What Does a Chemical Oceanographer Do?

The chemistry of a saltwater ocean and its seabed is studied a chemical oceanographer. This frequently includes research into the effects of various types of pollution or external stimuli on the ocean environment as a whole. Chemical oceanographers, also known as marine chemists, work to apply a chemical analysis approach to the larger field of marine biology.

Chemical oceanographers are frequently tasked with determining how various phenomena affect the chemical composition of the ocean in modern times. Oil spills, for example, are one of the most well-known negative examples. A chemical oceanographer might spend the majority of his or her time, again, through highly complex studies or rigorous data collection methods, detailing various ways that events like oil spills impact an ocean ecosystem. That means a chemical oceanographer should know how to conduct formal research using specific statistical modeling tools and other resources.

Many chemical oceanographers study the long-term effects of pollution that is not caused a single event, in addition to oil spills and other similar disasters. The phenomenon of plastic buildup in the oceans is a good example of this. The study of how massive amounts of small plastic items build up in the oceans and what happens to them after they are dragged offshore is one of the major contributions of chemical oceanographers and marine biologists to today’s scientific world.

Another important aspect of a chemical oceanographer’s job is dealing with climate change, or as some refer to it, global warming. Whether or not the oceanographer is involved in the political debate over whether or not climate change is caused humans, as a scientist, the marine chemist will frequently provide detailed research on how the environment is changing and how this affects various parts of the ocean ecosystem. Chemical oceanographers, with their formal methodologies, help to ensure that the findings of studies are accurate and realistic, and much of this research may influence future public administration.

Although desk-based research accounts for a large portion of the work of a chemical oceanographer, some of these jobs may also necessitate a significant amount of time spent in active field research, including specimen collection. The majority of chemical oceanographers should be ready to dive for samples. They must also be able to handle specimens both during and after collection. All of this adds to the value of these experts in a marine biology project.