Marine Biologist

Martin Attrill - Professor in Marine Ecology, University of Plymouth

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

What do you do?

I teach, giving lectures to undergraduates on the deep sea and coral reefs. I'm also working on an EU project on the destruction of the region's marine habitat. There's nothing more exciting than explaining how things work and to see the students become inspired. I take them out to the unspoilt coastline of South Africa every year to see the whales and penguins. There's a great opportunity for travel - I've been to Brazil, Canada, Poland, Portugal, America and Grenada.

How did you get the job?

I'd wanted to be a marine biologist since I was 10. I was born on the Isle of Wight and always loved the sea and had a keen interest in natural history - collecting shells, looking at seaweed. I did my degree in marine biology and PhD at Liverpool University, then I worked for the National Rivers Authority. I saw my current job advertised and knew it couldn't suit anyone else but me - it's my dream job.

Does reality match the dream?

Most people think I spend my time chasing whales and diving on coral reefs - the Jacques Cousteau image. People don't realise that research involves a large amount of monotonous work. You can soon get fed up of visiting the same rocky shore every week of the year.

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