Oceanog­ra­phy of­fers ex­cit­ing ca­reer prospects

The Star Early Edition - - JUNE IS ENVIRONMENT MONTH -

By Gaopalelwe Moroane OCEANOG­RA­PHY or the study of the oceans, of­fers those with an in­ter­est in sci­ence, maths and the sea an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove our planet through pro­tect­ing our oceans. Mthuthuzeli Gulekana has been an oceanog­ra­pher for 13 years and with the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs’ Oceans and Coasts for 9 years.

He con­tin­u­ously col­lects, analy­ses and in­ter­prets data and in­for­ma­tion in the marine en­vi­ron­ment in or­der to mon­i­tor and un­der­stand how the en­vi­ron­ment be­haves.

The ob­jec­tive is to be able to forecast the pat­terns and be­hav­iour of the oceans (just as the forecast the daily weather) in or­der to saves lives and prop­erty.

“The re­sults of our re­search are fur­ther pre­sented at var­i­ous plat­forms to cre­ate aware­ness and as sci­en­tific ad­vice to­wards cer­tain guide­lines, acts and poli­cies.

“To keep up-to-date with the lat­est dis­cov­er­ies, one needs to at­tend var­i­ous fo­rums, con­fer­ences, sem­i­nars and sym­posia to present your work and share in­for­ma­tion and ideas of fur­ther de­vel­op­ing new method­olo­gies,” he ex­plains..

“How­ever, as a gov­ern­ment de­part­ment, we con­duct ap­plied re­search, that is, re­search that is di­rected at solv­ing so­ci­etal prob­lems, such as en­sur­ing that the peo­ple know about ocean cur­rents, tides and the qual­ity of sea­wa­ter in their ar­eas.

“We also seek to un­der­stand the role of oceans in cli­mate change and how the oceans reg­u­late global cli­mate and weather pat­terns.

“The most re­ward­ing part for any oceanog­ra­pher is know­ing that your work is con­sis­tently be­ing used to ad­vance life and it is used as in­put in so­cio-eco­nomic de­ci­sions.

“Fur­ther­more, the in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge we gen­er­ate helps to cre­ate aware­ness about the var­i­ous ser­vices that the marine en­vi­ron­ment pro­vides and to en­cour­age sus­tain­able use of the marine en­vi­ron­ment.

“Ul­ti­mately, we ex­ist to re­search, gather and dis­trib­ute rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion in or­der to save lives and prop­erty,” con­cludes Gulekana.

To be­come an oceanog­ra­pher, one needs a Ma­tric pass in math­e­mat­ics, nat­u­ral sciences and bi­o­log­i­cal sciences. One would then look for a ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion of­fer­ing marine sciences.

Fur­ther­more, to be a prac­tis­ing oceanog­ra­pher, one needs to en­rol as a mem­ber of the South African Coun­cil for Nat­u­ral Sci­en­tific Pro­fes­sion.

Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs, Edna Molewa with oceanog­ra­pher Mthuthuzeli Gulekana.

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