

You will be trained to perform these tasks and studies when you complete a bachelor’s of science in marine biology or pursue advanced studies through a master’s degree or doctorate degree program. Many colleges offering marine biology degree programs give students a chance to complete hands-on training in the field as they conduct research of marine ecosystems such as beaches, kelp forests, estuaries, rocky intertidal areas, and open ocean areas.

Research-Based Duties and Responsibilities of a Marine Biologist

If you are pursuing a research-based career at a university, research center, or oceanography research institute, you will be required to perform very specific tasks and experiments following a set of protocol. Research scientists in this field typically have marine biology graduate degrees and are responsible for collecting and analyzing data, studying various types of animals and species, and developing theories or reports based on their findings. These roles may involve traveling to an offsite location for extended periods of time and conducting experiments onsite. Other tasks that marine biologists do include:

  • Using specialized tools and computer to collect data
  • Studying the reaction of plants, animals, marine species, and parasites in different environments
  • Using the scientific method and advanced research skills to conduct experiments in the field
  • Measure the salinity, acidity, light, oxygen content, and other water conditions to determine whether aquatic life can thrive in that environment
  • Develop methods and conclusions based on results from plant, animal, aquatic, and soil samples collected in the field

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