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Marine scientist

A marine scientist undertakes research into the sea and studies its relationship with seafloors, the earth’s crust, animal life, plants, the land, coastal areas and the atmosphere.

Job description

A marine scientist undertakes research into the sea and studies its relationship with seafloors, the earth’s crust, animal life, plants, the land, coastal areas and the atmosphere. The information collected by marine scientists contributes towards databases and legislation for environmental protection. Marine scientists are employed by government and non-government organisations such as marine research institutes, universities and commercial companies. A lot of research requires time to be spent at sea for varying time periods, depending on the project.

Work activities

  • Planning and undertaking laboratory-based experiments and research.
  • Collecting samples at sea.
  • Keeping up to date with scientific and research developments.
  • Recording, analysing and interpreting data from biological or physical processes.
  • Writing research papers, reports and reviews.
  • Using specialist computer databases and software to analyse and manage data.
  • Developing and maintaining a network of contacts.
  • Planning and organising field research trips.
  • Generating new research hypotheses and research theories.

Work conditions

Travel: is generally a requirement. Long periods spent at sea in various international locations are required for some field trips.
Working hours: can be long, particularly during field trips.
Location: mainly in coastal areas. Relocation may be necessary to follow funding and particular projects.

Entry requirements

Entry usually requires a degree in marine science or biology, geology, ecology, biology, oceanography, zoology or marine or maritime studies. A relevant postgraduate qualification (whether a PhD or a research-based MSc) is also helpful, particularly for permanent positions. Post-doctoral research or practical research or laboratory work experience is beneficial, and generally required for academic posts.