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Also Known As
- Biologist, Marine
- Scientist, Marine Biologist
Marine biologists study plants, animals and micro-organisms that live in the sea. They take and test samples from organisms , to find out more about certain species and to see if they are affected by human activity. Marine biologists look at environmental damage, for instance to coral reefs, and explore ways to make safe use of the sea's resources.
Marine biologists study plants, animals and micro-organisms that live in the sea. Because oceans and seas are vitally important to life on Earth, marine biologists examine environmental damage, and find out if humans are making safe use of the sea's resources. Much of the work is laboratory based but some time may be spent on research vessels or on field trips at sea.
Marine biologists gather samples and data at sea. For example, they may catch fish and see if they have absorbed dangerous levels of radiation from nuclear waste dumped at sea. In the laboratory, they use equipment like electron microscopes to look at the samples. They present significant findings in reports, scientific journals or at conferences. A long-term project may look at the effect of pollution from an oil refinery on marine life.
A huge number of organisms live in the seas and oceans; many have benefits for humans. For example, biologists have found anti-cancer compounds in some sponge types. There is a continuing need to find out more about marine life and the sea's resources.
Personal Qualities and Skills
You must be able to work as a member of a team, especially at sea. You will also need to be able to work alone for long periods. You will need patience and steady hands to dissect microscopic organisms . Physical fitness is important for fieldwork.
Pay and Opportunities
Marine biologists often work in Research & Development (R&D) and at monitoring posts worldwide. Marine laboratories, government departments, universities, fisheries, and fish farms also provide employment. There are also opportunities in aquaculture and large oil companies. There is intense competition in this field. Some marine biologists go on to do consultancy work in a freelance capacity. Starting salary is from EUR23k to EUR25k per year. This rises with experience and depending on nature of employer to EUR35k. Top earners can earn more than this. For public service salary scales see www.publicjobs.ie.
Entry Routes and Training
Most new entrants are graduates . Degrees in Biology or Applied Biology are useful, especially if the course contains marine biology.
Some jobs, particularly research posts, require a postgraduate qualification.
Graduates of the degree in Marine Science may continue their education through various postgraduate studies at NUIG or at other institutions in Ireland and abroad.
Candidates are recommended to check the prospectuses from the individual institutions for course details and specific entry requirements.
Application for admission to undergraduate courses must be made in accordance with the regulations and procedures and timetable described in the CAO Handbook.
The Handbook is confined to giving information on how to apply for admission to the relevant institutions. Applicants should not attempt to complete the application form without first referring to the information literature on courses, which is available from the institutions to which application is to be made.
Please see http://www.cao.ie/courses.php for information on course qualifications
There is no formal upper age limit for entry to this job. Entry to relevant training may be possible through universities or colleges that relax normal academic entrance requirements for suitable mature applicants. Most academic institutions define people aged 23 years or over as mature candidates.
Contact your local FÁS office for Career Guidance, planning and support that will help you make informed decisions about the best career direction for you.
- AGCAS: Environmental, Food Chain and Rural
Labour Market Information
Qualifax: Ireland’s National Learners’ Database
A person who has a degree.
Tiny living beings that can only be seen by using a microscope, for example, bacteria and viruses. Also known as microbes.
A living thing made up of a single cell or lots of parts that all rely on each other.
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