Careers with marine animals

The International Marine Animal Trainers Association, IMATA, is a professional group composed of persons active in the marine animal field and other individuals who are interested in marine mammals. IMATA is dedicated to the advancement of its profession through improved training and husbandry techniques, increased communications among various zoo and aquarium professionals, and the promotion of public awareness through education.

Choosing a career path and acquiring a position requires a certain amount of thought, research and preparation no matter what your field of interest happens to be. IMATA has prepared this information to assist you in making some decisions about this line of work.

What positions are available to me?

Within marine science related courses lie many exciting and challenging jobs ranging from a marine animal trainer to a zoo keeper or from an oceanographer to an environmental scientist. In order to develop a better understanding of the different career opportunities available to you, we have listed and briefly describe a number of positions in the marine sciences.


A marine biologist is engaged in all studies of marine organisms from whales to algae. They often study nearshore and inshore communities as well as the open oceans.


Oceanography applies to many different areas which study the oceans and the processes taking place within them. It is a complex field that has many divisions. A chemical oceanographer researches the chemical changes at work in the sea, tracing pollution and dealing with its removal and prevention. A geological oceanographer studies shorelines, ocean floors, sediment layers and mineral content. Physical oceanographers study the physical properties of the oceans, currents, tides, and waves and how they are affected by atmospheric events. A biological oceanographer studies animal communities in the open ocean.


Zoology is the study of all animals, their evolution and their scientific classifications. Zoologists often specialize in the study of one particular species.


Ecology is the study of relationships between organisms, their environment and how their communities are affected by human activities such as pollution and development.


Animal behavior involves the study of an animal's natural behavior and evolution. This type of research can be important in the management of animals and their habitat.


Veterinary medicine involves rehabilitating or caring for, stranded or orphaned animals. Veterinarians diagnose medical conditions, perform surgery, and prescribe and administer medication.


Zookeeping involves the basic care required to maintain the health of a collection of animals. A zookeeper may work with a variety of different animals including mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. Zookeepers are responsible for cleaning animals enclosures, feeding the animals, and monitoring animal behavior.

It's Interesting

  • Siegfried & Roy are two German-American former entertainers who became known for their appearances with white lions and white tigers.
    From 1990 until an injury ended their stage careers on October 3, 2003, the duo formed the show "Siegfried & Roy at the The Mirage Resort and Casino", which was regarded as the most-visited show in Las Vegas...

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Book (Stackpole Books)

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