Want to be a marine biologist? Step 1 for anyone

Looking to dedicate yourself to adventure and uncovering mysteries of the ocean? Marine biology might be for you – here’s the first step, no matter your age.

The most common question I get from aspiring marine biologists is: “Where do I start?”, followed closely by: “What school/college/university should I attend?”, “What major should I have?”, and “What classes should I take?”. I address these questions and more by describing what I think all marine biologists (and scientists, in general) should do when they are first starting out. Again, I can’t stress enough that if you want to do marine biology (or anything else for that matter) for a living, I don’t think you should let your age hold you back – the scientists I know that started latest in life are some of the most efficient and successful in the bunch!

In addition to what I state in the video, I would encourage anyone interested in science to reach out to local scientists at colleges or universities near you – many would be willing to field your specific questions about research and help point you in the right direction. Even if you live in the middle of nowhere, use email to get in touch with scientists. Just remember, do your homework before you contact someone – be sure you understand the background or your question(s) and/or have already searched for answers (Google is a great place to start). Also, I will be setting up a Q&A section to http://SciAll.org, specifically for you to ask questions about science careers – stay tuned!

As I mentioned in the video, here are links to two free listservs (daily emails that you can sign up for – I recommend the aggregated ‘digest’ versions), which are fantastic resources to find ongoing volunteer (and sometimes paid!) internship opportunities for individuals at various levels of education/experience (including K-12, undergrad, grad, continuing education, etc.) to gain research skills and experience:

NOAA Coral List (focuses on coral reefs, but posts regarding other marine systems are common):

The ECOLOG List (University of Maryland; focuses on ecology in all ecosystems, marine, freshwater, and terrestrial): http://ces.iisc.ernet.in/hpg/envis/ecolodoc530.html

Finally, I want to stress that there is no substitute for HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE! These experiences will be your most efficient and effective guides for deciding which of the many topics in marine biology excites you enough to move forward (into college/university, graduate school, or beyond!).

Learn more about my life as a marine biologist here: http://SciAll.org

Learn more about my research in marine biology here: http://mikegil.com/research/

Complete a short survey after watching here (this helps me make more videos that show the action and adventure behind REAL, cutting-edge science from my career as a marine biologist!):

The music was created by my brother, Danny Gil, and his awesome band Downfall 2012: http://SciAll.org/art-and-science/Downfall2012

Thanks for watching — let’s Get The Secret Out…


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