Science, Technology & Environment

Marine Biologist

Marine biologists study all forms of life that live in water. They examine habitats, behaviours, origins and environmental factors.

  • Entry-level education

    Bachelor’s degree

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Marine Biologist do?

Marine biologists study all forms of life that live in water. They examine habitats, behaviours, origins and environmental factors.


Work activities

As a marine biologist, you would:

  • develop and conduct field and laboratory research
  • study marine creatures in their natural environment or in captivity
  • analyse the influence that human activity has on marine life and their natural habitats
  • collect biological data and specimens for analysis and interpretation
  • analyse and interpret data using statistical and other IT software
  • identify, record and monitor marine species
  • research, initiate, and maintain ways of improving breeding programs that support endangered species, or other wild populations of aquatic life
  • estimate, monitor, and manage marine populations and invasive plants and animals
  • develop conservation plans and make recommendations on management issues
  • write detailed reports, give presentations and publish information in journals and books

Key skills and interests

To become a marine biologist, you would need:

  • an interest in marine animals and in their habitats
  • an aptitude for science
  • an accurate and methodical approach to your work
  • the ability to plan, research, analyse and interpret data
  • good written communication skills
  • practical skills for fieldwork
  • problem-solving skills.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

In research and higher education, you would usually work regular hours, Monday to Friday. As a field researcher you would work variable or irregular hours, involving periods at sea or on location at a fieldwork station.


As a marine biologist you would split your time between working in a laboratory, fieldwork and time in an office. You may also need to monitor experiments for long periods in a laboratory. You would need to spend time writing up and recording your research. You may travel internationally to sites of scientific interest.


How to become an Marine Biologist?

Entry Level Education

Marine biologists are qualified biologists. To become a biologist, you usually have to complete a degree in a biology with a specialisation; for example, marine or environmental. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.

In order to work in research or academic roles, you would need a bachelor's degree at minimum, a master's degree for advancement, and a PhD for individual research or teaching.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of wildlife biologists, including marine biologists, is projected to grow slower than the average for all occupations.

More wildlife biologists will be needed to study the impact of human population growth on wildlife and their natural habitats. However, because most funding comes from governmental agencies, demand for wildlife biologists and marine biologists will be limited by budgetary constraints.


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