Marine biologists are the “biggest fishes” of the ocean.
But the profession has also seen its fair share of controversy.
Here’s how to do it right.
Be a leader.
“When you’ve got all these big fish, you want to be the leader,” says Dr. Robert Balfour, a marine biology professor at the University of California at Davis.
“You want to make sure they’re going to be safe and well fed.”
Make sure your students are ready.
“If you don’t have the right tools in place, then your students won’t be able to do the things that they need to do,” says Balfours colleague Dr. Kevin Waggoner.
“The big fish are big, but it’s the people who are doing the fish work who are really the most critical.”
Teach them science.
“They’re the ones that are going to help us understand the marine ecosystem and help us develop the technology that will help us do better,” says Waggons associate professor of marine biology, Dr. David Rizzo.
“We want to have our students do all of the hard science.
They’re going, ‘I want to learn how to analyze that data, and what that means.'”
“I think the biggest issue is the patience,” says Rizzos associate professor, Dr, Paul Toth.
“As soon as we find something that we’re interested in, we’re going on the hunt.
That’s where the biggest time of learning comes in.”
Keep the pressure on.
“Most of the time, the first time you see something, you don,t understand it,” says Toth, the former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Environment Office.
“But you can use that to your advantage.”
Don’t get too comfortable.
“What we want to do is to get our students to understand the issues and to be open-minded about how we can make a difference in this world,” says Janna Smith, an associate professor in marine biology at Texas A&M University.
“People will be surprised how much we can change with technology,” she says.
“It’s a lot like a big, complex project.”
“Being passionate about marine science is a big part of our job,” says Smith.
“For me, it’s always been about what I love doing.”
Be ready for change.
“In our current system, it is really easy for people to be so focused on the next big thing, but if we want the ocean to be able support this new technology, we have to have the courage to make a change,” says Hildebrand.
Don and Marie Smith are doing what they love.
“Marine scientists are doing their jobs for us, and we are so grateful to them,” says Marie.