Working as a marine biologist, studying the oceans’ inhabitants and how they relate to their environment, may be the perfect occupation for a woman desiring a fascinating and worthwhile career. In this job, your analytical and curious mind, concern for the ocean and the life that resides there and your drive to achieve discoveries for the potential benefit of humanity can bring you a good deal of personal fulfillment.
As a marine biologist, you can reach many important scientific milestones. Working as a field researcher -- or in a lab delving into marine biotechnology -- you could study marine bacteria to develop and test drugs based on compounds found in those organisms. You can concentrate on molecular biology, identifying marine entities occurring in water samples to improve drinking water. You might make discoveries involving marine bioacoustics and vocalizations among marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins and seals. Or, perhaps you'd prefer specializing in the field of defense, where you could discover ways to keep barnacles or mussels from attaching to ships or underwater equipment.
Your accomplishments as a marine biologist can have a positive impact on the environment. You could study marine pollutants and devise ways to avoid their creation. You might work in a variety of marine areas -- beaches, tidal zones, continental shelves, the deep sea or even Antarctica -- to finds ways to alleviate ocean acidification and its potentially negative effect on marine life. The United States has regulations in place to protect the oceans' environments; you could work with other scientists who have been major players in the development of marine protection.
Sustainable Food and Health Achievements
Another accomplishment for which you could strive is finding ways to intelligently and scientifically develop the ocean as a sustainable food source. Farming fish, shellfish and seaweeds -- known as aquaculture -- uses biotechnology and molecular techniques to enhance the availability of fish for human consumption. As a marine biologist, you could help drive down the cost of edible fish products by applying marine science to ensure quality and quantity, while monitoring oceanic sources so they aren’t depleted. Other areas of achievement include developing antibodies from marine hosts to fight certain viruses.
You can get a head start as a marine biologist by beginning your education in high school. Volunteering at local aquariums or participating in a marine science summer camp can provide you with some insight about whether you’d enjoy this work. Entry-level jobs require that you have a bachelor’s degree, majoring in biology and specializing in marine biology. To conduct research or teach at the college level, you’ll need a doctorate, although you could work as a research assistant with a master’s degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is projected to grow by 7 percent through 2020. Some of this growth is attributed to the increasing need for biologists who study the consequences of a burgeoning human population and its impact on environments such as the ocean. Qualified women becoming marine biologists can help fill this need.
Michelle Reynolds has been writing about business, careers and art since 1993. She was the publisher of a newsletter, “Working Parents Monthly," as well as a graphic design guidebook. Reynolds also served as human-resources director at a resort/spa for eight years. She is an artist and promotes the arts and other artists through ElegantArtisan.com, a website she developed and maintains.