- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data', (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2014.
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Long-term Skill Shortage List', accessed April 2014, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
Marine BiologistAlternative titles
Kaimātai Koiora Moana
This job is sometimes referred to as:
- Marine Ecologist
- Freshwater Biologist
- Fisheries Scientist
- Aquatic Biologist
Marine biologists study plants and animals that live in sea water, and their relationships with each other and their environment.
Contact usCall us on 0800 222 733
What are the chances of getting a job?
According to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates, the number of marine biologists dropped by 6% between 2010 and 2012. This is because funding for research has decreased because of the 2008-2009 economic recession. While most marine biologists have held onto their jobs, fewer new vacancies are now appearing.
Job opportunities are expected to pick up again as economic conditions improve and new sources of funding become available.
Best job opportunities for marine biologists with experience in population modelling, toxicology or aquaculture
Marine biologists with skills in the following areas are likely to have the best chances of finding work:
- Population modelling – for example, showing how fishing quotas can affect fish populations.
- Toxicology – needed to help assess levels of toxic waste in rivers and seas.
- Aquaculture – needed to develop techniques to improve productivity on marine farms. Aquaculture is one of New Zealand's fastest-growing industries, with the Government aiming to triple the sector's size by 2025.
Fisheries modeller and toxicologist appear on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skill shortage list, which means the Government is actively encouraging people with expertise in these areas to come and work in New Zealand.
Types of employers varied
Employers of marine biologists include:
- Crown research institutes (CRIs), such as the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) – the largest employer of marine biologists
- government agencies, such as the Ministry of Fisheries and the Department of Conservation
- regional councils
- private companies
- Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA)
- Fish and Game New Zealand
- the Cawthron Institute – a community-owned research centre.
Other vacancy websites
- ESR - Browse crown research institute job vacancies
- Science New Zealand - Browse job vacancies in Crown research institutes
- NZ Government Jobs Online - Search jobs.govt.nz for state sector vacancies
- Trade Me - View Trade Me's science jobs
- NZ Government Jobs Online- Search jobs.govt.nz for state sector vacancies
- My Job Space- View MyJobSpace's scientific jobs
- Rob Law Consulting- View Rob Law's science jobs
- SEEK - View SEEK's science jobs
Progression and specialisations
Marine biologists with a PhD can apply for a postdoctoral fellowship at research organisations or universities. You may need to do two or three postdoctoral fellowships (usually lasting two or three years each) before getting a permanent scientist position.
After about 15 years’ experience, marine biologists can progress into senior research scientist, team leader or management roles.
Marine biologists can also choose to do research in specific fields, such as:
- toxicology (study of poisons)
- fish reproduction
How many people are doing this job?
Updated 5 May 2014