Oceans cover over 70% of our world, yet scientists estimate that only a fraction of the oceans has been explored. There are Marine Biology colleges in Texas where students are equipped to become professional marine biologists.
Marine biology encompasses so much of the biology of these oceans and marine organisms, from viruses to whales, and from molecular biology to global warming.
Studying for a marine biology degree can include a wide variety of other scientific disciplines, from aquaculture and oceanography to chemistry, meteorology, and zoology.
Furthermore, the roles of marine biologists involve strong technical, research and scientific skills. Specializing in a particular area is very vital for career progression. In this article, we will be looking at the Marine Biology colleges in Texas.
The Marine Biology curriculum
A solid background in biology, especially ecology and evolution, is the best
preparation for a career in marine biology.
A combination of conceptually and organism-oriented courses is highly recommended.
The electives you choose will depend on the particular aspect of Marine Biology that attracts you, and we very strongly encourage you to consult with academic advisors, as well as faculty and graduate students in marine biology.
Please note that some of the required courses in the marine biology colleges in Texas have pre-requisites that should be taken care of as early as possible.
Research experience (e.g., UROP, WIMSE, DIS, HITM) can be an invaluable aspect of your education, and we recommend that you contact individual faculty after exploring faculty websites and reading representative publications from labs of faculty with expertise that especially interests you.
What does a marine biologist do?
Marine biologists investigate all kinds of issues and problems. Here are some typical areas of concern:
- Overfishing has led to a reduction of worldwide stocks of certain fish species
- Plastic pollution has led to over 12 million tonnes entering the oceans every year, causing huge implications for biodiversity, ecosystems and threats to food security
- Ocean acidification and warming oceans have resulted in significant levels of coral cover loss and coral bleaching
- The release of hot water and other effluents by various industries has altered the ecological balance of the oceans
- Oil spills wreak long-term havoc on local ecosystems and biodiversity
- Pollution has caused an increase in water-borne infections in humans
- The use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers in farming has had serious consequences on food chains
- Chemicals can cause ‘gender-bending’ and fertility problems in fish, shellfish and other aquatic organisms
On a positive note, marine biologists are able to help address many of these problems.
For instance, they are working for offshore oil and gas companies to reduce the negative impact of their operations on marine life.
They are also involved in developing designated marine reserves and creating artificial reefs/wrecks in order to encourage wildlife into an area.
Concern for the marine environment and an interest in water-based leisure activities have made this area of applied biology a popular career choice.
The opportunity of doing a job that involves outdoor work (perhaps including fieldwork at sea) is one attraction.
But don’t be misled into thinking it’s a soft option as the work may involve lengthy, routine fieldwork and one field trip can generate many weeks of laboratory-based analysis.
Obviously, the balance of time spent outdoors and in the lab varies from one job to another.
Most jobs are in research, development and monitoring. You could be involved in pure research – mapping what species are present in a particular area, surveying the health of coral reefs or trying to better understand marine ecosystems through novel research projects. Or, you could work in applied research, using the results of pure research to solve practical problems and to aid industries based on marine life.
There are also opportunities for consultancy work, for example, conducting environmental impact assessments, environmental audits or waste management studies on behalf of governments, oil companies and organisations involved in renewable energy etc.
Laboratory assistants and technicians support professional marine biologists in the more routine aspects of their work.
The List of marine biology colleges in Texas
- Texas A&M University Corpus Christi [Biology w/ Marine Biology career track] BS, MS, PhD
- Texas A&M University Galveston [Marine Biology, Marine Fisheries] BS, IDP, MS, PhD
- Texas State [Aquatic Biology] BS, [Aquatic Resources] MS, [Aquatic Resources] PhD
- University of Texas at Austin – Marine Science Institute[Biology: Marine and Freshwater Science] BS, [Marine Science] MS, PhD
Let us review some of these marine biology colleges in Texas.
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi [Biology w/ Marine Biology career track] BS, MS, PhD: The Marine Biology Program in this college offers the Master of Science and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Marine Biology. This degree program combines the strength of a diverse, internationally recognized faculty with high scholarly productivity and extramural funding.
Texas A&M University Galveston
Texas A&M University Galveston [Marine Biology, Marine Fisheries] BS, IDP, MS, PhD: The marine biology program in this college gives students the opportunity to study a diverse curriculum in the ideal location of Galveston Bay, which offers the chance for endless hands-on field and lab work.
The courses are tailored to give students solid foundational knowledge while allowing students to pursue their specific interests within this popular field.
Texas State [Aquatic Biology] BS
Texas State [Aquatic Biology] BS, [Aquatic Resources] MS, [Aquatic Resources] PhD: This institution is one of the marine biology colleges in Florida that offers Aquatic Biology, a course that focuses on aquatic organisms and their relationships with their environments.
This program involves the study of organisms which includes fish and benthic invertebrates, frogs and salamanders, turtles, snakes, aquatic mammals, birds, and their parasites.
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin – Marine Science Institute[Biology: Marine and Freshwater Science] BS, [Marine Science] MS, PhD: The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute advances knowledge of coastal and blue water oceans with exceptional research, innovative teaching, and diverse public outreach programs and as such are referred to as one of the top marine biology colleges in Texas.
To become a marine biologist, you’ll need a marine-focused degree such as:
- marine biology
- marine biology and coastal ecology/oceanography
- marine science
- ocean and earth science
Careers in Marine biology are often research-based. It is possible to study a marine undergraduate degree and go straight into volunteering or a semi-employed position on a conservation science project.
Most people go for post-graduate degrees in tropical marine biology, tropical coastal management and aquatic ecology and conservation.
Also, going for a PhDs can also be advantageous, especially if you are following an academic path in ocean and earth science, marine geochemistry or chemistry oceanography and behavioural ecology.
Your career prospects as someone who attended the marine biology colleges in Texas
Some areas of marine biology lack a clearly defined promotional structure, therefore career development will depend on a combination of commitment, hard work and establishing appropriate contacts in your chosen field.
A willingness to relocate is vital in the early stages of your career and you may need to make a series of lateral moves to gain experience and establish contacts.
Your ability to create and seize opportunities will have a decisive bearing on your rate of growth within the field.
However, if you are following an academic career, the usual starting point is obtaining a doctorate before moving on to a research assistant, lecturer, fellow and professor, with deanship being the highest post.
What do you think about the marine biology colleges in Texas listed above? Please share your ideas below.