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Marine biology is the study of life forms living in saltwater, and therefore, usually an ocean environment. Studies in this field may include the analysis of plants, fish, microscopic organisms and marine mammals. Marine biologists may also study the whole of an ocean ecosystem, or a specific type of life form and how it interacts with its habitat.
People who work in marine biology may do so in the field or analyze data gathered from ocean sites. It can be comparative in nature, and might include an analysis of similar bacteria existing in several different oceans. Alternately, it can be specific to just one species or location.
Other forms of science, particularly climatology as it affects ocean life forms, oceanography, and animal behavior, are connected to the field. While some marine biologists may study the biological structure of an animal, others might study how it behaves.
Often people think of marine biology as only the study of marine mammals, like whales, dolphins or seals. This actually represents just a small portion of the scientific field. There are relatively few marine mammals as compared to vast numbers of species of fish, plants, and single-celled organisms in ocean environments. Understanding the mechanism and interactions of these less glamorous species tend to shed light on important facts about the marine mammals that do exist.
Marine biology may also involve a certain amount of activism. Many scientists who consider themselves marine biologists have amassed a great deal of additional scientific education. This is because the field must be understood in the context of other sciences. In addition, if one wants to become engaged in protecting the ecosystems of the ocean, writing and speaking skills are immensely important.
Not everyone who studies marine biology does so at the ocean, and there are a number of sites of study in landlocked states or countries. This is because oceans and their lifeforms have an effect on all areas. Prehistoric biology may also evaluate the specimens of extinct ocean life forms that are present in areas where no saltwater bodies still exist.
Experts in this field may also the study how the organisms in the ocean may benefit human life. The oceans’ many different life forms may hold potential health benefits, give keys to developing beneficial medications, or help scientists determine how best to protect earthbound life forms.
Some find marine biology particularly appealing because so many of the ocean’s species remain unknown. There are ocean areas that people still cannot access because of temperature or depth. The ocean is a frontier that humans have not yet breached, so people in the field regularly have the opportunity to be a part of earth and life science studies that lead to brand new discoveries.