How Much Does a Marine Biologist Make

By | February 8, 2024

Marine Biologist Salary – A marine biologist is someone who specializes in the study of marine life. They may also do research on land or in the water. Marine biologists research various different types of marine life and their environment. They use their knowledge to help solve environmental problems.

What Does a Marine Biologist do? - Marine Biologist Salary

Do you know that marine biologists study the environment and its effects on marine life? They also study the interactions between marine life and people. Marine biologists play an important role in monitoring the environment, which can help us learn about how our planet is changing. For example, they can help us understand how seafood is affecting the ocean, and they can help us find new species of marine life. Marine biologists can also help us protect our coastline and maritime heritage.


What does a marine biologist do?

A marine biologist is someone who studies and interprets the behavior of marine animals. They may also study coral reefs, fish populations, and other aquatic ecosystems. Marine biologists use their knowledge to help people in many ways. For example, they may help farmers learn how to grow crops in wetland areas, or they may test new fishing techniques to see if they’re effective. Some marine biologists also work with city governments to help them plan for the future of the ocean.

Marine biologists propose, design and implement research projects related to sea life and ocean conditions. They spend time collecting specimens and recording data in the field, designing laboratory experiments and writing reports. They can make recommendations about the environmental impact of human behavior, formulate treatments for common marine diseases and map migration patterns. Marine biologists often focus their work on a particular species or phenomenon. Examples of subjects that marine biologists research include:

  • Coral reef biology

  • Biosystematics

  • Marine mammalogy

  • Phycology

  • Aquaculture

  • Ichthyology

Depending on the type of research they do, marine biologists might go out to sea themselves or remotely observe data from an office or lab. Some of the standard duties for marine biology rule include:

  • Setting up experiments while preserving the natural habitat of an area

  • Riding in boats and submarines to travel across open water and collect data

  • Operating cameras, computers and other technology to document visual and physical evidence.

  • Capturing and releasing marine life to track their movements or assess their health

  • Gathering ecological samples of sea plants, sand, soil and water

  • Recording environmental characteristics

  • Testing specimens for chemical and biological abnormalities

  • Performing environmental impact assessments

  • Advising on coastal project developments, pipelines and ocean disposal systems

Marine biologists can work in several fields, including education, government, conservation, technology and commercial development. They have different goals, ranging from protecting natural resources to supervising tourism and sightseeing experiences. Some of the career paths for marine biologists include:

  • Aquatic biologist

  • Fishery biologist

  • Aquarist

  • Marine scientist

  • Ocean engineer

  • Aquaculturist

  • Marine veterinarian

How much does a biologist make?

Marine biologists earn an average salary of $66,877 per year in the United States. The specialties within marine biology can range in salary, with more technical marine biology roles that require extensive experience often providing better compensation. Because many marine biology research programs are funded by the government, a marine biologist’s salary is often determined by city or state budgets. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please click on the salary link above.

Your own qualifications can also have an impact on your earnings as a marine biologist. Marine biologists with multiple degrees and an extensive publication history may be able to negotiate a higher salary based on their proven knowledge, expertise and research contributions.

What is the marine biologist pay by state?

One of the primary factors that influence the salary of a marine biologist is location. Because the demand for marine biologists is higher in areas that border the ocean, marine biologists tend to make more in coastal or island regions. Following is a list of the average salary for a marine biologist in each state. The salaries below were populated using state-specific data from Indeed. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please check Indeed Salaries.

  • Alabama: $42,420 per year

  • Alaska: $87,853 per year

  • Arizona: $44,481 per year

  • Arkansas: $41,671 per year

  • California: $84,466 per year

  • Colorado: $45,890 per year

  • Connecticut: $46,668 per year

  • Delaware: $43,626 per year

  • Florida: $47,542 per year

  • Georgia: $44,169 per year

  • Hawaii: $91,134 per year

  • Idaho: $27,276 per year

  • Illinois: $45,771 per year

  • Indiana: $42,251 per year

  • Iowa: $42,676 per year

  • Kansas: $42,105 per year

  • Kentucky: $41,508 per year

  • Louisiana: $71,338 per year

  • Maine: $42,249 per year

  • Maryland: $46,883 per year

  • Massachusetts: $48,409 per year

  • Michigan: $43,301 per year

  • Minnesota: $45,206 per year

  • Mississippi: $40,212 per year

  • Missouri: $43,890 per year

  • Montana: $40,515 per year

  • Nebraska: $42,404 per year

  • Nevada: $43,719 per year

  • New Hampshire: $43,226 per year

  • New Jersey: $46,841 per year

  • New Mexico: $42,995 per year

  • New York: $48,113 per year

  • North Carolina: $43,532 per year

  • North Dakota: $43,353 per year

  • Ohio: $43,239 per year

  • Oklahoma: $41,684 per year

  • Oregon: $44,925 per year

  • Pennsylvania: $44,567 per year

  • Rhode Island: $44,261 per year

  • South Carolina: $42,374 per year

  • South Dakota: $41,629 per year

  • Tennessee: $42,798 per year

  • Texas: $45,063 per year

  • Utah: $42,459 per year

  • Vermont: $42,591 per year

  • Virginia: $41,346 per year

  • Washington: $80,775 per year

  • West Virginia: $40,841 per year

  • Wisconsin: $43,345 per year

  • Wyoming: $42,325 per year

What is the marine biology career outlook?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wildlife biologists like marine biologists are expected to have a ten-year career growth of 4%, which is about the same as the national average. Marine biologists who specialize in environmental impact can expect a higher growth rate of 8%.

Marine biology is a competitive field, but qualified professionals can build a lucrative, stable career completing aquatic research. As society develops, marine biologists will need to serve a key role in protecting marine environments and helping them adapt to human life. Marine biologists are essential for recognizing new threats and creating projections for their impact on the ocean.

What are the requirements to become a marine biologist?

To become a marine biologist, you need to be highly qualified through your education and formal training. The role requires advanced knowledge of biological principles to accurately measure and interpret the environment. Most marine biology roles have many candidates competing for the same job, with only top candidates earning the opportunity to study the ecosystems and wildlife of the sea. The key qualifications are:


Marine biologists must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to qualify for many entry-level positions, although some employers require a master’s or even a doctorate. You can major in a marine biology program or a similar field such as environmental science, biology, chemistry, oceanography and ecology. Developing your education in marine biology can help you qualify for coveted fellowships where you can have a high degree of independence in your research programs.


Hands-on experience is essential to be competitive for marine biology roles. Pursuing internships, volunteering at organizations that work with marine life, attending conferences and participating in marine science programs can demonstrate your passion for the field and your ability to apply your training to an actual workplace.


Prior scientific publications are a common qualification for research-based fields such as marine biology. Marine biologists often work to publish research projects from their undergraduate and graduate studies to emphasize the impact and importance of their work. Articles, books and reports are proof that you conducted a legitimate scientific study and interpreted the results intelligently. The topic you write about can indicate to employers your area of interest and expertise to determine if you’re a good fit.

Related: How To Become a Marine Biologist

What are essential skills for marine biologists?

Marine biologists use a range of skills on the job to carry out research projects and communicate the results to others. They need to be highly competent in these core areas:

  • Observation: Marine biologists spend a significant part of their job observing their surroundings. They must be able to notice small environmental, physical or behavioral changes during experiments. Paying attention to small details, noticing large-scale trends and making adjustments are all observation skills that marine biologists use in their work.

  • Multitasking: Research projects have multiple ongoing parts, and marine biologists must be able to independently manage all aspects of their studies. This includes tracking observations, delegating tasks to assistants, coordinating research trips and managing supplies.

  • Critical thinking: Making hypotheses, planning experiments, drawing logical conclusions, projecting environmental conditions and analyzing the results of an experiment all require critical thinking. Successful marine biologists are skilled at considering all possible outcomes of a situation, solving problems creatively and identifying cause and effect.

  • Stamina: Researching marine life can demanding, requiring marine biologists to have physical, mental and emotional stamina. They may spend long stretches of time alone at an outdoor research site waiting to observe ocean wildlife. Marine biology experiments can take place in secluded areas and require primitive survival skills to work in rough conditions.


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