Alternative Careers | August 12, 2010 | Share

marine biology MARINE BIOLOGY

Life is all about living, and doing so, to its fullest extent. The most important in the course of life, is to have a decent and fulfilling career. We educate ourselves in the primary years of our lives only to become something later and secure our future. There are a myriad of career options available to one. Engineering and practicing medicine are the most sought after options prevailing in this world. Law, designing, journalism, teaching etc are some of the others, heavily in vogue. However apart from these run-of-the-mill choices one could look towards other avenues, which may provide similar or even better alternatives for growth. Philately, archaeology, tattoo artist, musician, a stand-up comedian, theatre artist, zoologist and many more are certain examples of these innovative career choices.

In today’s world of growing scientific temper, courses in sciences and allied fields are far more becoming than other options. Since 2/3rd of earth’s surface is covered with water, the intrigue associated with discovering the unknown under water is fast gaining popularity. Marine biology is one option, which is fast becoming desired due to its immense scope of growth and development. It pertains to the scientific study and observation of marine animals in the oceans and other brackish water bodies. It is very closely related to biology and is in turn a branch of oceanography. It incorporates several ideas from ecology as well. Marine conservation and fisheries science are the offshoots of this field.

The eligibility criteria for this course are very straightforward. Biology, mathematics (calculus), some statistics and computer science are a must at graduate and undergraduate level. For being a chief research scientist or a college professor, doctoral degree is required. However for teaching high school or becoming a lab technician, a master’s degree would suffice. It takes roughly 4 yrs to graduate and 2-5 more yrs to gain specialization. Internships and work experiences are equally important for gaining a general perspective. One could work in labs and on the field as well. Weekend and summer jobs in biology can do wonders. Volunteering with fisheries, zoos, aquariums and wildlife sanctuaries can also provide the relevant experience. Getting involved with the technical aspect of marine biology is also equally rewarding. People with SCUBA certification, boat handling experience and a valid driver’s license will have an edge in this field.

Being constantly dreary and wet is a downside of this profession. However you just need to get used to it! Sharon Jeffery is a famous marine biologist who simply loves her work and spent the early years of her life snorkeling, swimming and camping by the beach. She is an aquarist at the Vancouver aquarium marine science centre where she designs and maintains exhibits of local fishes. According to her there is a lot of competition in this field and to really set yourself apart, you need to spend a lot of time on the beaches, trying to understand the animals behaviorally at a sub-conscious level.

The salary considerations for this profession are high. One could gather $36,450-$66,123 in a year. It only keeps increasing as your expertise and experience in the field goes up. The marine biological association of India takes care of spreading awareness about this discipline in the country. It was established in 1958 and since then it has organized lectures, seminars, published journals, sponsored and has provided numerous internships to students, nation- wide. BCA Pondicherry also provides specialized courses in marine biology.

All in all, marine biology is a very wise career option for those with a keen interest and passion for mapping and discovering the vast expanse of the sea. Basic science knowledge in a multitude of disciplines, while maintaining a high GPA throughout school life is sufficient. It is a stressful journey with a lot of competition; only by remaining focused and diligent can one achieve the ultimate goal of success.

Tina Jindal


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