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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014
Water guard
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 23, 2013
First Published: 16:07 IST(23/4/2013)
Last Updated: 16:41 IST(23/4/2013)
True blue: As a marine conservationist you would have to understand the dynamics of nature at grass-roots level

The lowdown

Marine conservation, also known as marine resources conservation, ensures the protection, survival and preservation of ecosystems in the oceans and seas. As a marine conservationist, you will be involved in activities such as diving and conducting research which could even entail conductingscientific experiments for the conservation of marine life, observing and analysing data, then turning it into a functional, operable report. One cannot be a great academician unless one goes out in the field and thoroughly understands the dynamics of nature at grass-roots level. Marine conservationists have to have knowledge of marine sciences and also factor in the needs and preferences of stakeholders whose survival depends on the seas and oceans. Awareness of economics, marine laws and policies help conservationists work out ways in which they can protect and conserve marine species and ecosystems. The scope of work may vary, depending on the position and need, but typically would involve environmental conservation, plant and animal research and water management

Clockwork
The average day of a marine conservationist:
6am: Wake up
8pm: Reach office, check out reports from team at dive site. Check data and work on research report
2pm: Break for lunch
3pm: Resume work, ask assistant to book tickets for Port Blair, call up dive team to inform them about arrival. Collect material and other equipment required for trip
8pm: Leave for home

The payoff
If you are working for an NGO, your starting salary can be Rs. 10,000 onwards per month, depending on who you work for. Remuneration varies, depending on the organisation and your work. People at the top levels can earn Rs. 1 lakh a month or more

Skills/TRAITS
* Sound knowledge and qualification of marine science
* Excellent research skills, ability to analyse data
* Should know diving to observe species
* Crusader’s zeal to work for protection of vulnerable species

Getting there
Take up botany, zoology and chemistry at the school level. Graduate and postgraduate courses in marine biology/ecology are recommended for higher studies. Knowledge of environmental and marine laws, economics and policies help conservationists influence governments to bring in changes to ensure the survival of marine life and secure the interests of the stakeholders

Institutes and URLs
* Department of marine science, Goa University   www.unigoa.ac.in/department.php?adepid=21
* Department of Marine Science, University of Calcutta   www.caluniv.ac.in/academic/academic_frame.htm
* Annamalai University, Chidambaram   annamalaiuniversity.ac.in/marinesciences.htm
* Department of Ocean Studies and Marine Biology, Pondicherry University www.pondiuni.edu.in/department/department-ocean-studies-and-marine-biology
* Department of Marine Biology, Karnatak University, Dharwad www.kud.ac.in/content.aspx?module=academic&page=courses
* Andhra University, Visakhapatnam      www.andhrauniversity.info/courses.html
* Department of Marine Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry, Cochin University of Science and Technology              www.cusat.ac.in/erp5/web_site_module/cusat/02Academic/01Departments/Marine_Biology%20Microbiology_and_Biochemistry

Pros and cons
* You are working for a great cause and are led by your heart and not head, so work gives you a high
* You work in beautiful surroundings
* Witnessing the continuous destruction of marine life can be distressing
* You get an opportunity to travel to exotic places

To be in this line of work, one needs to be passionate about it. Basic knowledge of snorkelling and scuba-diving is important for field studies and is an added qualification -- Mitali Dutt Kakar, co-founder Reef Watch Marine Conservation, Mumbai


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