Marine Biology is a branch of science dealing with organisms that live in or are dependent on oceans, seas, and other bodies of saltwater. It encompasses the botany, zoology, and microbiology of these environments.
Marine Biology is highly multidisciplinary—in fact, Astronomy, Meteorology, Chemistry, Ecology, Geology, Genetics, Paleontology, Food Science, and many other branches of science also play a role in the study and conservation of marine life!
About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, making Marine Biology a critical subject to advance our knowledge of climate change; pollution; air quality; endangered species; impacts on the food chain; alternate energy sources; and even biomedical and pharmacological applications.
According to marinebio.org, Marine Biology has many subfields. This equips successful learners generously for potential employment, with opportunities in Microbiology; Fisheries and Aquaculture; Environmental Marine Biology; Deep-sea Ecology; Ichthyology; and others. Some specific roles in Marine Biology include Marine Biologist, Ocean Engineer, Marine Mammal Trainer, Marine Archeologist, Marine Researcher, Marine Environment Educator, Aquatic Veterinarian, Scuba Diver Instructor, Underwater Filmmaker, and other roles that involve knowledge of marine life and conservation.
Marine Biology courses offered through Coursera focus on the concept and practice of ecosystems-based management applied to the large marine ecosystems of the world. Courses cover organisms critical to saltwater ecosystems, why they are important, their environmental benefit, and their use to landlife. The evolutionary history of marine life is explored as well, enabling learners to understand the physiology of animals that have returned to water such as whales, seals, crocodiles, sea turtles and penguins.
Marine Biology learners can explore the topics in these courses through lectures, videos, readings, quizzes, and more ways to build course mastery.
Anyone with an interest in the topic can learn about marine biology. But if you have any kind of professional or personal experience within the field, you may have a better understanding of any courses you take or the course materials. This might include experience with marine life, including fish, marine mammals, sea birds, sharks, rays, sea reptiles, coral, cephalopods, crustaceans, shellfish, and organisms like plankton. This may also include experience with marine ecosystems. A background in oceanography, marine geology, or molecular biology can also help you have a better understanding of marine biology. Other skills that can be beneficial include scientific writing, knowledge of marine laws and policy, math skills, public speaking, and project management.
People best suited for roles in marine biology are those who are interested in the ocean and the life that lives in and around it. It's also important you enjoy spending time in or near the ocean because you'll probably find yourself doing fieldwork if you choose a career in marine biology. Anyone who is interested in any science field should have good observational skills and patience to ensure that whatever they're working on is done correctly. You'll need to be a communicator—both orally and in writing—so you can share your scientific findings with others. You'll also need to be able to work with a team.
Learning marine biology is a great idea for anyone who has a passion for the ocean and its marine life and ecosystems. If you plan to seek a career in marine biology or something similar within the science field, learning marine biology is the best place to start. Learning marine biology can also help you become an advocate for the environment. For example, by studying the subject, you may better understand how pollution affects marine life so you can present the information at a city council meeting. Learning about marine life can also help prepare you for a career as a trainer or to work in an aquarium.
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