Marine Scientist

Marine scientists are involved in research, analysis and forecasts in relation to the oceans, their life forms and coastal areas. They analyse the sea and its interaction with the land, atmosphere and sea floors and use the information gained to predict changes to the earth’s infrastructure, inform statutory legislation and encourage environmental protection.

Marine science is a broad-ranging field that covers subjects as diverse as coastal processes; geology and geophysics; marine biology; oceanography, ocean modelling and forecasting; zoology; paleooceanography; biogeochemistry and ecosytems dynamics; and hydrographic surveying.

Marine scientists are employed by universities, international organisations, commercial companies, government agencies, not-for-profit organisations and marine research institutes.

While all roles require good general expertise and scientific abilities, specialisation in one particular area, such as coastal management, fisheries biology, mathematical modelling of ocean change, ecosystem dynamics or chemical risk assessment, is usually required for progression in the profession.

Marine biologists investigate sea life from a biological and environmental perspective, to better understand the structure and behaviour of sea organisms, and their relationship with the environment.

Marine biologists may do some or all of the following:

  • observe marine plants and animals in their natural environment
  • study the impact of pollution on marine life identify, classify and preserve different types of marine life
  • estimate population growth and life expectancy
  • plan and run field studies and experiments
  • use computer modelling techniques to predict future events in the marine environment
  • report the results of their studies in papers for science journals and in commercial reports.

Freshwater biologists do similar work, except that they study plants and animals living in rivers, lakes and ponds.

Marine Ecology
Professor Emma Johnston on her work in marine ecology, inspiring a new generation of scientists and why diving in Sydney Harbour still gives her a buzz.