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Physics with Marine Biology

  1. Apr 22, 2008 #1
    As the title states does anyone know if you can actually work as a marine biologist with a physics degree ? Or if there's some Masters degree that allows you to ?

    I am in my 2nd year of a Physics degree by the way.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2008 #2


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    I would guess Physical Oceanography might be a better fit...but that's just my opinion.
  4. Apr 22, 2008 #3
    start looking into schools known for their marine bio programs. I'm sorry I can't help too much but UCSB comes to mind as having a top marine bio program.

    They have graduate programs in physics, marine science, molecular bio, EE, ME, CE, Math... as well as Materials. Infact on their research page there was a phd study for materials in marine science.
    Seems to me like you could fine tune some studies there to encompass both physics and marine studies.
  5. Apr 22, 2008 #4
    http://www.marinegp.ucsb.edu/ [Broken]

    The more I looked through it the more it seems like a BS in physics could translate just fine to their MS in marine science. Lisab mentioned doing physical oceanography, one fo the four core classes taken for the MS in marine science at UCSB is intro to physical oceanography
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  6. Apr 23, 2008 #5
    I have one friend who is doing graduate work in oceanography after doing a BSc in physics.

    I knew another individual in biophysics who studied... hagfish slime. Hagfish are primitive jawless fish about the length of your arm. One of their defense mechanisms is to produce like 1m^3 of slime which gels and thwarts predators. The question my friend studied was how does such a little fish produce several times it's body volume in goo? It was a fun project. We went out to the coast and baited traps with dead animal parts. Then we had to haul a giant bucket of writhing hagfish in a bus on a gravel road for 4 hours!
  7. Apr 23, 2008 #6

    Andy Resnick

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    There's lots of applications- physics of swimming is a good one. Sharks have some sort of piezeoelectric jelly material in their snouts which they can use for hunting, IIRC. Signal transduction (of the piezo material, but also vision and auditory systems) is another good application. Research on simple things like how claws generate sufficient force to operate is going on.

    Then there's larger-scale stuff: migration, flocking, fluid dynamics of ocean currents, the CO2 cycle, food chain issues... research into any of that would benefit from having a grounding in physics (specifically, how to model things with mathematics).
  8. Apr 23, 2008 #7
    Yup! Physics is the preferred background for doing physical oceanography. You can also transition pretty easily into geological oceanography or marine geophysics and other related fields. If the OP is talking specifically about the field "marine biology" that might be a tough sell, because that is basically biology of marine life, which does not have much to do with physics. If you want to do biology in grad school, study it now!
  9. Apr 23, 2008 #8
    There is a lot of extremely interesting complex systems work that is being done. Some of this falls under oceanography (physical or biological) while other research is done within atmospheric sciences. Certainly, all of it will benefit from a background heavy in the physics and applied mathematics (lots of DEs).
  10. Apr 24, 2008 #9
    thanks guys i appreciate all the help and suggestions given.

    no , marine biology isn't a must i.e. i' m open to other suggestions. Oceanography sounds good with many applications but i would like to get involved in living organisms more directly.

    Having said that, i find very interesting posts 5 and 6 in the options they suggest.

    again thank you all for the time you spent to help me out.
  11. Apr 25, 2008 #10
    Try biophysics
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