An Oceanographer is a scientist who studies the ocean. The subject that an oceanographer primarily focuses on in his research is called Oceanography. Oceanography science is the research of different aspects of ocean to better understand how it works and how it affects other parts of life, such as the weather or erosion along the shoreline.
Since oceans cover almost two thirds of our planet, the study of oceanography assumes importance. Healthy oceans are of ultimate importance to life in this planet as a whole so the work of oceanographers impacts all of us.Also oceans are the source of food,natural resources and other elements that people use everyday.Most of the research in oceanography focuses on human impact on oceans and how to minimize the impact to keep the ocean system healthy.
An Introduction to Oceanography?
Oceanography is the branch of earth science that studies the physical and biological properties of the ocean and discovers the various phenomenon of seawater.It deals with the study of oceans and seas with specific importance to coastline,estuaries,coastal waters,shelves and the ocean bed.Oceanography covers wide range of topics that includes marine organisms and ecosystem dynamics, ocean current , waves, and geophysical fluid dynamics. It includes plate tectonics and geology of the sea floor and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries.
Four Types of Oceanography
Traditionally oceanography is divided into four disciplines that are related to each other.These are
- Physical Oceanography
- Chemical Oceanography
- Biological Oceanography
- Geological Oceanography
Physical Oceanography is the study of the physical processes and conditions within the ocean such as waves,currents, eddies, gyres, and tides.It studies the interaction of atmosphere with the ocean, the transmission of light and sound through ocean, coastal erosion and the ocean’s interaction with its boundaries at the sea floor and the coast.
Biological oceanography is the study of plants and animals in the marine environment.It deals with the study of numbers of marine organisms and how these organisms develop,relate to one another, adapt to their environment and interact with it.
Chemical oceanography is the study of the composition of seawater, its biochemical cycles and processes, and the chemical interaction of seawater with seafloor and atmosphere.The study includes analysis of seawater components,the effect of pollutants and the impact of chemical processes on marine organisms.
Geological oceanography is the study of the structure, feature and evolution of seafloor. It is the study of the changes in the physical structure resulted in canyons, mountains and valleys.The subject also examines the volcanic processes,mantle circulation,hydrothermal circulation,magma genes and crustal formation
All oceanographers must have a deep understanding of biology,chemistry,geology, and physics to unravel the mysteries of the world and to understand the processes within it.
What is an Oceanographer?
An oceanographer studies the ocean. He is a type of Geo-scientist who studies the physical and chemical properties and movement patterns of the oceans. He uses mathematics and science to explain the interaction between atmosphere,seawater,freshwater and biosphere.
Oceanographers come from different academic backgrounds including disciplines as diverse as zoology, physics and meteorology.
What are the Roles and Responsibilities of an Oceanographer?
Here are some of the duties of an oceanographer.
- An oceanographer studies the marine ecosystem and their inhabitants.
- He researches marine animals and conducts experiments in the ocean to make discoveries.
- He collects sample data from the ocean using specialized techniques and equipment.
- He studies the movement of oceans and understands the nature of waves, currents, and tides.
- An oceanographer predicts changes in weather and climate to improve the forecast of both natural and human-made hazards.
- Assess the impact of pollutants on water quality in the ocean.
- He monitors the effect of chemicals on marine food chain.
- He builds hypothesis and makes accurate predictions using statistical methods and field data.
- He submits relevant proposals to get research funding.
- He submits reports on the research findings and activities.
How can you become an Oceanographer?
Oceanographers are of many types and they work in different environments on a variety of ocean-related subjects. Most of them are inspired by the works off famous oceanographers. Some teach or write oceanography books. But all of them have an intense desire to uncover the mysteries of the oceans.
An oceanographer requires various skills to excel in their workforce. Some off these are:
Oceanographers require excellent communication skills to create research papers and document their reports, and this requires excellent written communication skills.They must have excellent presentation skills.
Oceanographers require excellent critical thinking skills.They require it analyze their research data to develop findings that can make crucial decisions.
As oceanographers have to work underwater in remote locations to collect samples for research and conduct tests, they require a great of physical stamina and conduct tests.
Oceanographers must work a great deal outdoors to conduct research and study the ocean.They are required to camp at remote locations and stay outdoors that require excellent outdoor skills.
Oceanographers must work on complex projects and analyze statistical data to make informed judgements on issues related to oceans. They require excellent problem-solving skills to perceive and address a problem.
Oceanographers with good technical knowledge in marine and ocean environments are usually preferred by employers.
Research and Lab skills
Since oceanographers conduct their analyses in laboratory settings to develop hypothesis, conducting experiments and drawing meaningful conclusions require excellent research and lab skills.
Oceanographers require strong computer skills to create digital maps and run statistical models.
Formal Education for Oceanographer
If you have an interest in exploring oceans and marine life, then oceanographer is a perfect career choice for you. Here is a step by step guide for you to become an oceanographer.
To pursue a career in oceanography you must be good in your studies, especially in high school where maths and science will provide you adequate preparation after graduation.
You must have a bachelor’s degree to get an entry level position within oceanography. To become an oceanographer, you must pursue a B.Sc. degree in botany,zoology,chemistry,fishery,earth science, agriculture, microbiology, applied sciences and related areas. Most bachelor’s degrees require you to attend practical laboratory classes.
You must complete a two year’s master’s degree program in oceanography. You must enrol in a Master of Science (M.Sc.) oceanography or marine biology from a reputed institution to rise in your career as oceanographer. You can even attain a degree in Master of Technology (M.Tech) in ocean engineering and ocean technology to get hired by the employers.
- Master of Science (M.Sc) in oceanography
- Master of Science in Marine Biology
- M.Tech in Ocean Engineering
- M.Sc in Marine Biology
- M.Tech in Ocean Technology
Candidates can pursue a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in marine biology and chemical oceanography or complete their PhD in oceanography in case they want to conduct research and teach at various universities.
- M.Phil. in Marine Biology
- M.Phil. in Chemical Oceanography
- PhD in Oceanography
The Oceanography courses are structured in four semesters. Here is the list of the subjects covered in master’s courses in Oceanography.
- Physical Meteorology
- Dynamical Meteorology
- Physical Oceanography
- Physical and Dynamical Meteorology
- Computer Programming & Data Processing
- Meteorology & Oceanography Computations
- Viva Voice
- Dynamical Oceanography
- Synoptic Meteorology
- Advanced Dynamical Meteorology
- Synoptic Analysis
- Cloud Physics
- Air-Sea Interaction
- Observational Techniques
- Numerical Weather Prediction
- Numerical Weather Protection
- Tropical Meteorology
- Climate Modelling
- Satellite Meteorology
- Agricultural & Hydro-meteorology
- Applied Meteorology
Top oceanography colleges in India
Most of the institutes/universities in India offer postgraduate courses in oceanography and Marine biology. Here are a few of the universities in India that offer courses in Oceanography.
Course: M.Sc. Oceanography and Coastal Area Studies
Eligibility: B.Sc. in Zoology/Botany/Chemistry/ Fishery Science / Earth Science/Physics/Agriculture/Microbiology/Applied Sciences or equivalent thereof in the related disciplines
Course: M.Sc. (Oceanography – Physical and Chemical)
Eligibility: B.Sc. in Zoology/Botany/Chemistry/ Fishery Science / Earth Science/Physics/Agriculture/Microbiology/Applied Sciences or any other equivalent programs
Course: M.Sc. (Marine Biology and Oceanography)
Eligibility: A pass in the B.Sc. Degree examination with Zoology as the main subject with not less than 55% of marks in Part-III.
Cochin University of Science and Technology
M.Phil. Chemical Oceanography
M.Tech. Ocean Technology
M.Sc. Marine Biology
India Institute of Technology
Course: M.Sc. in Marine Biology/Oceanography
Eligibility: B.Sc. in Zoology/Botany/Chemistry/ Fishery Science / Earth Science/Physics/Agriculture/Microbiology/Applied Sciences or any other equivalent programs.
Course Offered: M.Sc. Marine Science, Ph.D
Course: M. Sc. in Marine Geology
- Amity University,Jaipur
- Institute of Technology & Marine Engineering
- Indian Maritime University
Top 10 Universities for Oceanographers
There are a wide range of universities/colleges offering degrees in oceanography courses around the globe. Here are a few of the universities that offer oceanography courses to the candidates.
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|The University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
|The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
|University of Miami
|California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
|University of Wisconsin-Madison
|University of California-Santa Cruz
|University of California, San Diego
Why study Oceanography?
The job market of Geo-scientists, including that of an oceanographer, is expected to grow by 7% between 2020 and 2030. Natural resources companies in the petroleum and gas industry can be a reliable source of employment for oceanographers. Institutes conducting research as well as government institutes who work to provide environment protection and water management also will contribute to the rise in demand for oceanographers. You can also take the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam to join services in the public sector.
Here is a list of sectors where Oceanographers can find employment opportunities:
- Environmental Protection Agencies
- Indian Navy
- Merchant Navy
- National Institute of Oceanography
- Weather Forecast Department
- Manufacturers of Marine Equipment
- Energy Supply Organizations
- Oil, Gas, and Water Industry
- Industrial Research Laboratories
- Geological survey of India
- Meteorological survey of India
Job Profiles and Salary
Here is the list of some of the popular job profiles along with basic salary structure.
- Ocean Imports Manager
- Wellness Ocean Resource Person
- Marine Biologist
- Physical, Biologist, Chemical and Geological Oceanographers
- Marine Environmentalists
- Marine and Ocean Engineers
- Marine policy experts
- Marine Archaeologists
- Ocean Freight Manager
- Maintenance Assistant
Making a career in Oceanography is not only challenging but equally rewarding. The average salary of an oceanographer in India is approximately Rs 2 to 9 lacs per annum.
In the US, the average salary after pursuing oceanography is given below.
|Annual salary per annum
|Rs 45 lacs
|Biochemist and Biophysicists
|Rs 70 lacs
|Rs 68 lacs
|Rs 70 lacs
|Rs 59 lacs
|Rs 47 lacs