Why marine biology matters

Assumption College Undergraduate

Some say we know more about outer space than we know about our own oceans.

While oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, it’s estimated that two-thirds of marine species still remain unknown, and 95 percent of the underwater world remains unexplored.

More than half of the world’s population lives within 62 miles of coastlines. One of every six jobs in the United States is marine-related. And oceans produce over half of the world’s oxygen and absorb 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere.

Understanding the vast biodiversity of the Earth’s oceans, as well as other indicators of marine health, serve as a direct reflection of the state of the overall environment. Careers in marine biology are very important, as studying the state of oceans becomes more crucial to the study of climate change, changing biodiversity, human impact and more.

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Marine biologists study habitats including coral reefs, kelp forests, the open ocean and so much more. Their work focuses upon exploration of the problems oceans face. Higher intensity coastal storms, increased demands on our marine transportation systems, more offshore and coastal development, and changing sea levels and coastal flooding demand science-based solutions.

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Assumption biology students who are passionate about these areas have the option to explore marine biology through Assumption’s participation in the Marine Science Education Consortium (MSEC) at Duke University in Beaufort, North Carolina during its fall, spring or summer sessions.

Why marine biology matters Students have access to the Duke Marine Lab and faculty representing the disciplines of biological and physical oceanography, marine biology and conservation, marine biotechnology, and policy and management, studying organisms including whales, dolphins and porpoises, sea turtles, blue crabs, and animals living at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and seeps.

Assumption is also one of 15 institutions that comprise the Marine Studies Consortium right here in Massachusetts. Among others, students can take courses in the biology of fish, whales, coastal zone management, and maritime history.

From fish ecologists studying the effects of pollution on fish life in Alaska and what it means to humanity, to understanding lion fish invasions off the coast of Venezuela, there are so many careers to pursue in the realm of marine biology. Some could take you anywhere in the world, including your own backyard. Just an hour’s drive from Worcester, nearly 400 research scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution perform groundbreaking research in climate and oceans, coastal science, resources, tools and technology and more.

As technology advances, and people are able to dive deeper than ever, the frontier that remains in Earth’s oceans is not only waiting to be explored, but necessary for the health of our economy, our impact and our world.

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Lionfish in Bonaire, 2014


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