With the rise in conservation awareness combined with the going green movement, it is no surprise that careers in conservation biology are going to be in high demand. Concerns over global warming and the decline in ocean life have made several people interested in marine biology deciding to specialize in marine conservation biology. But what exactly is marine conservation biology and how would one pursue a career in this field?
First let’s look at what marine biology entails. Marine biology is the study of life in salt water such as the planet’s oceans and estuaries. Marine biologist study not only marine organisms on a molecular level but how marine organisms behave and interact with their environment.
Marine conservation biology is simply the study of maintaining the biodiversity of salt water environments. Marine conservation biologists research and study ways to preserve and restore the ocean environment.
For the most part, you will have to start out in a degree in biology. Marine biology is a master’s degree level major. Marine biology involves various areas of science including molecular biology, ecology, and chemistry.
As far as the best colleges and universities to attend, there are many schools to choose from to obtain a degree in biology. When it comes time to earn a graduate degree in the field of marine biology, there are several schools across the United States to choose from. Marine Bio has compiled a list of some of the top schools to attend. However, Duke University in North Carolina and Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, CA two of the best schools for marine conservation biology.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for biologist is on the rise by 21 percent over the next ten years. However, there are more people majoring in marine biology than positions available. Those with a Ph.D. are more likely to obtain jobs regarding research. Those who have less than a Ph.D. may end up with jobs that are less scientific and more like office work pertaining to the field.
Marine conservation biologists tend to find employment with government agencies and private companies. Many go on to work for non-profit organization that do ocean conservation research and educate the public about the importance of protecting our oceans.
Those who have obtained a bachelor’s degree have an earning potential of $30,000 to $40,000 a year. Those who have a master’s degree have the potential to earn between $40,000 to $70,000 a year. Keep in mind that earning potentials are higher with advanced degrees. Government jobs can sometimes pay more and their may be more benefits available to you.
Many people that choose a career in marine conservation biology are passionate about preserving and restoring the ocean’s delicate balance. This isn’t a career to take into lightly. Some marine conservation biologist will attest that they are overworked and underpaid but it is all worth it in the end just to be able to help save the oceans. Many times a marine conservation biologist’s office is out on the ocean and the ocean can be an unforgiving environment. They can spend days to weeks out on a ship doing research. However, the knowledge that their research provides will last a lifetime and empower future generations to respect and save what the ocean offers to the world, which is life itself.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Marine Science Institute