Kw-logo-smaller

Becoming a Marine Biologist

Right whale.
Courtesy of NOAA
Diver preparing fish survey.
Courtesy of NOAA
Drawing blood for research purposes.
Courtesy of NOAA

Susan Parks might not be able to communicate with marine animals but she still listens in on their conversations. The marine biologist is studying how the endangered North Atlantic right whale communicates when finding and selecting a mate. "Marine mammals are exciting subjects to study in this area because most species produce distinctive sounds that may be used for communication," Susan explains online.

What She Does

Most of her time is spent in the lab (about nine to 10 hours a day, five days a week) analyzing data that has been collected. When she does work in the field (about one to three months a year) everything depends on the weather. In good weather she works long hours, in bad weather she might even have to stop working for a few days.

Susan is currently a graduate student in the M.I.T - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. "I took classes at M.I.T. for about a year and now I am working at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that is both an educational and research institution." Susan takes courses, collects and analyzes her own data, helps advisors with research projects and applies for funding for her own research. She even gets to travel. So far she's been to Maui, Vancouver, London and Rome.

The Upside and Downside

"I like to be able to answer my own questions. It is particularly rewarding when other people are interested in the answers to the same questions or when the research can help with conservation and habitat improvement for the organisms I study." It's not all fun and games. "As a graduate student, sometimes the hours are long, the pay is low (about $20, 000 a year), and the respect of colleagues is non-existent. But it is really what you make of it. Most of the time I just feel very privileged to study behavior in right whales and spend time on the water observing an endangered species.

Course of Action

Susan knew she always wanted to work with the ocean, so in high school she took every math and science course. She received an undergraduate degree in Biology from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. and then went straight into the Ph.D. program at Woods Hole. "This much school (seven years at universities and counting) is not required for everyone wanting to become a marine biologist. You will need to find out how much education the job you are interested in will require," advises Susan.

Advice

If you're interested in getting a job in marine biology Susan says it can be difficult but it really depends on the particular job you are interested in. She suggests camps or internships which will give you an idea of what the job is about. She also recommends learning as much as you can about biology before you decide to be a marine biologist.

Check out where Susan works and other marine jobs www.whoi.edu.

 

Related Stories:

 

 

>
>

readers voted!

Comments

brunostar

brunostar wrote:

:)
commented: Sun Jun 30, 2013

Krisisawesome

Krisisawesome wrote:

my gf wants to be one
commented: Fri Jun 07, 2013

mainmuffin

mainmuffin wrote:

Awesome
commented: Fri Sep 14, 2012

there are 5 more comments

Please login or register to add comments

share with your friends


Twitter Facebook Myspace Digg


like this article?
Sign up now to get more just like!

latest videos

F1060637608812

What's Your Fave Marine Animal?

  • Dolphins.
  • Killer Whales.
  • Beluga Whales.
  • Giant Sea Turtles.

related stories

Micro_planet-ocean-micro
If you ever wonder what's going "under the sea"? The stunning nature documentary Planet Ocean, na...
Micro_dolphintrainer-micro
Imagine getting paid to work with one of the world’s most gentle and intelligent creatures. Dolph...
A shipwreck thought to have gold worth hundreds of millions of dollars on board has been found in...

Dear Dish-It in the forums

kaykay2002
kaykay2002 posted in Friends:
"Wooper1255" wrote:No. Just no. Mr. Face does not approve this. ._.Okay, okay, let's get serious.Your best friend BULLYING you? And loves it when you get mad? What the heck? SHE'S NOT EVEN YOUR FRIEND!You should have a talk with your best friend. No seriously, she doesn't have any friends cause she's a bully and no one likes to be friends with a bully...You should tell your best friend that she NEEDS to change her attitude! She needs to be more nicer to others also.Also, a best friend is: Caring, Kind, Loyal, Nice, Thoughtful, and will stand up for you against bullies, will be there if you're upset, maybe they'll even CRY with you!A best friend is totally NOT: Someone who bullies you, Someone who likes it when your madYou should ask her any of the following questions:Are you Okay?Why are you bullying me? You're my friend.Is something wrong like family issues?Questions like that are good because there may be a reason for bullying. She could be suffering from depression, or is confused or lonely. Just talk to her. Have a discussion with her. Also, you should talk to other people. Ask them why they aren't friends with your best friend. Then maybe, after they tell you what they don't like about her, you can go back to your best friend and tell her the things she needs to improve on. Also, if necessary, tell an adult like your mom, a teacher, consular, or her mom.Whatever you think will solve this conflict between you and your best friend well... just go for it. But think about the outcome too.Hope I helped, I might add some tips and suggestions to you. :3  your right and the only reason I have put up with her this long is because her dad died but I cant stand her anymore so but seriously I feel like there is another reason bcuz she has had people confront her saying "u know what I have put up wit this for a while and I have told u to stop and u don't listen and I know your dad died but that doesn't mean u can treat people like that "  but she still does it and for the past 3 yrs. I have put up with it but not anymore I will talk to her about it. Thanks.
reply about 11 hours
Wooper1255
Wooper1255 posted in Friends:
You NEED to tell your parents or HER parents about her attitude, this is abuse from your OWN best friend! Tell an adult, don't be afraid, it's not even SILLY to tell an adult, this is serious, she is HURTING you! Tell someone before things get out of hand and she REALLY hurts you! D=
reply about 12 hours
Wooper1255
Wooper1255 posted in Friends:
No. Just no. Mr. Face does not approve this. ._. Okay, okay, let's get serious. Your best friend BULLYING you? And loves it when you get mad? What the heck? SHE'S NOT EVEN YOUR FRIEND! You should have a talk with your best friend. No seriously, she doesn't have any friends cause she's a bully and no one likes to be friends with a bully... You should tell your best friend that she NEEDS to change her attitude! She needs to be more nicer to others also. Also, a best friend is: Caring, Kind, Loyal, Nice, Thoughtful, and will stand up for you against bullies, will be there if you're upset, maybe they'll even CRY with you! A best friend is totally NOT: Someone who bullies you, Someone who likes it when your mad You should ask her any of the following questions: Are you Okay? Why are you bullying me? You're my friend. Is something wrong like family issues? Questions like that are good because there may be a reason for bullying. She could be suffering from depression, or is confused or lonely. Just talk to her. Have a discussion with her. Also, you should talk to other people. Ask them why they aren't friends with your best friend. Then maybe, after they tell you what they don't like about her, you can go back to your best friend and tell her the things she needs to improve on. Also, if necessary, tell an adult like your mom, a teacher, consular, or her mom. Whatever you think will solve this conflict between you and your best friend well... just go for it. But think about the outcome too. Hope I helped, I might add some tips and suggestions to you. :3
reply about 12 hours
Boysrock50
Boysrock50 posted in Friends:
Yeah I had a friend in the same situation as you, he was too scared to say anything so we spoke for him. Now the 'friend' has changed and hes our mate. Just tell her straight and firmly, its the only way
reply about 12 hours
kaykay2002
kaykay2002 posted in Friends:
"Boysrock50" wrote:She is obviously NOT your best friend.I wouldn't even call her a friendShe is a bully who thinks she can have her own wayShe thinks she can control you like you're her follower because she the truth is she needs youBe smart and leave her because she's only going to keep you down and then one day she will find  friends just like her and she will just ignore you forever, thinking shes too cool for you.I would either:Tell her straight that she needs to make her own friends because you don't want to be friends anymoreor:Tell her that you don't like what she does and either she changes her ways and acts more like a friend, or you cant be friends anymore.I'm not trying to be harsh, I'm being wise and you should be wise too. Thanks I actually might try that but she is really stubborn and will not take no for an answer I have tried just ignoring her but he will kick, hit, or punch me to get attention. my parents also don't like her bcuz she is bossy. I also have to go to summer camp with her for the next 2 weeks and w have to be buddies for it so i think i might die
reply about 12 hours

play online games

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

1515_gl_kidzworld_100x100_jpg_fz

Intriguing planets, weird and wonderful characters; challenge friends and find a...

157262_(2)

When you go back to Candyland, you’ll wonder why you ever left in the first plac...

100x100_ra_logo_girl

Uncle George has left you his farm, but unfortunately it’s in pretty bad shape. ...

_thumb_100x100

Shoot blobs with different properies to merge yellow blobs. Your blobs can be re...