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How important is it to travel for my work as a marine biologist?

23.02.11, 11:20 (comments: 1)

In summary, I would say travelling is essential for my work, but why?  As a marine biologist you need, in most cases, research cruises to get your samples and often your work is part of an international project so that your study area probably is located elsewhere in the global ocean.

For example, for my diploma thesis sampling took place in the southern Atlantic off the coast of Namibia and my PhD required four cruises in the South China Sea. Later on during my Post-Doc in Rostock, sampling took place on a cruise in the Baltic Sea and I also traveled to Denmark to do experiments. In addition, I spent some time in Leipzig because only a laboratory there was equipped for the kind of analysis I wanted to do. I also had to travel in order to present and discuss data with colleagues at conferences or during guest talks at other marine institutions. Sometimes you are fortunate and may even travel to Honolulu to give a presentation. Aloha, I can live with that!

Looking at my different scientific stops may give you an idea how time abroad and at home may split up. For example, during my 9-month diploma thesis I was one month abroad in Namibia and worked the rest of the time at my home institute. During my three-year PhD I was all in all about six month away from home and during my two year Post-Doc I was all in all about four months away from my family. You see, at times you need to spend lots of time away from home.

On the other hand there also are long periods when you stay at home because most sample analysis takes place at your home institution and a huge part of your work deals with the evaluation and publication of these data and the elaboration of new research proposals to raise a funding for the next project. Normally, after such a “theoretical phase”, you are very excited about going out onto your next field trip even if this means to be away from home for a few weeks.

My next station will be Atlanta – a big challenge both for me and my little family. More about this topic will follow later in this blog.  Keep watching…

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Comment by Rasa | 23.02.11

Good luck and enjoy new things there :)

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