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The Listener Heather

Contact Heather Spence by e-mail: info (at) heatherspence (dot) net 

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(Note: I used to respond to comments on the webpage but now I would appreciate emails instead.)


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“The investigation of truth is in one way hard and in another way easy. An indication of this is found in the fact that no one is able to attain the truth entirely, while on the other hand no one fails entirely, but everyone says something true about the nature of things, and by the union of all a considerable amount is amassed.”


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  • by Michael L. Fine
    Posted March 14, 2008 10:46 am 0Likes


    Rodney Rountree forwarded your email indicating you might be looking for a new academic home. I have worked on fish acoustic communication for a number of years. A summary of our passive acoustics work in toadfish is coming out in Joe, Rodney and David’s passive acoustics symposium in Trans. Amer. Fish Soc. Additionally we work on sound producing mechannims in fishes (you mentioned biophysics I think) and catfish spines, which are an antipredator adaptation and produce striculatory sounds. If you send me a real email address I can attach papers of some of our papers. Also if you go the Virginia Commonwealth University web site and click on biology, you can see a list of our recent papers. Good luck.

  • by ehufford
    Posted May 9, 2008 10:29 pm 0Likes

    I like your website it is great. It looks like you have put a lot of work into it and are currently doing a lot of great stuff with Biology. keep up the good work in Mexico. Hope to see ya the next time you come to Arlington.

  • by Lucian Dumitrescu
    Posted February 21, 2009 10:23 pm 0Likes

    I would like to tell you that myself I am not literat in English language and I do make many mistakes in writing or speaky, for writting I feel more confortable to have “ABC” corector thing which you did not put on this writting Replay.
    Hi, you give to me your website to contact you, I have send to you one E-Mail few days ago & so far I did not received any response.
    In the E-Mail I have explain to you some of the river bed condition in the city od Ica in Peru South America ( I am refering at the very hevy polution which takes place there not only in that particular city it is all South America and I do believe the same is in all Central America )
    I have been interviwed by some students from the University of Technology Cancun Mexico on 18 February 2009 just few days after you give to me your E-Mail address.
    It simce to me that I am very well controled like any other time in my life since I was seven years old and some body hardly controls my life.
    While I try to write and send to you the E-Mail I have been asked in a window if I am going to let him/her to have permition to see it, they do not give to you any option.
    I find out that you are the Moon, well I would like to introduce myself to you that I am the Sun and in respect of the my age, I am Eternal.

  • by Brando
    Posted May 21, 2009 2:26 pm 0Likes

    Hola Heather, estoy en Cancun, muchas gracias por el libro de supervivencia es de POCAMADRE!!!!
    Tambien gracias por la T-shirt quedaron muy bien…
    Bueno que estes muy bien. Saludos desde tu excasa

  • by erick sommet
    Posted September 11, 2009 8:26 pm 0Likes

    Hi Heather…It was nice speaking to you and to know you are coming back soon…

  • by Jennie Long & Robynn Carnes
    Posted March 18, 2010 6:46 pm 0Likes

    Hi Ms. Heather Spence,
    My Friend and I saw you were a marine biologist. We were wondering if you could answer some interview questions via-email.We are doing this big project in our seventh grade science class.The questions would be about the amazonian manatee.
    Please Respond ASAP
    Thanks Bunches
    Jennie & Robynn

  • by Bernardo
    Posted April 24, 2010 8:01 pm 0Likes

    Hola Heather creo ahora podemos empezar a trabajar saludos !!!

  • by Marvin Maloney
    Posted October 6, 2010 5:35 am 0Likes

    we can send you more details

  • by Lauren
    Posted October 6, 2010 6:14 pm 0Likes

    Hello Mrs. Spence I am a 10th grader doing my personal project. I am in love with the ocean and the creatures that live inside of it. I love it so much I have decided to do my personal project based on my dream job, marine biology. I want to teach little kids about sharks they are my favorite especially great whites I have a great passion to protect these animals. I wanted to know if you could explain what you do daily as a marine biologist and if you could answer this questions:
    1. Do you dive, or work in the lab?
    2. Have you ever went cage diving? how was it?
    3.Have you ever been bitten by a shark?
    4.What animal do you personally think is in the most danger of extinction?
    5.What is causing the major decrease of sea turtles?
    6.If you dive how often do you go out in the ocean?
    7. If you work in the lab what do you do?
    8.Do you tag fish?
    9.How do you feel about the decline of sharks and how do you feel this problem can be fixed?
    10.How does the future of sharks look to the science eyes?
    I am sorry its alot of questions but please answer them I really care about these animals and there future! Thank you so much 🙂

  • by Heather
    Posted October 19, 2010 6:10 pm 0Likes

    Hi Lauren, Thanks for the interesting questions.

    1. I both dive, and work in the lab.
    2. I’ve never been cage diving. I have been swimming with hundreds of the largest sharks in the world, without a cage. 🙂 They are called Whale Sharks and filter feed, like whales. They don’t threaten people. But they are really really really big.
    3. I have not been bitten by a shark. It is pretty rare. But it is best to leave them alone, anyway.
    4. The animal in most danger of extinction… probably the one that we haven’t even discovered yet, there are so many undiscovered species.
    5. Sea turtles are dealing with a lot of issues, including toxins in the water and on land, loss of habitat/nest area, getting hit by boats, people eating their eggs…
    6. The amount of diving I do varies, if I’m working on a specific field project I might go diving several times a week, but sometimes I go for months without getting into the water.
    7. In the lab – again, that varies. You can read about one of the lab projects I did on snapping shrimp by clicking on the PDF that’s posted in my bio. It included taking photos through a microscope camera, studying the shrimps’ eggs and larvae (babies), and (not published yet) behavioral experiments observations.
    8. I have not tagged fish as part of my work, I have tagged sea turtle for someone elses research, and work with whale shark researchers who tag the sharks (sharks are fish)
    9. To deal with the decline of sharks, we need to better understand how they fit in the ecosystem. Dealing with fisheries issues is an important element though not simple.
    10. Some people are more optimistic than others, the truth is we just don’t know enough to really predict. We need to respect them and study them and figure out how to best coexist.

    Hope this helps, feel free to contact me with any further questions.

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    Posted December 21, 2010 11:50 am 0Likes

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  • by stuart
    Posted December 21, 2010 9:18 pm 0Likes

    hello, sorry for the message, i know your are probably busy. anyways, my names Stuart. i live in Arizona. And i’ve been wanting to became a marine biologist for sometime now, but it wasn’t until a year ago that i’ve been trying to get in contact with one. living in Arizona (A.K.A- a desert with a walmart),which kind of makes it hard to find anyone who even knows what the words marine biology means. who i’m i kidding, my parents don’t even know what a marine biologist is. they still think its a whale trainer or something. but, i guess i should probably ask you a question ……….. hmmm….. well, its kind of hard now that i’m actually talking to a marine biologist. what about you just tell me a bit about what you do. you know, the things you do everyday. thanks 🙂

    • by Heather
      Posted December 28, 2010 11:26 am 0Likes

      Hi Stuart, glad to hear from you and that you are interested in marine biology. Are you in high school? Have you taken biology courses? Is there an aquarium nearby you can go to? My recommendation is to find out if maybe you would be interested in doing research in biology, and from there you can move into marine biology. Getting a basic grounding in biology can’t hurt. Maybe see if you can find someone working on a project you think is interesting, perhaps at a local university, aquarium, zoo, park, etc and see if you can help them as a volunteer, so you can get a feel for it.

  • by Sara
    Posted December 28, 2010 8:28 pm 0Likes

    Hello Ms.Spence,
    My name is Sara and I am a high school Sophmore in Florida. I am currently doing a research paper on the profession I want to pursue when I graduate high school, and I wish to be a Marine Biologist. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your job and the path you took to become a Marine Biologist. If you could answer that would be fantastic! (:
    1.What made you want to become a Marine Biologist?
    2.Were there any specific programs that you were required to go through in college?
    3.What is your favorite thing about becoming a Marine Biologist?
    4.What is your favorite Marine animal to work with?
    5.Are you faced with any dangers during your job?
    6.Have you ever been injured while doing your job?
    7.Were there any difficulties in achieving this job?
    8.What is the biggest danger to Marine life and is it possible to stop that danger?

    • by Heather
      Posted January 5, 2011 11:37 am 0Likes

      1. I got into marine biology actually through my interest in music and acoustics – which led me to study snapping shrimp
      2. There were specific requirements for the biology department, the physics department, music department, and the honors program, for me, but that was because of the particular programs I was involved in. Usually for biology you need to take physics and chemistry as well.
      3. I’ve answered this question before and it probably always changes 🙂 Today, it is getting results published!
      4. Can’t play favorites, I like all kinds. Have a special place for snapping shrimp, though 🙂
      5. Not big ones. I am mostly in shallow waters, where worst that’s happened really is getting stung by fire coral. Probably being in a car is still most dangerous thing I do!
      6. Well, the fire coral. Occasional bruise lugging equipment in or out of the boat. Can’t really think of anything. Eye strain while analyzing results on the computer?
      7. For sure. Doing well in school, keeping up with my interconnected web of interests, getting in touch with people whose work I admired, finding collaborators, etc
      8. This is a debatable issue, to be sure – I think that toxins are a huge problem, and once they are there integrated into the ecosystem they are very difficult to deal with. For instance, plastics.

  • by kbarrow
    Posted January 20, 2011 8:58 am 0Likes

    Dear Ms. Spence,

    My name is Kevin Barrow and I’m a senior at Avon Grove High School. I’m doing a project in my current science class regarding ocean dumping. I’ve already done a good amount of research on the topic, however one requirement of our research paper is to contact an expert. I was wondering if you could provide me with additional facts that I may not be able to obtain online. I was also wondering if you could provide me with some info regarding the career opportunities involving my topic.

    Thank you very much for your time,
    Kevin Barrow

    • by Heather
      Posted January 21, 2011 11:39 am 0Likes

      Hi Kevin – email me and we can chat about your project

  • by Sarah
    Posted February 2, 2011 11:22 pm 0Likes

    Dear Ms. Spence,
    My name is Sarah and I’m a senior high school student. I’m interested in marine biology and I’ve decided to choose it as a major. I’ve researched on marine biology but couldn’t find the branch that suits me. I was wondering if you could help me identify the branch that best suits me. I want to work with marine organism and I want to improve marine life by solving problems. I want to work in marine labs with aquariums. I’m interested in biology but I’m not a big fan of math.. So what’s the name of the marine biology branch that best meets my descriptions?
    Thank you, Ms. Spence!

  • by Heather
    Posted February 4, 2011 6:50 pm 0Likes

    Hi Sarah,
    Glad to hear that you are interested in Marine Biology. What is your experience with Biology so far?

    Also, I’m very sad to hear that you are not a fan of math – math is a very important part of science, and can be a lot of fun. Sometimes math can seem boring and hard, because we are learning it but don’t see what the relevance is. However, when we come across a problem and need math skills to solve it, it is very rewarding.

    It sounds like you would prefer lab and aquarium work over field work? If so, you might try volunteering at an aquarium or zoo, to get a feel for it and see what most interests you.
    Hope this helps

  • by Sarah
    Posted February 5, 2011 1:43 am 0Likes

    I like micro biology and I’ve been examining samples of algae through the microscope since I was 12 years old. But I also love bigger sea creatures and would love to study about them too! And yes, I do seem to prefer lab and aquarium work over field work 🙂 I want to grow my own coral, write articles and stuff like that. I don’t mind simple math but complex math just isn’t my thing. I’ll try to work with it though. I’m willing to do anything to become a marine biologist.
    Thanks so much Ms. Spence!

  • by ramnik
    Posted February 14, 2011 1:50 am 0Likes

    hi heather,

    I love your website. I love how anyone can ask about your career to solve their problems…

    Im currently in my last year of school and i have done biology, physics, chemistry and extension math.

    I am seriously considering marine biology as a career but before its too late i would like to ask a few questions. Thanks for your time!

    1. What is your income? and how do “grants” work?

    2. What is your work-life balance like?

    3. How much of your usual working year do you spend working on field and in a lab?

    4. are you employed by a private company or government company?

    5. And finally, did you need pre required experience or degree etc to be where you are at the moment?
    (in other words, can you please recount your stepping stones to where you are at the moment…example, what course at college, or previous jobs etc)

    I know that there are a lot of questions and omnibus sorry, but i will be so happy and thankful if you answer them all…ill appreciate it a lot…

    Thanks for your time heather,


  • by Heather
    Posted February 16, 2011 12:31 pm 0Likes


    1. As a rule I don’t answer specific questions about income, but I can say there is a wide range depending on experience, what you are working on, etc – but I don’t know of anyone who becomes a marine biologist for the money, that’s for sure!
    “how do grants work” well that’s the million dollar question literally. Basically, someone has money for some general topic or problems they want solved – you send them a proposal and if they like it, they give you money to work on it. Some people’s jobs are totally funded on grants, sometimes grants help you to buy materials for a project, or set up a lab, etc…

    2. My work is multifaceted and linked to many aspects of my life, so I don’t really see them as separate. The amount of time a day I spend actively working depends on the phase of the projects I’m working on during that time. It can be very long days.

    3. Depends on the project, maybe a few weeks in the field but mostly preparing for it and then analyzing the results – that is what takes the most time.

    4. My projects are funded through a university and a non-profit.

    5. I got a BS in Biology (minor in Physics, plus Music scholarship), and an MS in Marine Biology, and am working towards a PhD. That’s the academic side – I was already teaching and doing research as an undergraduate, and began my work in Mexico directly after my masters, so experience is important too.

  • by Alicia
    Posted February 17, 2011 6:54 pm 0Likes

    Hello Heather,

    I am a junior at Fairfield Local Schools and I have an assignment to do a report on a career I am interested in and I have chosen Marine Biology. I have always loved the ocean and all the marine creatures, so naturally talking and learning about Marine Biology has really been a treat for me. However, I am required to interview someone in that field who I don’t personally know, So I was hoping that you could answer a few questions. 🙂

    1.) How did you become interested in marine biology?

    2.) In your opinion, how difficult is it to get a job as a marine biologist?

    3.) What would I need to do to become a marine biologist?

    4.) What type of person would you reccomend for this job?

    5.) What types of problems do you encounter in this field?

    6.) Do you work mostly in groups or alone?

    7.) What do you do on a daily basis?

    8.) How much do you travel?

    9.) What types of benefits do you recieve?

    10.) How demanding/stressful is this line of work?

    Thanks so much for your time!

  • by Heather
    Posted February 28, 2011 8:29 pm 0Likes

    Hi Alicia,

    1.) How did you become interested in marine biology?
    I got into marine biology actually through my interest in music and acoustics – which led me to study snapping shrimp. But I should have known when my favorite toy as a kid was sea slug finger puppets.

    2.) In your opinion, how difficult is it to get a job as a marine biologist?
    It depends on what you specialize in, but there can be a lot of competition because many people want to be marine biologists.

    3.) What would I need to do to become a marine biologist?
    As a high schooler, get good grades and find a college to go to where you can get a good foundation in science. It wouldn’t hurt if you could be near the ocean, either in school or through a project, or intern at an aquarium – whatever hands on experience you can get the better.

    4.) What type of person would you reccomend for this job?
    Someone who delights in problem solving, who can pay attention to detail and planning but also rework things in the moment, who has a deep appreciation and fascination for living things…

    5.) What types of problems do you encounter in this field?
    Money, politics, differences of opinion, miscommunications, experiments in the field never really go as planned, etc etc

    6.) Do you work mostly in groups or alone?
    Mostly with groups – even if I’m not actively working with a group I still may be consulting with them or preparing something to show the others.

    7.) What do you do on a daily basis?
    It really depends – lots of time on the computer, unfortunately. Much more time spent analyzing data than out collecting it, that is for sure.

    8.) How much do you travel?
    A fair bit, since my main research site is in Cancun, Mexico and I live in the US.

    9.) What types of benefits do you recieve?
    This will depend on where you work, if you mean this specifically. More generally, there are some obvious perks of being a marine biologist, including being able to scuba dive as part of your job.

    10.) How demanding/stressful is this line of work?
    It comes in waves (ha ha) depending on deadlines for proposals, getting equipment in the water, etc – it can be very demanding and stressful at times, but it is worth it.

  • by Sierra
    Posted March 3, 2011 2:13 pm 0Likes

    I am in the eighth grade and I want to be a marine biologist. What classes in high school should I take?

  • by Heather
    Posted March 7, 2011 8:36 pm 0Likes

    Hi Sierra,
    Glad you are thinking about things ahead of time. My recommendations to you would be to take the highest level math courses you can – science relies on math, and while you can make up for it in college courses, it helps to have a good solid foundation.
    Taking whatever science courses are offered, advanced if possible, is good. You might consider taking them AP.
    This isn’t a course suggestion but competing in science fairs if you have them is a great experience.

    While the courses you choose are important, it is especially important that you get very good grades, and that you keep up with extracurricular activities. Being well rounded is important and as I’ve found, my work as a marine biologist is largely interdisciplinary and integrative – I draw inspiration and resources from many fields.

    Science is getting more and more competitive – it used to be fairly rare for undergraduates to publish, but now high schoolers are even doing it! If you can get some hands on experience in high school that’s great – it could be through a science fair or school project.

  • by Krystal Tetzlaff
    Posted March 10, 2011 3:02 pm 0Likes

    Hi, this is the first time i have been on this website. But I need a lot of help for my project and I need to know a lot of things about dolphins. But the thing that sucks is that it can’t be a report and I only have a week to finish this project I have a lot of things already but i got that all off the internet and that was easy and I have know idea how I can make this a project and not a report you got any ideas

  • by Heather
    Posted March 10, 2011 3:17 pm 0Likes

    Hi Krystal,
    Sounds like you are in a bit of a bind. Are you supposed to be doing an experiment, say for a science fair? What is the project you need to do, and what are you missing to be able to do it?

  • by Krystal Tetzlaff
    Posted March 11, 2011 9:20 am 0Likes

    Thats the problem i am doing a slide show and i need t know what you know which i have no idea what that is and no at my school we dont have science fairs and that sucks because i would win every year any way i need help can you point me in any direction.

  • by Heather
    Posted March 11, 2011 11:53 am 0Likes

    Hi Krystal, I’m sure you will do fine. There is a lot of information on the internet about dolphins, so choose your sites carefully – if possible, look for ‘peer-reviewed’ articles in journals, perhaps Marine Mammal Science. News articles can also be a good source of information or at least a starting point. Good luck!

  • by Krystal Tetzlaff
    Posted March 11, 2011 2:18 pm 0Likes

    The most things I need is I need some one to come in and talk about dolphins and I need to know how can dolphins get a disease and how do the bodies work to get rid of the disease. And other things that you have to dig deeper into the studies and other things like that.

  • by Krystal Tetzlaff
    Posted March 11, 2011 2:18 pm 0Likes

    thanks so much Heather

  • by Amanda
    Posted March 16, 2011 2:49 pm 0Likes

    Hi, I would like to know if you can answer some interview questions for a 6th grade project.

    1.What are your interests in the area of science?
    When did it first develop and why do you enjoy it?

    2.What schooling or special training did you need?

    3. What are the services that you provide to our community?
    Why is it important to our community?

    4.What are your daily responsibilities?

    5. What special equipment or supplies are needed to do your task?

    6.What are the new developments in this area of science?
    Whats new and exciting coming up?

    7.What is your favorite marine mammal to work with?

    Thank you for your time!

  • by Krystal Tetzlaff
    Posted March 21, 2011 1:22 pm 0Likes

    I was wondering if you could come into my school and talk about how and what you need to do to become a marine biologist.

  • by Melissa,Sarah,Kenzie
    Posted March 30, 2011 1:30 pm 0Likes

    We are doing a research project for school about how climate change is effecting Marine Turtles, we were asked to conduct an interview and were wondering if you could help us out by answering a few questions for our project. Thank you,
    Kenzie, Sarah, Melissa (:

  • by Heather
    Posted April 8, 2011 1:03 pm 0Likes

    Dear Melissa, Sarah and Kenzie,
    Thank you for your interest in marine biology. Many people are talking about climate change and how to reduce our CO2 emissions. We don’t know much about the ways changing temperatures and weather affect marine animals but the water that is their home can also change along with the climate. If oceans become warmer or more acidic, the mix of animals and plants that live there will be different. Sea turtles travel long distances and breathe air and lay their eggs on land. All of these things make them vulnerable to changes around them.
    Important ways that you can help marine turtles include using less plastic and making sure that your trash does not go into the ocean. Also, of course, choosing to walk instead of drive is important not only for the ocean but also for you.

  • by M.sriram
    Posted April 9, 2011 2:07 am 0Likes

    hi heather spence, how r u? and i like your website. can you tell me a few informations about sea turtles? and contact me please! my email is

  • by M.sriram
    Posted April 9, 2011 2:15 am 0Likes

    Iam studiying 12th std now, and iam interested in marine biology. which course in marine biology is popular now? please tell me immediately

  • by Heather
    Posted April 9, 2011 1:02 pm 0Likes

    Dear M. Sriram,
    Thank you for your inquiry about sea turtles, and your interest in marine biology.
    Sea turtles are amazing creatures but we do not know much about them. They are disappearing because they are vulnerable to many hazzards. When they first hatch and scramble from the nest to the water, predators wait to eat them. In the ocean they are tasty morsels for more predators and as they grow, those that survive must avoid floating plastic debris, toxic spills, boat propellers, fishing gear, and other human threats. Also, humans in many places like to eat sea turtles and sea turtle eggs.
    Once they leave the nest, sea turtles swim thousands of miles alone in the oceans, but then the females return to the same beach where they were hatched to lay their eggs. In some places where there is a lot of development, the turtle eggs are collected and moved to a safer place so they can hatch without being disturbed.
    You can help sea turtles by being careful about using plastics and poisons that might get into the water. Also, when you are in a boat, be sure to go slowly enough to watch for turtles. They breathe air and swim close to the surface. By thinking about the effects of our actions, all of us can help sea turtles survive.

  • by M.sriram
    Posted April 10, 2011 11:11 am 0Likes

    I want to know more about marine animals can u help me?

  • by Heather
    Posted April 13, 2011 1:03 pm 0Likes

    Dear M. Sriram,
    Thank you again for your interest in marine biology. If you want to be a marine biologist, you will need a strong background in science, including chemistry, physics and biology. Then, when you specialize in marine studies, you can emphasize whatever ecosystems and animals interest you most. The choices are almost unlimited, especially since we are discovering new things about the oceans every day.

  • by Jennifer Wilson
    Posted April 13, 2011 2:13 pm 0Likes

    I am currently attending ITT Tech for Computer Sciences but it isn’t what I really want to do. I want to be a Marine Biologist and I have NO idea how to go about it. Can you help? I haven’t an idea what colleges to contact. I know that I need to be strong in science and I am but I’m just not sure how to set this in motion…any help would be greatly appreciated

  • by Magen O'Berry
    Posted April 15, 2011 9:45 am 0Likes

    Hi, i need an address from you I am doing a school research paper and my teacher is requiring an address even though I am going to send you an email. Can you help me?

  • by Heather
    Posted April 17, 2011 9:52 am 0Likes

    Dear Jennifer,
    Thank you for writing to me. I am glad you are interested in becomming a marine biologist. The field is actually quite broad and if you are strong in science, you probably already have some ideas about the parts of marine biology that interest you most. Some people study organisms’ cells and DNA, while others study behavior and interactions.
    Since you are learning computer science, you may want to apply that to marine biology. There are many ways to begin, including contacting me, and others in the field, and seeking out connections between what you know about and what marine biologists are doing. You might find a use for your skills by, for example, setting up an information system for a marine biology application. I once worked at the Smithsonian developing a computerized catalogue of the materials for the Oceans exhibit.
    You could also look at the classes offered by a nearby community college to see if anything matches your interests. To get involved with marine biology is simply a matter of finding ways to bring that focus to your work, either as a professional or as a volunteer. There is always a lot of work that needs to be done – but not always a lot of money.

  • by Sierra Seabolt
    Posted April 22, 2011 12:13 am 0Likes

    Hello my name is Sierra Seabolt, I am an eighth grade student from oak harbor Washington. We are doing a career reaseach project and I would like to be a marine biologist. Part of this assignment is to interveiw a marine biologist, so I was wondering if you would be willing to participate in that.
    Thank you
    Sierra Seabolt

  • by Heather
    Posted May 3, 2011 8:07 am 0Likes

    Sure, Sierra, send me your questions,

  • by nasra
    Posted May 15, 2011 8:46 pm 0Likes

    hello , let me just say im really thrilled that i was able to contact you .Im a highschool student who is extremely interested in marine biology .I was considering at first evolutionary biology but i was more focused on marine biology on its own ,Im hopin to be able to interview with a couple of questions in my next common .thank you and talk to you soon ( hopefully;)

  • by Heather
    Posted May 16, 2011 8:06 pm 0Likes

    Hi Nasra, thanks, I’m glad you are interested in both evolutionary biology and marine biology – you know there are definitely ways to combine them. Sure, send me your Questions

  • by Keenan Cain
    Posted July 20, 2011 4:03 pm 0Likes

    My question is do sea fish have high blood perssure? I am a user of sea salt in cooking. My thinking is the sea salt is not refined. It contains the trace minerals..potassium that in my opinion balances the sodium. One would think living in all that salt one would have hypertension.

  • by Heather
    Posted July 23, 2011 10:37 am 0Likes

    Hi Keenan Cain,
    Thank you for contacting me. I am glad you are interested in Marine Biology. Your curiosity indicates that you have thought about the environment of the sea. Of course salinity affects all sea life, and some plants and animals have very low tolerance for even small changes. However, some fish migrate from fresh to salt water and back, and organisms thrive in bays, lagoons, deltas and tidal rivers where salinity can vary drammatically. Some fish have ways to pump out the excess salt, and sharks stay in balance thanks to a chemical called urea. Adaptability is critical to survival. Marine species have proven to be quite hardy in dealing with oceans’ variations. Toxins placed by humans, however, present more deadly challenges. The presence of mercury and PCBs in the ocean food chain is likely to have more negative health effects than salt.

  • by kyle s.
    Posted July 24, 2011 12:06 pm 0Likes

    I found a bone near Galveston and I don’t know what it is. It’s the size of my open hand and shaped like a spade, kind of like a shark fin. The spade area is about a half inch thick and at the bottom of the spade on each end is what I

  • by kyle s.
    Posted July 24, 2011 12:06 pm 0Likes

    I found a bone near Galveston and I don’t know what it is. It’s the size of my open hand and shaped like a spade, kind of like a shark fin. The spade area is about a half inch thick and at the bottom of the spade on each end is what I

  • by kyle s.
    Posted July 24, 2011 12:12 pm 0Likes

    I found a bone near Galveston and I don’t know what it is. It’s the size of my open hand and shaped like a spade, kind of like a shark fin. The spade area is about a half inch thick at thinnest and at the bottom of the spade on each end is what I can only describe as a joint or spinal connection. I googled fish and whale skeletons but I don’t see anything similar. The only thing I can see it might resemble from that area is a cow’s scapula. My friend has it right now so I don’t have a pic but I will try and get one asap.
    Sorry for the double post, my computer has AIDS. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  • by Heather
    Posted August 3, 2011 10:00 am 0Likes

    A picture would certainly help. It sounds like an interesting find!

  • by greg burger
    Posted September 10, 2011 9:30 pm 0Likes

    hi heather

  • by greg burger
    Posted September 10, 2011 9:38 pm 0Likes

    Hi Heather i raise salt water fish in aquarium and was wandering if u think they are over harvested off freefs. i have heard they do it in a responcible way , was wandering if u knew a a good medicine for a quarteen tank , that would not hurt the new fish ,, i try to buy tank raised fish but dont trust all informa tion by breeders thank you for any advise

  • by Heather
    Posted September 11, 2011 8:24 am 0Likes

    Hi Greg,
    Nice to hear from you. Salt water aquariums can be extremely difficult to maintain! When it comes to finding fish, I have a couple of important suggestions. One is to only buy and keep native species. The Lionfish invasion in the Caribbean is an example of what happens when you take a Pacific fish and keep it as pets on the Atlantic side – they escaped, restulting in a horrible invasion that’s really unnecessary. So that’s one suggestion. Another is that you might look into where ornamental fish are bred. Find a place near you if you can, and see if you can visit. There may be one associated with a university or research group that could give you good information and suggest to you good places to buy your fish and supplies, and what medicine you might need.
    I hope this helps,

  • by ri
    Posted September 24, 2011 7:21 pm 0Likes

    It’s a nice blog you have over here! It’s very useful information for me and I just want to thank you for that!

  • by Rebecca Parkin
    Posted October 12, 2011 3:36 am 0Likes

    hey:), im becca im 15 and go to the king edmund school and im doing a project on marine biology at school and i need your help with some information o if you could contact me please it would be helpful i posted yesterday but it seems to be deleted , So i though i’d post again i just need to ask some question and find out a bit more information than i already have , so if you contact me on my e-mail address that would be great thank’s:)

  • by Rebecca Parkin
    Posted October 12, 2011 3:37 am 0Likes

    hey:), im becca im 15 and go to the king edmund school and im doing a project on marine biology at school and i need your help with some information o if you could contact me please it would be helpful i posted yesterday but it seems to be deleted , So i though i’d post again i just need to ask some question and find out a bit more information than i already have , so if you contact me on my e-mail address that would be great thank’s:)

  • by Heather
    Posted October 12, 2011 8:19 am 0Likes

    Hi Rebecca, Thanks for contacting me and I’m glad to hear of your interest in marine biology. Please email me with your questions, or, you can post them here.

  • by lauren knoell
    Posted October 13, 2011 9:56 pm 0Likes

    hi heather my name is lauren i emailed you and i really need to get my rpoject done its due monday so if u check this site more than you check ur email then i am leaving a comment with the questions thx plaz respond.

    here are the questions…..

    1. on a scale of 1-10,10 being the highest,how much do you use the following in your job

    reading__ writing__ math__ computer skills__ Science__ speaking__ listening__teamwork__

    2.what is the place of your employment? did you become aware of this occupation?

    4.why did you choose this career?

    5.what natural skills or talents helped you to get this job?

    6.what level of education or special training is needed for this job

    7.what are your job benefits?(insurance,discounts,ect)

    • by Heather
      Posted October 16, 2011 12:01 pm 0Likes

      Hi Lauren,
      Thank you for contacting me. I am glad you are interested in marine Biology.
      My job is actually a lot of different things, including teaching, researching, studying, writing, and much more. I need to use the top level of skills in every category: reading (10), writing (10), math (10), computer skills (10), Science (10), speaking (10), listening (10), teamwork (10).
      My work takes me to several centers in New York City as well as Baltimore and the Ycatan in Mexico.
      Marine Biology always interested me, so when I was in college I was happy to get the opportunity to do a special research prohect in the field, and I worked with other Marine Biologists. It was so fascinating, I finished college and continued on to graduate school in Marine Biology. In the work that I do, listening is especially important. I concentrate on acoustics because I like to listen and I think I am good at it, which is why I am also a musician.
      My education will always continue because there will be new things to learn as long as I am in Marine Biology. Most Marine Biologists probably have at least a Masters Degree.
      The benefits of each job have to do with where you work more than what your specialty is. I work at a university but there are all kinds of jobs for Marine Biologists. Yes, I have insurance, and I get discounts on many things as well.
      I hope this helps.
      Good luck!

  • by Rebecca
    Posted October 17, 2011 3:25 am 0Likes

    Hey Heather, it’s me again i just want to know:
    Is it hard to train to be a marine biologist?
    What qualifications do you need to be a marine biologist?
    Would you have to go collage to train?
    What sort of training would you have to do?
    Would you have to go to university to become a marine biologist?
    Many thank’s

  • by Rebecca
    Posted October 17, 2011 3:26 am 0Likes

    Hey Heather, :)it’s me again i just want to know:
    Is it hard to train to be a marine biologist?
    What qualifications do you need to be a marine biologist?
    Would you have to go collage to train?
    What sort of training would you have to do?
    Would you have to go to university to become a marine biologist?
    Many thank’s

  • by Emma Elliott
    Posted October 21, 2011 4:31 pm 0Likes

    Hi Heather Spence,
    I am Emma Elliott and I live in Pennsylvania. Im a 10th grader and was assigned a project to research Marine Biology in my biology class. I’d like to interview you about your career as a marine biologist. If you are interested in helping me, please see the interview questions bellow:

    1) What education did you have
    before, to get this job?

    2) What was you very first job in this

    3) What’s a typical day for you?

    4) Why did you choose
    Marine biology?

    5) What is your job satisfaction?

    P.s I’d like for you to get back to me as soon as possible, if that is okay. Thank you very much!!

  • by Morghan
    Posted October 22, 2011 6:15 pm 0Likes

    Dear Heather,
    My name is Morghan Pereira, and I am a sophmore at Berean Christian High School in Walnut Creek, California. I have a research project coming up in English class, and I have to do an interview. You seemed very qualified. If you could answer these questions, I would be so greatful! If I could get answers to these questions before November 3th that would be so helpful! Thank you!

    1. What inspired you to pursue this job for a career?
    2. What schooling, training, skills, experience, etc. did you need to get the job you have? Is that still the case, or have the requirements changed?
    3. How long have you been in this field? How has your job evolved since you first started (promotions, new responsibilities, etc.)?
    4. Tell me what a typical day is like in your job. Does that vary over weeks/months/years/etc.?
    5. What is your schedule like? Do you get paid vacation? Holidays?
    6. What does your place of employment look like? (E.g. do you work in an office, etc.?)
    7. What are the benefits of your job, both external (such as medical, bonuses, etc.) and internal (such as convenience, location, personal reward, etc.)?
    8. What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you enjoy least?
    9. Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten years?
    10. What advice do you have for someone considering your job as a future career?
    11. What would someone entering the field make? Salary Range?
    12. How time consuming is the job? What are the hours? Are they consistent or flexible?
    13. What college courses (and high school) do you recommend for this particular field? Are there certain colleges that are better to attend than others?
    14. What are the age requirements to enter this field?
    15. Do you travel a lot for your job?
    16. Is the work you do personal or do you have people you team with to get a job done?
    17. Do you have to relocate for your job? Does it take over your lifestyle?

    Thank you so much!

    God Bless,

  • by Heather
    Posted October 24, 2011 2:10 pm 0Likes

    Hi Morghan,
    Thank you for contacting me. I am glad you are interested in interviewing a Marine Biologist. In English!

    My career as a Marine Biologist was inspired by my interest in the creatures that live in the oceans.

    There are no set requirements to be a Marine Biologist, but most of my colleagues have graduate degrees in science. The skills you need would be determined by the job you do.

    My own experience in marine biology goes back 7-8 years. At that time I was an undergraduate. Since then I have expanded my research and taken on a lot of new responsibilities. I also get paid more and travel to more places.

    My ‘typical’ day is never the same twice. I teach and study and do research, i go to different places in New York City and Baltimore and Mexico, and sometimes other states, too.

    My schedule is mostly up to me. I get paid to work the way I think it needs to be done. Sometimes that means I am working on a holiday, and other times I am relaxing when others are working.

    My work is in offices, classrooms, aquariums, oceans, beaches, boats – almost anywhere. Of course I also spend time on a computer.

    My job does give me advantages such as health care and travel, and I get to decide where I want to go, so it is convenient.

    The best part of my job is that I do what I like best. The worst part is that I always have to ask for enough funding.

    In five years, I hope to have established an official institute for sustainability studies. In ten years, I hope we will be an important center for developing interdisciplinary solutions to sustainability problems.

    Anyone who wants a career like mine should volunteer with me. We need lots of help! Seriously, there are many paths you can follow to become a Marine Biologist, and many different career choices. Some make more money than others.

    On the plus side, my hours are flexible. They are also usually long, although mostly that is my choice.

    To prepare for a career in marine biology, study science. Take science courses in high school and college. It is more important to do well and get a good background than to go to a particular university.

    My research is mostly done in teams, although some things I just do myself. I prefer teamwork. Sometimes we physically get together and other times we just get on the computer.

    Relocating is up to me, depending on what and where I choose to study. My work is part of my lifestyle, by my own choice.

    Good luck on your project!

  • by Krystine
    Posted October 27, 2011 3:37 am 0Likes

    Good day Ms. Heather! I’m Krystine from the Philippines. I was wondering if you could answer some interview questions for our research and investigatory project about increasing the population of phytoplanktons. Our group was required to interview 2-3 professionals. Would you please grant us the opportunity by answering these interview questions? I sent these questions in your email as well. Hope you have the time Ms. Heather 🙂

    Our Research problem or topic is:
    The effect of Iron (III) Oxide on the population of phytoplanktons.

    1) What do you think of our research topic?

    2) Is our research worth doing?

    3) Do you think that we would get a successful result?

    4) What are the possible strengths and weaknesses in our Research?

    5) Do you think our research is significant?

    6) What type of plankton would you prefer for us to use in the experiment proper?

    God Bless! 🙂 And Thanks a lot. 🙂

  • by Virginie, Shelbey, Josee
    Posted October 27, 2011 6:56 am 0Likes

    Hi Heather!
    We are three 13 year old girls from Canada, and we are doing a project on Marine Biology and one of the hardest questions on our research is What do seaweed eat? And how?
    It would really really help us if you answered!
    Thank you!

  • by Heather
    Posted October 31, 2011 3:12 pm 0Likes

    Hi Krystine,
    Good to hear from you and I’m glad you are working on a science project. What made you decide to look at this particular question? What is your experimental design? If you have made an observation or done background research that leads you to be interested in finding out more about this, then it is a good question. The next thing is to design a good way to go about testing your hypothesis (what do you think the effect will be?)
    If you are going to be testing different levels of Iron Oxide, I would advise you to think about the significance of the amounts that you use (likelihood of finding that level in nature? a previous study used it? etc), and make sure you include a control group!

  • by Heather
    Posted October 31, 2011 3:16 pm 0Likes

    Hi Virginie Shelbey and Josee,
    Seaweed is a plant. Like plants that grow on land, plants that live in the water are “autrophs” – they make their own food using energy from the environment (especially from the sun).

  • by Morghan
    Posted November 1, 2011 8:50 pm 0Likes

    I was so glad to hear back from you! Thank you so much, Heather! You helped me a lot on my project!

    Thanks again!

  • by Emily
    Posted November 7, 2011 7:18 am 0Likes

    Hey Ms. Heather! I’ve got a few questions regarding phytoplanktons. If you have time please answer.

    1)What is the most common type of Phytoplankton?
    2)Easiest to obtain phytoplankton?
    3)Easiest to grow for an experiment?
    4)What is a common or cheap growth medium for phytoplanktons?
    5)Are phytoplanktons in danger of being endangered?
    6)Could you give some importance of phytoplanktons?

    Thank you. 🙂

  • by Becca Parkin
    Posted November 10, 2011 6:49 am 0Likes

    Hey Heather, it’s me again i just want to know:
    Is it hard to train to be a marine biologist?
    What qualifications do you need to be a marine biologist?
    Would you have to go collage to train?
    What sort of training would you have to do?
    Would you have to go to university to become a marine biologist?
    Many thank’s

  • by sriram
    Posted November 20, 2011 9:33 am 0Likes

    hi heather what is the qualification to become marine biologist

  • by Sarah K.
    Posted November 22, 2011 8:19 pm 0Likes

    Dear Heather Spence,

    My name is Sarah and I am in the 8th grade. I sent you this message as an e-mail but I really wanted to see if I could get an answer and decided to make a post also. I was doing a project in science involving fish tanks and plants. The plants we used were Red Ludwigia and each tank received an equal amount of light. We noticed that the tank that had two plants was warmer than than the tank with one plant and the tank with no plants. The tank with one plant was the second warmest. These results came up every time we measured. We didn’t know what was causing this so my science teacher encouraged me to find the answer. Being a marine biologist, I figured you might know. If you do not know, could you please give me the contact information of someone who would? I would appreciate receiving an answer as soon as possible, even if your answer is no.
    Thank you.


    Sarah K.

  • by danyelle cater
    Posted December 8, 2011 2:26 pm 0Likes

    for my whole life i wanted to become a marine boloist i would like to ask you a few question. you can email me or call me at 619-252-7805

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