Oceanography jobs apply knowledge of the ocean to a number of career fields.
Oceanography is a broad research field divided into four general disciplines: geological oceanography, chemical oceanography, physical oceanography and biological oceanography. Most oceanographers end up studying information that relates to all of these fields, but may only go into a career studying one of them. While a career as a research scientist is one way to go, there are other careers as well for those who studied oceanography.
Biological scientists study living organisms and the ways they interact with the environment. Marine biographers who study oceanography have a specific interest in saltwater organisms. This mainly focuses on molecular biology. Marine biologists study the biochemical processes inside living cells for their unique characteristics that allow organisms to function in the world’s oceans. These scientists also study larger organisms, from saltwater crustaceans like lobsters and crabs to dolphins and wales, along with marine ecosystems, including coral reefs.
Studying oceanography not only includes the study of biological organisms in the oceans, but also the physical characteristics of the oceans and seas. This knowledge can lead to careers in geology and hydrology. Oceanographers who become geoscientists study the physical features of the earth under the ocean’s surface, as well as features above the surface affected by ocean waters. Oceanographers can also become hydrologists, scientists who study the properties and characteristics of ocean water.
Ocean engineers combine knowledge of oceanography theories and practices with mechanical, electrical, civil, acoustical and chemical engineering skills. These individuals design instruments used by other oceanographers. Such instruments include sediment traps, underwater vehicles, seismometers and satellite-linked buoys. These devices allow scientists to study the oceans and their inhabitants quickly and easily. A specialty in this field is coastal engineering, which applies engineering innovations to buildings and communities along the coast to allow them to function properly without harming the oceans, such as in the case of waste disposal.
Marine Policy Experts
Marine policy experts not only specialize in oceanography, they also have knowledge of social sciences, law and/or business. Those who go into this career act as lobbyists or consultants to companies, non-governmental organizations or governmental bodies that work with the ocean. They mainly assure that a particular organization’s practices do not harm the sea. They develop guidelines and policies for the humane and beneficial use of ocean and coastal resources in reference to maritime and environmental laws.