“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Cousteau, Explorer/Scientist
Oceans are the lifeblood of Earth and humankind. 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, with the oceans containing 96.5% of all Earth’s water. With the expanding misuse and alteration by mankind, there is an earnest requirement for us to study and understand marine systems if management strategies are to succeed, As such in recent times, Marine scientists have played an important role especially in today’s modern world. Marine specialists help the society to understand problems such as climate changes and also identifying sustainable and profitable ways the society should use with the sea’s abundant yet finite resources.
What is Marine Sciences?
Marine Science is the study and research of various aspects of ocean life and physics. This multidisciplinary area of study includes Marine Biology, Ocean Chemistry, Marine Ecology and Oceanography. Students pursuing in this field of study will learn various methods to investigate and analyse Earth’s ocean, its ecosystems & life forms as well as coastal environments, sea floors and oceanic currents.
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Graduates enjoy a myriad of career pathway options to choose from upon graduating from the versatile field of marine sciences. Students are equipped for positions in marine and aquatic science careers such as aquarists, government agencies, education specialists and even field and data technicians in research laboratories.
For instance, Marine Biologists conduct scientific study of organisms in marine bodies (ocean, estuaries and wetlands) whereby species are classified based on the environment (humidity, soil nutrients, temperature, etc.) as compared to its taxonomy (shared characteristics). Marine Aquatic Chemists delve into the study of chemistry in marine environments consisting of 3 categories: organic, inorganic and biochemistry. Similarly, Marine Ecologists partake in multitude scientific study of marine-life habitat, populations and interactions among organisms and the surrounding environment. This includes the influence of chemistry, physics, meteorology, pedology, geology and geography on marine environments. In addition, they would also learn the impact of human activity such as agriculture, development, fisheries, forestry and medical research revolving around the marine habitat. Lastly, Physical, Geological, Chemical and Biological Oceanographers study the history and structure of the ocean. For instance, oceanographers study the forms of waves, currents and tides, structure of the seafloor and coastal margins, composition and properties of seawater, and marine organisms and their interaction with the ocean environment.
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If you are inclined to study in Australia, the Australian National University offers a major in Marine Science. The University, which ranks 1st in Australia and co-equal 19th in the world with King’s College London, Marine Science Major is highly regarded subject placed 12th in the Earth and Marine Science World Subject Rankings (QS World University Rankings 2016). Similarly, The University of Western Australia (top 100 universities under 50 Years, Times Higher Education 2015) too offers a Marine Science undergraduate program. Ranked top 30 in the world, University of Western Australia is well equipped and supported by world class research facilities of the Oceans Institute, Centre for Marines Futures, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).
Aside from Australia, several Universities in the United States are also renowned for their Marine Sciences degree programs. One distinguished institution is Hawai’i Pacific University. With its campus located in Honolulu, Hawai’i an island situated in the Pacific Ocean, it is indeed an apt and perfect location for the studies encompassing the marine habitat. Hawai’i Pacific University offers two Bachelor of Science degree programs in marine sciences: Oceanography and Marine Biology. Marine science lectures and laboratory research are held at the Oceanic Institute, a research and development facility dedicated to marine aquaculture, biotechnology, and coastal resource management.
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Other institutions highly recommended when studying abroad also include University of Aberdeen (UK), University of Southampton (UK), Southern Cross University (AUS) and University of Sydney (AUS) to name a few.
So, take a dive into the field of study that covers over 129 million square miles of Earth and is essential in our existence. Explore, discover and understand the dynamics of deep oceans that could provide high-value critical information needed to address the emerging science and management needs. Pursue in the field of Marine Sciences and make an impact for the future.