Where Do Marine Biologists Work?

You may  be surprised at all the places where marine biologists do work. From studying marine life in their natural habitat to developing green energy for the future, marine biologists have a fascinating range of career options. Here are just some of the places you can get a job at with a marine biology degree.

Aquariums and Zoos

Aquariums and zoos need marine biologists to care for the aquatic life. You may become responsible for sharks in a tank, sea lions in a show, or the walruses. This job may include scuba diving into large tanks, training marine mammals and even sharks for feeding and medical exams, and educating the public.

where do marine biologists work

A marine biologists works to restore coral habitat in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo by NOAA

Environmental Consultant Companies

With an environmental consultant company, marine biologists perform biological assessments and are involved in habitat restoration, water resources management evaluation and consultation, and NEPA and CEQA permitting. These companies work for government agencies and private builders on land and water use issues.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers

Wildlife rehabilitation specializing in marine animals care for sick and injured marine life, such as sea lions and seals. At times they may be called upon to help a beached or lost whale. They may also work with the public during educational tours and other events.

Law Enforcement

Marine biologists can even work in law enforcement. With such a position they may work for a city, state fish and game department, or other local or federal government office. They may patrol beaches on foot or waterways by boat ensuring that the public is following local wildlife and conservation laws and regulations. This may include keeping the public away from sea mammals, such as sea lions on the beach, or off sensitive tide pool areas. They may also monitor local anglers.

Biofuel Companies

Marine biologists are needed to help lead the way for green fuels. At a biofuel company they can work in the lab culturing and studying algae used to make biofuels. This job requires knowledge of lab equipment and excellent documentation.

marine biology jobs

Bipinnaria larva. Photo by Bruno C. Velluntini, Flickr


With a bachelor’s in marine biology you can work at a college as a research assistant. You may work in a lab on the campus and/or help with studies in the field. With a master’s or Ph.D. you can become a professor and combine your love for research with teaching.

Middle and High Schools

Depending on the state requirements for teaching, you may only need your degree and some professional experience to become a science teacher. In some states you may also need to take course on education to earn your teaching credential.


You can work for the state fish and game department monitoring fisheries or federal agencies working to protect marine sanctuaries or develop land and water use policies.

Salary for Those with a Marine Biology Degree

Beyond knowing where do marine biologists work, and important question is, how much do marine biologists make? Starting salaries for entry-level positions such as a research or fisheries technician would be about $30,000 to $40,000 a year. Educators, aquarists, and wildlife rehabilitators may also start in this range. With a higher degree and top senior positions in government and private companies, the salary can reach over $100,000 a year.

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