How to become a shark biologist? Simple: learn to swim and dive, get a good education in marine biology, and then work really hard learning about some of the most fascinating sea creatures in the oceans. To be a successful shark biologist, there will also need to be added in a bit of luck!
First, start spending time at the beach if possible. Learn to swim and swim reasonable well, then start snorkelling. This is to see if one really wants to spend a significant part of one’s life below water and in the sea. You then learn to SCUBA Dive. Why not start with diving? Because it is expensive and most certification courses require that one masters the other skills first!
Now that a love of the seas and the creatures living in them has been established, time to study marine biology. Why not just study sharks? Because, like the old saying “no man is and island”, no organism is an entity unto itself or can truly be understood without understanding the environment in which it lives.
Even if one wants to specialize in just a specific species of sharks, the general knowledge gained will not be wasted. While specialization is good and may be the eventual goal, general knowledge is needed to get started. Knowing the differences between species can result in a better understanding of the specifics and will result in more respect in the field.
Have swimming down pat, excellent diver and a degree or two under the belt means one is now qualified to be a shark biologist. Now the work is needed. What kind of work? That depends on what the end goal of being a shark biologist is desired.
If the goal is working with them to obtain a better understanding of the shark’s environment for conservation, work on a fishing boat at the start. This will give a chance to not only see a variety of sharks, but also experience with others that work and handle sharks, learning myths along with reality. It is important for a conservation person to know both!
A more technical shark biologist should aim for a job in research. Work with experts in the field. This may still involve those fishing boats and working with people that have a practical education rather than a university education, but the university education will prove invaluable if you are to become successful as a shark biologist!
And to become a successful shark biologist, just as being successful at anything, involves a bit of luck with the hard work. Luck is actually hard work and astute observation combined. Go to meetings and ask questions, get noticed and also notice things. Most professionals agree on the basics but quibble over the details, and those details are what make one successful.
By learning, asking questions and working with the sharks is how one becomes a shark biologist!