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Marine Biologist

Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites

Marine biologists study the origin, structure, functions and behaviour of all forms of life in the sea and connected estuaries, rivers and lakes, as well as their relationships with each other and how they are affected by environmental factors.

Marine biologists may be required to work both in a laboratory and for extended periods at sea or on shore-based field stations.

Fieldwork may include working on commercial fishing vessels, on small inshore vessels or scuba diving.

In many cases, much of the work of marine biologists involves office work, research, writing reports and long hours in laboratories.


    Marine biologists may perform the following tasks:

  • estimate the number of marine organisms and analyse their population features
  • observe communities of marine organisms and determine the factors influencing their structure
  • assess and advise on the causes, effects, prevention and control of introduced species
  • use numerical and statistical skills to design laboratory and field experiments
  • design and carry out environmental impact assessments to determine whether change is caused by natural or human factors
  • participate in studies aimed at predicting the effects of proposed developments
  • develop long-term programmes for monitoring environmental pollution
  • provide guidance to help manage fisheries
  • provide information and recommendations for the development of marine conservation and harvesting policies and programmes, including aquaculture
  • write scientific reports on research and investigations, and prepare more general information for scientific, managerial, political and general audiences
  • provide advice to managers, politicians, primary producers, healthcare workers and the general public
  • provide research training for students and staff seeking entry to this field


  • interested in the marine environment and its inhabitants
  • analytical and problem-solving ability
  • good written communication skills
  • good mathematics skills
  • able to work as part of a team

Interest Area

Outdoor Scientific


Marine Ecologist - studies the interrelationships between marine organisms and their environment.


Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites

To become a marine biologist you usually have to study marine or environmental biology, marine science, marine environment or a related field at university. You may also consider major streams that emphasise marine biology, such as aquaculture. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics are normally required.

A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas.

Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.


Marine biologists are employed by state, territory and federal government departments such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), resource and environmental departments, as well as universities and museums. Some marine biologists also work in the aquaculture and fisheries industries or in environmental consulting firms.

Job opportunities depend upon the level of funding for marine research from governments and private industry, the occurrence of marine ecological problems and community awareness of environmental and conservation issues.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Marine Biologist Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) Australian Marine Sciences Association CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science

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