Name: Lisa Peterson
Is there such an occupation as a dolphinologist? If so what education is required
and what opportunities are open?
There are certainly scientist who study dolphins. As an area of specialty,
one would probably study marine mammals in general, including whales. Career
opportunities would include doing basic research on the animals: their physiology,
behavior, or ecology. This would be done most likely as a researcher at a university
marine station in association with the teaching of undergraduate and graduate
students. Just like any basic scientist. You might also work caring for animals
in a marine park or zoo, or for the government studying marine life and its ecology.
The navy apparently also does dolphin research. To do basic research as a scientist
at a university you would normally need a BS degree in biology or zoology, and a
Ph.D. in the same field. For some of the other careers, just the BS degree, or in
some cases also a master's degree is what's needed. If you're interested, go for it!
Be aware that your interests may change once you start studying these subjects
seriously, so be prepared not to specialize to much too soon. For a while, stick
to zoology in general, then move to mammals, then to marine mammals.
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Update: June 2012