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Marine Biologist

Date: May 9, 2014
Place: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
Interview: Chris Meyer, Marine Biologist and Scientist

As a marine biologist we get to study the ocean and all the animals and creatures that live in it. I didn’t spend much time near the ocean, but once I saw the ocean, I became really fascinated with it. To be underwater and seeing things that were different and it just sparked that curiosity.

What do you like about your job?

The most fun parts of my job are that I’m going to see something and learn something new everyday and that I get to travel. I get to meet wonderful people who are also excited about what we’re doing.

The beautiful part of doing this job is it’s hard to say that there is a typical day. It’s the excitement of discovery. It’s the chance to be wowed and have that sense of wonder every single day.

What's your favorite animal?

Well my favorite creature is certainly the cowrie, which is a type of snail.

I mean they’re spectacular and they’re beautiful; they’re very shiny and most snails aren’t as shiny or maybe they’re only shiny in the middle where the animal comes out. It’s because the animal comes and covers the whole animal when it’s alive, so that makes the shell nice and smooth.

Each of these different looking ones are different species [a group of living things] and they all have slightly different habitats [home of an animal or plant] that they live in, a different preference, different things that they like to eat. So you can tell from the smallest to largest, and yet they’re kind of in the same family, so they kind of have the same general shape, the same general feel.

Advice for kids

If you’re interested in pursuing marine biology or any kind of biodiversity [variety of life] study, I would encourage everybody to just get out and get out and walk around and observe the environment. Take the time, stop, look and ask questions.

The fun part about Science is that we’re still finding and learning and discovering new things about the ocean, about almost any place on the planet. And so there’s a lot of opportunity to explore.

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