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Hello, I am a high school student who was assigned a career investigation research project pertaining to a field of biology. I have chosen to research the lovely field of Marine Biology. The following is a list of questions that I am required to find out from someone with knowledge on Marine Biology. So please write back answering my questions to the best of your abilities. 1. A typical job description for a person in the profession field of marine biology. 2. Regions where there is a demand for this profession. 3. A typical pay scale for this profession when starting, after 5 yrs., after 10 yrs., after 20 yrs. 4. Any unique risk for persons in this profession.
Question Date: 2004-05-23
Answer 1:

I haven't been a biologist for very long, so here's what I've learned so far.

1. There are many possible jobs open to marine biologists. You might teach at a high school, community college, a four-year "teaching" college, or a large university. You could work for the government, monitoring the effects of pollution, human development, or climate change. You might do research, either in the environment or in a laboratory. That research might cover a huge range of topics, from how whole communities change over time down to what molecules are involved in specific biological processes. You might also be a science writer or consultant, working for news or governmental agencies. There's probably a thousand other jobs I haven't thought of, too!

2. If you're doing research, there's probably more demand in areas near the ocean. That would let you be there at your research site, or be there to collect the things you need for research in the lab. If you're a teacher, a government official, or a writer, you could probably live anywhere.

3. I have no idea, unfortunately. I know that high school and community college teachers don't get paid a lot, but they usually make enough money to get by. Government workers probably get paid a little more, and researchers more than that. Science writers probably have the widest range in pay, and I think it would depend on the organization you were working for.

4. The only risks I can think of would be for researchers, and those are very small. I suppose if you were doing your research in the ocean, you might get bitten or stung by an animal, or you might have a boat or SCUBA accident. In the lab, you might have to work with some toxic chemicals that you'd need to be careful around. All of these possibilities seem pretty remote, though. The other potential risk is that some researchers have to write grants to apply for money to fund their research, and there's always the possibility that you won't get the money you request. This is called being funded by "soft" money. People who do good research usually seem to find enough funding, though.

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