Marine biologists study organisms in the sea and connected rivers and lakes. The relationships between these organisms and the environment forms a crucial role as part of marine resources.

Where marine biologists are employed

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. Very few graduates get the glamorous job of swimming with dolphins and whales.


Full-time marine biologists in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 per week.

Graph of pay scale for Marine biologist

Job prospects

Marine biologists are employed by state, territory and federal government organisations 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.

In 2011 there were 43 people employed full-time as marine biologists in South Australia, compared with 55 in 2006.

How to become one

Usually you need to complete a degree in marine or environmental biology, marine science, marine environment, antarctic science or a related field at university.

At school consider doing mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, environmental studies and psychology as prerequisites.  

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia, visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities, visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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