Marine biologists study the origin, structure, functions and behaviour of all forms of life in the sea and connected estuaries, rivers and lakes, as well as their relationships with each other and how they are affected by environmental factors.
To become a marine biologist you usually have to study marine or environmental biology, marine science, marine environment or a related field at university. You may also consider major streams that emphasise marine biology, such as aquaculture. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, earth and environmental science, biology and physics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Marine biologists may perform the following tasks:
Marine biologists may be required to work both in a laboratory and for extended periods at sea or on shore-based field stations. Fieldwork may include working on commercial fishing vessels, on small inshore vessels or scuba diving. In many cases, much of the work of marine biologists involves office work, research, writing reports and long hours in laboratories.
Marine biologists are employed by state, territory and federal government departments such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), resource and environmental departments, as well as universities and museums. Some marine biologists also work in the aquaculture and fisheries industries or in environmental consulting firms. Job opportunities depend on the level of funding for marine research from governments and private industry, the occurrence of marine ecological problems and community awareness of environmental and conservation issues.
A marine ecologist studies the interrelationships between marine organisms and their environment.