Looking to the future: Careers in ocean science
While many Bermuda students look for careers in international business, computers and the like as they go off to university, there is one career which they may have overlooked: ocean science.
And there are a variety of majors in ocean science that can provide students with unique opportunities to explore the world and contribute to the global understanding of how the ocean influences climate change, the world economy, and our daily lives.
Here are just a few potential career options:
Depending on the type of research project they support, marine technicians may split their time between a shore-based lab and working at sea on a research vessel. Some marine technicians work on mechanical and engineering-related tasks, such as ROV/AUV maintenance and repair, while others help operate scientific instruments and analyse data. Most of these positions require a Bachelor’s degree in oceanography or engineering and a few years of experience working aboard scientific research vessels.
Oceanographers study the biological, chemical, or physical aspects of the ocean, including phytoplankton ecology, ocean biogeochemistry, modelling of ocean currents, or molecular genomics. Most oceanographers work at academic research institutions where they run their own research programmes, teach classes and mentor students. These positions require graduate education in oceanography (usually culminating in a PhD), research experience, and a successful grant-writing record.
Not all marine biologists study whales and dolphins; in fact, most don’t. Today, many unique opportunities exist in the field of marine biology, including biomedical research using marine organisms, biotechnology research, and the related fields of aquaculture, marine environmental policy, and toxicology. Marine biologists can work for the government, aquariums and marine life centres, public-private conservation organisations or research institutes. Depending on the position, these careers require at least a Bachelor’s degree in marine science and job-specific field/lab experience.
As ocean observing systems continue to expand around the world, there is growing demand for oceanographic equipment and instruments (ie, floats, buoys, and profilers) to equip these systems and provide scientists with reliable sources of information about the ocean. To meet this demand, skilled engineers are needed to design new technologies, maintain existing instruments, and provide the experience and knowledge necessary to support this new phase of ocean exploration. Most of these positions require a background in several types of engineering, as well as a working knowledge of ocean science.
Many entry-level positions in ocean science require relevant experience, and internships are a great way to gain hands-on experience in labs, the field, or on research vessels. BIOS offers both graduate and undergraduate internships that provide unparalleled opportunities for students to learn a variety of resume-building skills. For Bermudian students aged over 18 years old, the Bermuda Programme provides six budding scientists each year with paid fellowships that support an eight-week summer internship.
BIOS is also a site for the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Programme, which gives undergraduate students the ability to work alongside BIOS faculty and staff on active research projects in many areas of ocean science.
For more information on these opportunities, please visit the BIOS Education page at www.bios.edu/education.
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