They study the ocean and the life-forms found in it. They have to publish papers and apply for grants to earn money, unless they invent something which is useful and can be marketed.
In America marine biologists are employed by the federal and state governments, aquariums, museums, universities, and as private environmental consultants. The government and university jobs are probably the ones discdoggie is describing.
Be aware that there are many more trained marine biologists than their are marine biology jobs. If it’s a field you’re considering going in to yourself and you are truly passionate about it, don’t let that fact discourage you, but be aware you’re going to spend a LOT of years training just for the chance to fight for a position. The two most important skills I’d recommend you cultivate (outside of learning to be an awesome marine biologist) as a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd are computer programming/statistical analysis and good people skills (be able to clearly explain what you’re studying and why to someone with no biology background).
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