Things You Get To Do When You Are A Marine Biologist?

I regularly check out the Google search phrases and terms for how people arrived at DSN.  A few days ago I saw that someone asked the question in the above post.  Obviously, I was intrigued by the question.  I think it reminded me that I am privileged to do this. Although I speak of the how tough this field can be, I am grateful for having this oppurtunity.  At a basic level, it comes down to the type of job I have.  My father once said, and I am not sure he even remembers, is that you can determine whether you have good job or not by whether you have to shower before or after you come home from work.  Wise words from a man who worked himself hard in a physically demanding factory job.  So I am starting a meme and I am tagging Rick, Miriam, and Mark The rules are simple, list the Ten Best Things You Get To Do As A Marine Biologist and of course tag two others.

  1. I get to explore the unexplored, seeing new species and new habitats that no human has ever seen before.
  2. I get to be at the front lines of scientific inquiry about the oceans. Daily, I explore and strive to answer the big questions in science and about the deep sea.  I am privileged to add society’s collective knowledge.
  3. I get to have Eureka moments, those instances when a scientific discovery is made.  A moment when everything comes together…data, analyses, knowledge, theory…and for the first time you can new insights to pattern and process.
  4. I get to travel to exotic locations, be at sea, and scuba dive. I live part of my life in medium wholly alien to others. I truly love being at sea.
  5. I get to interact and observe ocean life.  I am witness to the novel adaptations, rich biodiversity, amazing behaviors, and extreme profoundness of marine species.
  6. The best technology the human race has to offer…remote operated vehicles, satellites, submersible, automated underwater vehicles, supercomputers, modern research vessels, offshore observation systems, etc…is at my fingertips.
  7. I am surrounded by the greatest minds in science…daily.  I interact with them.  Exchange ideas with them.  We work together to develop creative solutions and engage in synthesis to advance the field.  We publish together.  And, at the end of the day we share a pint and discuss more ideas.
  8. I get the oppurtunity to convey my passion and knowledge to the public.  I get to be an advocate for the ocean, trying inspire the public to be better stewards of our oceans.  I get to witness a persons excitement, curiosity, and awe when I speak about the oceans.
  9. I get to spend most of my life indulging and exploring a subject I am passionate about.  My paycheck comes from doing above list. I am excited to rise in the morning and start my day’s work.  I am upset in the evening that my day is not longer, not because I have more work to do (I do!) but because I want to do it and cannot wait till tomorrow.
  10. I get to take a shower before I go work, not after.
Dr. M (1624 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





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11 comments on “Things You Get To Do When You Are A Marine Biologist?
  1. PS I often find that many marine biologists are well served by taking showers after work… something about smelling like dead fish and seaweed. ;)

  2. Thanks for tagging me! Not sure what I will add to your quality list but I’ll think about it over the next couple days. But, uh, yeah, Dr. M…I take a shower AFTER field work. Maybe you deep-sea types view the smell of formalin as a delicate perfume?

  3. Actually, Miriam, the excessive use of formalin has burned out all the nerve endings in our nostrils. I smell nothing, at all, ever, anymore. But I can still taste!

  4. Sure there are downsides to being a marine biologist; waking up before sunrise stinks, pulling a seine net is hard work, and sometimes a needlefish bites you (although that is more humorous). Your pants get stained with squid ink, and you end up with shrimp-juice in your eyes and hair (oh yes, I’ve been there!) But you also get to have days where you are done with work by 2pm, you constantly get to learn new things, and getting to play with a Giant Pacific octopus is just AWESOME!

  5. hey im in highschool and have dreamed about exploring the ocean and its animals since i was in 5th.but i wouldnt know how to get staryed so if any of you have some advice or suggested schools or companys that provide jobs for marine biologists i would really appreciate it :)

  6. i would like some more information on being a marine biologist. since i was little i was very strong on becoming a marine biologist and i still am but because of the area im in options are scarce but i would like to know howd i start if i were to become a marine biologist after graduating in college. im a junior in highschool and i really want by the end of this junior year decide what ill be in the future

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