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?
get more just like it in your email

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...

latest videos

Dear Dish-It in the forums

SelenaGomezFanGirl
...im not too sure what the brown stuff is,but since you said you have not done it,you should trust yourself.And talk about it to your mom!I'm sure she will give you the best of advices and stuff because she would have probably experienced it before.So,don't be afraid,and approach her when she's vacant!Good Luck!
reply about 4 hours
SelenaGomezFanGirl
no you shouldn't!I bet, the friends that are pressuring you are girls only because they are jealous of your girl,because of her personality and style,and probably, most likely that they wanna be your girlfriend as well! ~~comment me back if you like!:)                                                          
reply about 4 hours
OptimisticJollygirl
You are perfect the way you are.
reply about 8 hours
InternetOwl
InternetOwl posted in Friends:
I'm not sure whether you have actual depression or not (Ask your doctor if you feel you do, they'll be able to help. ^^), but I'm really sorry you feel depressed. I've been there too, and it really does feel like no one cares.   I know you said it's awkward, but try talking to your dad about it. You said he's the only one who seems to listen, so I'm sure he will listen and try to understand. If you start feeling really depressed every day, try doing things to make you feel happier. I don't know what you like to do, but you should do things like relaxing, reading, talking to people and spending more time outside. Smiling more often can help relieve stress and make you happier as well. c: Try meeting new people too. It seems as though your current friends are bringing you down, so you can try to talk to them if you like or find more friends who'll listen and care about you (however, try to keep your old friends as well. They are your friends after all, and it's hard being lonely). You've got friends on here too. But please don't think about doing anything harmful to yourself. You might not be thinking like that now, but being depressed can lead people to this and it's really not the answer.  Good luck! ^u^  
reply about 12 hours
FloraTheWolf
FloraTheWolf posted in Friends:
And you can add me as a friend if you want :D
reply about 13 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...

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...

_thumb_100x100

We have all played the famous game Sudoku, now play it online with this Classic ...