Today, several thousand marine scientists are busy at work in the United States dealing with a diversity of important issues — from declining fisheries and eroding coastlines to the development of new drugs from marine resources and the invention of new technologies to explore the sea. Approximately 40 percent of these scientists are employed by state and federal governments, 30 percent by universities and colleges, and 30 percent by private industry.
What is the outlook for future marine science careers? There’s a huge potential for growth in this field during the next few decades as we learn more about the global ocean and its interactions with the land and atmosphere, how humans affect the ocean, and the impact of ocean resources on our quality of life. Additionally, new opportunities in marine science are being created as the need for specialized technology to work in the demanding ocean environment increases.
Many people associate marine science only with marine biology, yet marine biology is far from being the only science associated with the ocean. Marine scientists or oceanographers can be physicists, chemists, geologists, engineers, computer scientists, and biologists who have applied their trade to the world’s oceans. And like any trade, there is an apprenticeship that begins with a curiosity and perseverance to learn more about the nature of things around us, especially the vast ocean that covers more than 70 percent of the Earth.
To learn more about the tremendous breadth of marine science careers and the education required to become a marine scientist or policy specialist, check out these resources:
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Scientists in the field of marine biology study the behavior and ecology of plants and animals that live in the ocean and their roles in the marine food chain.