Within oceanography you have:
- geological oceanography,
- physical oceanography and
- chemical oceanography.
Oceanographers and these other guys work together to unravel the mysteries and unknowns of ocean science.
Oceanography is a little bit like marine biology. The biggest distinction that has been made between the fields of marine biology and biological oceanography is this: marine biologists study the plants, animals and protists of our estuaries, coasts and oceans, ranging from whales to microscopic algae and bacteria, and biological oceanographers study marine organisms and their biological processes within the context of their natural environment.
Why is the job important?
As a growing global population stresses the ability of our society to produce food, water and shelter, we will continue to look to the oceans to help sustain our basic needs. Advances in technology, combined with demand, will improve our ability to derive food, drinking water, energy sources, waste disposal and transportation from the ocean. It will be up to this and future generations to build upon our existing knowledge of the ocean and its potential to help meet the needs of the world and its inhabitants.
One oceanographer describes her work this way: “Collecting data and figuring out how data relates to each other is like putting together pieces of a puzzle. It is extremely rewarding when you know your work has direct application to an important effort. For me, it is when final habitat maps and findings can be put to good use — such as contribute to a better understanding of the ecosystem, identify physical-biological relationships, inform management decisions, and further methodologies used in the field of seafloor habitat mapping.”
What do you need to study?
As a start, take all the science courses available to you in high school and as an undergraduate. Basic biology, zoology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics are essential, but other courses such as ichthyology, conservation, as well as those related to your specific field. Then there’s the study of statistics; this is something you must know and be good at and no, you can’t get around it.