Search Results for: Jacques Cousteau

6 reasons why Jacques is cooler than punk rock

It may not come as a surprise, but a lot of my friends and family consider George Costanza as the most famous marine biologist they know. Long before Seinfeld, Jacques  Cousteau, the world’s most well known deep sea explorer, made studying marine science seem fun JacquesCousteauand not as intimidating as people once thought.

So here are some reasons why Jacques  Cousteau continues to be an inspiration and a legend in the field:

Cousteau co-developed the aqua lung in 1943.

Cousteau co-created the Cousteau Society, dedicated to protecting ocean life, in 1973.

Cousteau’s television show, “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau,” was narrated by Cousteau himself and Rod  Sterling.

Cousteau received the Presidential Medal of Honor from Ronald Regan in 1985.

Cousteau received the United  Nations International Environmental Prize, with Peter Scott, in 1975.

Cousteau was honored by John Denver in the 1975 song titled, Calypso. Calypso was his boat’s name.

image (c) yarnela.com

100 ocean quotes

Because there is not just one quote that summarizes how ethereal and majestic the ocean is, and in honor of World Oceans Day, and because you know I like lists, here is an archive of some inspiring quotes about the important aspects of our ocean all from people you may have heard of a time or two. If you have another favorite, please don’t forget to share and comment below.

100 Quotes about the ocean from the Beach Chair Scientist

1. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
2. “In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans” – Kahlil Gibran
3. “We know that when we protect our oceans we’re protecting our future.” – Bill Clinton
4. “It isn’t the oceans which cut us off from the world — it’s the American way of looking at things.” – Henry Miller
5. “The sea! the sea! the open sea!, The blue, the fresh, the ever free!” – Bryan W. Procter
6. “To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?” – Walt Whitman
7. “There is the life of the plankton in almost endless variety; there are the many kinds of fish, both surface and bottom living; there are the hosts of different invertebrate creatures on the sea-floor; and there are those almost grotesque forms of pelagic life in the oceans depths. Then there are the squids and cuttlefish, and the porpoises, dolphins and great whales.” – Sir Alister Hardy
8. “Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.” – Loren Eiseley
9. “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.” – e.e. Cummings
10. “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came…” – John F. Kennedy
11. “I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Isaac Newton
12. “Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest.” – Lloyd Biggle Jr.
13. “It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose, should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist: the threat is rather to life itself.” – Rachel Carson
14. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa
15. “To me, the sea is like a person–like a child that I’ve known a long time. It sounds crazy, I know, but when I swim in the sea I talk to it. I never feel alone when I’m out there.” – Gertrude Ederle
16. “My soul is full of longing for the secrets of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
17. “The sea will grant each man new hope, and sleep will bring dreams of home.” Christopher Columbus
18. “Animal protection is education to the humanity.” – Albert Schweitzer
19. “The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” -Blaise Pascal
20. “You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.” – Evan Esar
21. “Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer
22. “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” – William James
23. “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Wyland
24. “The tradition of freedom of the high seas has its roots in an era when there were too few people to seriously violate the oceans — but in hindsight that era ended some 150 years ago.” – James Carlton
25. “The true peace of God begins at any spot a thousand miles from the nearest land.” – Joseph Conrad
26. “Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.” – Robert Henri
27. “The sea hath no king but God alone.” – Dante Gabriel Rossetti
28. “We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” – Thomas Fuller
29. “After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.” – Pam Shaw
30. “Primeval forests! virgin sod! That Saxon has not ravish’d yet, Lo! peak on peak in stairways set— In stepping stairs that reach to God! Here we are free as sea or wind, For here are set Time’s snowy tents
In everlasting battlements Against the march of Saxon mind.” – Joaquin Miller
31. “The oceans deserve our respect and care, but you have to know something before you can care about it.” – Sylvia Earle
32. “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
33. “A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
34. “From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
35. “No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
36. “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
37. “The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.” -Christopher Paolini
38. “Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” -Sarah Kay
39. “Hark, now hear the sailors cry / smell the sea, and feel the sky / let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic.” -Van Morrison
40. “Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.” -John Kenneth Galbraith
41. “It’s hard for me to put into words why I like the beach so much. Everything about it is renewing for me, almost like therapy… Beach Therapy.” -Amy Dykens
42. “A pool just isn’t the same as the ocean. It has no energy. No life.” – Linda Gerber
43. “I spent uncounted hours sitting at the bow looking at the water and the sky, studying each wave, different from the last, seeing how it caught the light, the air, the wind; watching patterns, the sweep of it all, and letting it take me. The sea.” – Gary Paulsen
44. “Fishes live in the sea, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones.” – William Shakespeare
45. “I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.” – Helen Keller
46. “When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
47. “The ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean.” – Beyoncé Knowles
48. “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
49. “The use of sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom permit any possession therof.” – Elizabeth I, Queen of England
50. “The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” – Kate Chopin
51. “I felt the full breadth and depth of the ocean around the sphere of the Earth, back billions of years to the beginning of life, across all the passing lives and deaths, the endless waves of swimming joy and quiet losses of exquisite creatures with fins and fronds, tentacles and wings, colourful and transparent, tiny and huge, coming and going. There is nothing the ocean has not seen.” – Sally Andrew
52. “The waves of the sea help me get back to me.” – Jill Davis
53. “There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.” – Dave Barry
54. “I couldn’t imagine living in a state that didn’t reach the ocean. It was a giant reset button. You could go to the edge of the land and see infinity and feel renewed.” – Avery Sawyer
55. “If we don’t manage this resource, we will be left with a diet of jellyfish and plankton stew.” Daniel Pauly
56. “I want to get out in the water. I want to see fish, real fish, not fish in a laboratory.” —Sylvia Earle
57. “People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth’s water is there. It’s the blue heart of the planet-we should take care of our heart. It’s what makes life possible for us. We still have a really good chance to make things better than they are. They won’t get better unless we take the action and inspire others to do the same thing. No one is without power. Everybody has the capacity to do something.” – Sylvia Earle
57. “It is important to remember that the ocean’s resources are finite. The commitment these kids are making here today is a clear and compelling call to all of us to pay attention to our ocean.” – Ted Danson
58. “My boat is on the shore, And my bark is on the sea.” George Gordon Byron
59. “Even castles made from sand fall to the ocean” – Jimi Hendrix
60. “Ever since I was a child I’ve felt connected to water: lakes, rivers, streams––I love to jump in and swim around. But it’s the ocean where I go for rejuvenation, revelation, and solace.” Susan Rockefeller
61. “No love is Like an ocean with the dizzy procession of the waves’ boundaries …” – Jack Spicer
62. “I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at times. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and the lows.” – Drew Barrymore
63. “Without water, our planet would be one of the billions of lifeless rocks floating endlessly in the vastness of the inky-black void.” – Fabien Cousteau
64. “We are blessed with a magnificent and miraculous world ocean on this planet. But we are also stressing it in ways that we are not even close to bringing under control.” – Carl Safina
65. “The world’s finest wilderness lies beneath the waves …” – Wyland
66. “It is particularly appropriate that we unveil this campaign on this first day of the annual international coastal clean-up effort, … Beach cleanups are something each of us can do any time of the year. I’m proud to be participating in the cleanup efforts today and I encourage everyone to make the time for these types of activities.” – Ted Danson
67. “The ocean is a mighty harmonist.” – William Wordsworth
68. “Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.” – Heinrich Zimmer
69. “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” – Rachel Carson
70. “The sea lives in every one of us …” – Wyland
71. “Always remember that the ocean delights in feeling your feet in her eternal bath …” – Wyland
72. “Ocean energy can contribute a great deal toward the protection or our atmosphere – without damaging marine ecosystems that are equally vital to the planet’s future.” – Fred Krupp
73. “Do what we will, the Colorado will one day find an unimpeded way to the sea.” – Donald Worster
74. “At the end of the day, no amount of investing, no amount of clean electrons, no amount of energy efficiency will save the natural world if we are not paying attention to it – if we are not paying attention to all the things that nature give us for free: clean air, clean water, breathtaking vistas, mountains for skiing, rivers for fishing, oceans for sailing, sunsets for poets, and landscapes for painters. What good is it to have wind-powered lights to brighten the night if you can’t see anything green during the day? Just because we can’t sell shares in nature doesn’t mean it has no value.” – Thomas L. Friedman
75. “It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.” – Hunter S. Thompson
76. “There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.” – Joseph Conrad

77. “And I shall watch the ferry boats, and they’ll get high, on a bluer ocean against tomorrow’s sky. and i will never grow so old again, and i will walk and talk, in gardens all wet with rain…” – Van Morrison
78. “‎I have always been fascinated by the ocean, to dip a limb beneath its surface and know that I’m touching eternity, that it goes on forever until it begins here again.” – Lauren DeStefano
79. “A pool just isn’t the same as the ocean. It has no energy. No life.” – Linda Gerber
80. “No matter how remote we feel we are from the oceans, every act each one of us takes in our everyday lives affects our planet’s water cycle and in return affects us.” – Fabien Cousteau
81. “Into the ocean went a world more fantastic than any imagination could inspire …” – Wyland
82. “You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.” – Thomas Traherne
83. “I do an awful lot of scuba diving. I love to be on the ocean, under the ocean. I live next to the ocean.” – James Cameron
84. “I heard silence, silence infinite as the bottom of the ocean, a silence that sealed.” – Anne Spollen
85. “The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
86. “Waves are the voices of tides. Tides are life.” – Tamora Pierce
87. “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” – Vincent Van Gogh
88. “Your heart is like the ocean, mysterious and dark.” – Bob Dylan
89. “Individuals of all ages can make an important difference in the overall health of our ocean by the actions they take every day. Simple things like picking up trash on the beach, recycling and conserving water can have a big impact on the health of our ocean.” – Ted Danson
90. “With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.” – Sylvia Earle
91. “That the sea is one of the most beautiful and magnificent sights in Nature, all admit.” – John Joly
92. “To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” – Rachel Carson
93. “The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach” – Henry Beston
94. “There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about the sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.” – Herman Melville
95. “To heal the ocean, we must heal ourselves.” – Dr. Rod Fujita
96. “If you like to eat seafood or swim in the ocean, it’s time to get involved.” – Julie Evans-Brumm
97. “And I have loved thee, Ocean! And my joy of youthful sports was on thy breast to be borne, like thy bubbles, onward; from a boy I wantoned with thy breakers. They to me were a delight; and if the freshening sea made them a terror, ‘twas a pleasing fear.” – Lord Byron
98. “Catch a wave, and you’re sitting on top of the world.” – The Beach Boys
99. “The sea is not a bargain basement.” – Jacques Cousteau
100. “Only God almighty and naval research can save us from the perils of the sea.” – John Warner

A naturalist’s must-see destination: Cape May County (and, the rest of south Jersey)

Earlier this year I was happy to see that the federal government had awarded New Jersey a $1 million grant to protect the ecologically sensitive wetlands in Cape May County (“Where Nature Smiles for 30 Miles” and where my hometown is located). The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will use the money to purchase 140 acres to add to the existing 17,000-acre Cape May Wetlands Wildlife Management Area. These wetlands are not only where I fell in love with the natural world, but are also home to many species of migratory birds and act as a nursery for many commercially important species of fish that spawn in the estuaries.

So with a combination of my pride in the DEP’s award and my feelings that an ‘ode to home’ in the Where We Live series is long overdue, I decided to take the time to compile a list of “10 unique and interesting natural history or maritime features of south Jersey”. I am sure there are plenty more out there, so please feel free to comment below or send me an email at info@beachchairscientist.com if you have any additional comments or questions.

1. South Jersey sits to the east of the Delaware Bay. The Delaware Bay boasts the second-highest concentration of shorebirds in North America (second to Quivira, Kansas which is mid-point in the United States). The Bay is mid-point in travel for many birds that travel from the warm weather of South America up to the Arctic. The Bay is also a perfect wintering habitat for many species of songbirds and waterfowl.

2. The world’s largest population of Atlantic horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) spawn in Delaware Bay.

3. At the entrance of the Delaware Bay is the Cape May Lighthouse, built in 1859, which documents the beginning of Cape May County’s nautical history. There is also the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, built in 1874, on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Cape May County peninsula in North Wildwood. Speaking of Cape May, the famous Cape May diamonds people have been looking for since the 1880’s are actually quartz crystals that wash up as smooth rock.

4. At 3800 Boardwalk Mall in Wildwood you can see the 43rd Wyland Whaling Wall, “Humpbacks off the Jersey Coast” (pictured right). Wyland is known as “one of America’s most unique creative influences, and a leading advocate for marine resource conservation”.

5. The A.J. Meerwald, New Jersey’s official Tall Ship, began life as a sailing schooner built for oystering,  but was commandeered during World War II to serve as a fireboat on the Delaware Bay.

6. The Stone Harbor Point is one of the few parcels of New Jersey’s coast that has not been stabilized (86% of the shoreline has been stabilized) leaving a remarkable wide open space that has been shaped (and reshaped) by waves and tides for centuries. It also has one of the last thickets of bayberry left on New Jersey’s coast.

7. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine has the impressive achievement of responding to over 3,900 strandings of whales, dolphins, seals, and sea turtles (all, of course, done with a permit and authorization from the state and federal governments).

8. In south Jersey you’ll also find the Pine Barrens, a distinctive natural area spanning over  1 million acres of the Outer Coastal Plain (pictured left) in southern and central New Jersey. Dr. Witmer Stone, an early New Jersey natural scientist described the area as “always sandy and thickly covered with more or less scrubby vegetation, interspersed with swamps and infested by hordes of mosquitoes”. This area is particularly prone to fires and some species, such as the rare pygmy Pitch Pine, have become adapted to the fires and count on the fires to reproduce. The sandy soil of the Pine Barrens is sometimes referred to as sugar sand.

9. Blueberries were officially named the state fruit in 2004. New Jersey produces the second most blueberries in the world (Maine is first). Hammonton is considered the “Blueberry Capital of the World”.

10. After the federal government designated the Outer Coastal Plain as an American Vinticultureal Area, south Jersey started up on the wine trend! Now south Jersey has more than 20 fully functioning wineries and vineyards.

As Jacques Cousteau said, “People protect what they love“. I am sure you can tell from this blog that I do love the ocean. This love no doubt came from growing up in south Jersey and spending time everyday at the beach or the nearby Bay.  Here’s a poem I wrote (almost 12 years ago) about the area. I hope you’re inspired to learn about the natural history of your own area – especially on this upcoming Earth Day weekend.

Cheers!

It’s a contest! So you think you know famous ocean explorers …

Can you tell me which accomplishments and/or quotes can be attributed to Sylvia Earle or Jacques Cousteau? Everyone that sends all 18 correct answers before I post the answers 10pm tomorrow will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of one of my favorite resources, Ocean (American Museum of Natural History, paperback edition). Send your responses to info@beachchairscientist.com. Good luck and have fun!

  1. Who said, “A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it”?
  2. Who founded Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER), now DOER Marine Operations, to design, operate, support and consult on manned and robotic sub-sea systems?
  3. Who began a worldwide petition campaign in 1990 to save Antarctica from mineral exploitation?
  4. Whose birthday is August 30th?
  5. Who led more than 50 expeditions worldwide totaling over 6,000 hours underwater?
  6. Who was integral in the development of the ocean conservation program, Mission Blue?
  7. Who, after a near fatal car crash, could not pursue initial dream of being a pilot?
  8. Who said, “I hope for your help to explore and protect the wild ocean in ways that will restore the health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind. Health to the ocean means health for us”?
  9. Who said, “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans”?
  10. Who has over 125 scientific and popular publications?
  11. Who was named TIME magazine’s first ‘Hero for the Planet’?
  12. Who received the Presidential Medal of Honor and the United Nations International Environmental Prize?
  13. Who discovered undersea dunes off the Bahama Islands?
  14. Who was honored by John Denver with a song titled, Calypso?
  15. Who said, “With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live”?
  16. Whose birthday is June 11th?
  17. Who stated in an interview that they favored human population control?
  18. Who said, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever”?

10 questions with a marine biologist

Here are some question and answers with Professor Jeffrey Levinton of Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY. He is a Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University. He has been lucky to be able to teach college students for many years at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, which has a Marine Biology Major. He greatly enjoy seeing students learn about the marine environment and sometimes decide to embark on a career in marine biology.
In case you are interested in the field here is what you are in for:

1. What, in your opinion, are the disadvantages of being a Marine Biologist?
Don’t see any real disadvantages at all. Can’t complain about freedom (a fair amount), opportunities (lots in everything from government to teaching to popular book writing)

2. What, in your opinion, are the advantages of being a Marine Biologist?
Advantages include doing what you love to do; travel, often to fascinating and lovely places; interactions with interesting folks.

3. If you could do it all over again, would you have chosen this field? Why?
Maybe, but maybe not. Who knows why? Life is complex. I started wanting to be a writer, but found that I loved geology and majored in this in college and in graduate school. It was in graduate school that marine biology took over as my primary interest.

4. What do you find the most satisfying part of this field?
Following your interests as a researcher, teaching students.

5. What are some related occupations to the field of Marine Biology?
Oceanographer, Environmental Manager, Molecular Biologist

6. How did you first get interested in marine biology?
This is hard to say but I am pretty sure that it was seeing Jacques Cousteau‘s famous film “The Silent World.” My father took me to downtown NY City to the Paris Theater to see this movie, which was then regarded as a great artistic film, directed by the great Lous Malle and winning an Academy Award. The coral reef was enthralling and I was hooked. Incidentally, I have to say that I am pretty cross with those marine biologists who dump upon Cousteau and see him as an opportunist who took advantage of scientists and stole center stage; he coinvented SCUBA and has inspired more people in this world to love marine biology than any 100 other marine biologists. As a boy he wrapped an above-water camera in a clear bag and shot many underwater pictures. His obsession has been to our great benefit.

7. What does a high school student need to do to become a marine biologist?
These days the college route is essential, but don’t feel that you have to go to a school that specializes in marine biology. Find a college that is first rate in science but has good humanities and communications training as well. In the summer of your junior year or senior year make SURE that you get a summer job or take a course in a marine lab (see marine lab links and internships/ summer course links on the main page of the MBWEB URL). This will do more for you than any 5 marine biology courses in college. After college your marine biology education will be acquired in graduate school. Another good strategy is to be a biology major in a college that has marine biologists doing research. If you wish to become a technician a Masters degree will do, but a Ph.D. is essential these days to become an independent scholar who can supervise research projects be a well-placed official in an environmental protection agency, etc.

A masters degree will usually take about 2 years to complete. It is important to choose a university where the program has substance. You want to pick up a core education in marine biology, but, depending upon your career goals, you may want a very specific set of courses and an opportunity to do some research. It may be possible to rapidly complete a masters but you may have no substantive education to apply to a job. This will especially be true if you want to work in a specific field, such as shellfish mariculture. The Ph.D. degree will take an average of six years in a United States graduate school, but there is considerable variability around the world. In the United Kingdom and Australia for example, Ph.D. degrees tend to take 3-4 years, as they tend to omit formal course work, emphasizing research. In the USA many Ph.D. programs take good students right from their undergraduate school, but a substantial number of students take a masters degree first, to see if they want to go through with a Ph.D. Institutions such as the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook and the Virginia Inst. of Marine Sciences have dual programs, which allows a smooth transition from Masters to Ph.D. student status.

8. What do you do as a marine biologist?
I am a university instructor who gets to spend a substantial time doing research, writing textbooks and working with other groups interested in marine problems. My research may seem obscure to many, but it involves understanding how the functioning of individuals can be connected to population fluctuations. An example of this is to study how the feeding and burrowing activities of marine clams, worms, and other sediment-eating animals affects the environment by helping decomposition of organic matter, stirring and oxygenating the sediment, and controlling the particles in the sediment. If you ever walked on a gooey mud flat you are on my territory! I also have been very interested in how filter feeding oysters and mussels affect their ecosystem by rapid filtration of the water column; filtering of such creatures is very efficient and inland waters may be stripped clean of food particles. I also have been working on the effects of pollution on marine bottom populations, particularly with regard to resistance to toxic substances. Often a toxic pollutant will kill all but a few individuals, who are genetically distinct and resistant to the substance. These individuals reproduce, leading to a genetically resistant strain. This can be bad because such individuals may concentrate a toxic substance and transfer it up the food web, sometimes to be eventually consumed by human beings.

9. What types of problems do you encounter?
A major problem is balancing responsibilities, e.g., teaching time against research time. Also, for much research grant funding is essential, but also very competitive. I have been reasonably successful in getting grant funds, but it becomes more difficult as time goes on.

10. What type of actions do you take to solve those problems?
Working on research away from campus helps deal with time use conflicts. I spend every summer at a marine lab nearly 3000 miles from my university. This makes it easier to return and devote time to students without feeling that I am missing something. Applying for grants is a time-consuming process and one has to be creative in finding funds from different sources and getting involved with different projects.

Thanks for sharing you insight Dr. Levinton!