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Marine Biology at Pepperdine University

Does Pepperdine offer marine biology?

Yes, we offer courses in marine biology. All courses in marine biology and related fields include classroom and laboratory topics that include field trips to local coastal and ocean sites.

Many biology courses at Pepperdine take advantage of the nearby marine habitats, regardless of the class title. For example, zoology students take field trips to tide pools. Ecology students study shorebirds in estuaries and beach habitats. Botany students learn about marine algae on the beach. Invertebrate zoology students find marine organisms on piers, in lagoons, and in tide pools.

Pepperdine University is located within 5 minutes of a variety of marine habitats on the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, including rocky intertidal and lagoon sites. Laboratory facilities include marine aquaria, and equipment for physiological, ecological, and molecular research on marine organisms. A number of biology courses involve field study in marine habitats.

Why is there no major in marine biology?

We feel that students are better served by not specializing as undergraduates. By obtaining a strong general background in biology, students can be prepared for specialization in graduate school or medical school, or be prepared to enter a variety of careers.

Marine biologists are biologists that specialize in work on marine organisms. They begin with a strong background in some area of biology as a technical specialty, such as ecology, behavior, or embryology.

What if students want experience beyond regular coursework?

Interested students have many options for greater involvement in marine biology and conservation efforts. Advanced students may elect to do research studies in marine biology focusing on local organisms, including fishes and invertebrates. Research opportunities, some with stipends, and honors studies are available competitively in marine biology and other areas of biology. Many students present their original research in scientific meetings and publications.

Students from Pepperdine have participated in off-campus courses and research programs at many field stations for marine biology, including Friday Harbor Laboratories (University of Washington), Shoals Marine Laboratory (Cornell University), Hopkins Marine Station (Stanford University), Semester at Sea, and the School for Field Studies.

Students from Pepperdine have obtained internships and positions with Heal The Bay Aquarium in Santa Monica, ReefCheck, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, SeaWorld San Diego, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, the Dolphin Institute at the University of Hawaii, and the Sea Life Park in Oahu.