Ocean creatures thrive in diverse marine habitats throughout the world. Many animal species dwell in warm coastal waters where food is plentiful and large predators are less prevalent. Deeper waters harbor larger animals such as sharks and bigger game fish. Investigate opportunities to interact with ocean life from both marine environments. Research-based careers enable you to study ocean creatures in native habitats; other jobs provide opportunities to educate others in land-based venues.
Marine Mammal Scientist
Indulge your interest in dolphins, seals or whales as a marine mammal scientist. Study your subjects' individual behaviors and community structure, population distributions and threats to mammals' welfare from diseases or pollution. Many marine mammal scientists spend long hours on the water, tracking animals' movements during academic research work. Some specialists work in aquarium animal care positions, while others gravitate to education-based jobs at universities. Consider a naturalist or whale watch guide position if you want to share your enthusiasm with others.
Marine Animal Veterinarian
A marine animal veterinary career allows you to channel your love of veterinary medicine into work with ocean-dwelling patients. As a marine animal vet, you might care for dolphins and seals at a marine mammal facility. At a metro aquarium, you might monitor the health of sea turtles, multiple fish species and sharks that naturally prey on the fish. If you'd rather work on the high seas, consider a veterinary research career, where you study ocean creatures in their natural habitats. A marine animal veterinary career requires specialized training after you earn a veterinary degree.
If you have a passion for photography, and you're an experienced SCUBA diver, consider an underwater photography career. Underwater photographers use waterproof camera equipment to shoot photos of colorful fish, corals, moray eels and other wildlife. Your top-notch diving skills enable you to maneuver your bulky lighting and camera equipment without spooking your photographic subjects. You'll likely work as a freelancer, selling your work to magazines, museums, galleries and other clients. An impressive portfolio might earn you a staff photographer spot with a leading dive magazine or documentary filmmaker.
Perhaps you're intrigued by coral reefs' complex ecosystems, or you want to compare different ocean species' camouflage techniques. A marine biology career can provide a broad foundation for your individual field of study. For example, you might compare colorations of different types of sea stars. You might focus on a specific behavior, such as mating behavior, exhibited by seahorses in different habitats. You might even analyze the effects of sunlight on coral reefs worldwide. Marine biologists often work under the auspices of federal agencies, universities and private consulting firms.
A fisheries science career allows you to combine your scientific mindset with a fascination for fish. Analyze fish species' interactions with other creatures that share the same expanse of ocean. Study the fishes' development in diverse marine environments, including habitats affected by pollution. Apply your fisheries science expertise to refine sustainable seafood harvesting techniques. Finally, consider the emerging field of marine biotechnology, where scientists help to develop new biomedical substances derived from marine life.
- A-Z Animals: Oceans
- Alaska Fisheries Science Center: National Marine Mammal Laboratory
- University of Florida Aquatic Animal Health: College of Veterinary Medicine: About Us
- The Art Career Project: Explore the Unknown: Explore an Underwater Photography Career
- The University of Texas at Austin: Marine Science Institute: What is Marine Biology? Career Opportunities
- Oceanography at Palomar College: Careers in Oceanography
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images