From nonprofits and think tanks to local and federal governments, organizations across the globe are calling for new policies to protect marine environments based on a solid foundation of scientific evidence.

Rigorous data collection and analysis are needed to develop solutions that reduce the stressors that coastal and marine ecosystems must face. Here are four important ways marine biologists are using data to create healthier, more sustainable marine environments.

1.    Analyzing Data to Help Us Get to Know the Ocean’s Inhabitants and How they Interact as an Ecosystem

From sustainable aquaculture to the health of plankton populations, every component of our ocean’s biodiversity is part of an integrated ecosystem. Marine biologists are closer than ever to understanding the intricate details of this ecosystem, yet so much remains to be discovered. That’s why Unity’s approach to Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture is built on a holistic understanding of the ocean, from wave formation to sea mammal migration patterns. Students develop a broad spectrum of field-based research skills across the Marine Biology and Aquaculture disciplines while working on original research projects.

2.    Analyzing Big Data to Understand Changes in the Ocean

In 2016, the United States created the planet’s largest nature preserve with the 580,000 square-mile Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. With vast new preserves in Hawaii and the mainland U.S., marine biologists are utilizing GIS and remote sensing technologies to survey and assess the health of these areas.

Scientists are also using data to get a closer look at the physical characteristics of the ocean. With satellite imaging and using data collected from buoys, marine biologists are studying the physical and chemical properties of the ocean and how it interacts with the atmosphere. As a student in Unity’s Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture degree program, you could study these areas with a particular emphasis on the ways human development are impacting or even changing these patterns.

3.    Analyzing the Behavior of Ocean Organisms and Working For Positive Change

The organisms that occupy the ocean work together in a cooperative relationship that supports everything from phytoplankton to sea birds. Without a deep understanding of how these relationships are built and maintained, and how one species can impact another, the entire ocean’s ecosystem is at risk. Marine biologists use high-tech and traditional sampling methods to analyze the denizens of marine habitats. Through courses like MBAQ 310 Marine Mammal and Seabird Biology and MBAQ 307 Ichthyology and Fish Health, students train in the latest methods for monitoring the health of sea life. Unity students have the chance to highlight their science skills in the program’s transdisciplinary marine biology and sustainable aquaculture capstone project,

4.    Analyzing Data to Advocate for Evidence-Based Policy Making

Marine biology and sustainable aquaculture are set to receive a major boost from the United Nations and its members in the form of smart policymaking. In 2021, the U.N. is launching a massive effort dubbed the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development that’s aimed at protecting the environment while also protecting people’s jobs and the economy.

While important, the efforts of individual marine scientists can only go so far. As our understanding of the world’s ecosystems evolves, global policies and laws must adapt to ensure humanity can change course and create a healthier and more sustainable ocean environment. Marine biologists play an essential role in identifying and evaluating key policies that can affect the long-term health of marine habitats.

Environmental Career Guide

Marine Biology and Data at Unity

At Unity, students prepare to become advocates for the environment through courses such as EVPC 301 Environmental Justice and EVPC 401 Transformational Leadership. Students explore environmental justice in a wide range of settings, while also building strategies to become influential leaders in the environmental movement.

The more marine biologists discover, the more they can engage the imagination of the public, and that can only lead to a deeper appreciation of our oceans. That’s why Unity matches rigorous scientific research with powerful advocacy and communication skills. It’s what sets Unity’s online Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture Bachelor’s degree apart from others.

Are you ready to take the next step toward becoming a marine biologist and making a positive impact with your work? Join Unity’s online Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture degree program today. Apply Now.