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Seaweek 2011: Spotlight on Marine Science

Marine Scientist Profile:

Who am I?
My name is Charles Lemckert and I am a physical oceanographer, which means I study how the ocean moves and how this affects the weather and marine life.

I work for and my work / research involves:
I work for Griffith University ( on its Gold Coast Campus. As part of my work I have the pleasure of lecturing our marine science students in topics that cover how we measure ocean movement and ocean water properties (like temperature and salt levels), how the marine environment formed and the best way for us to take care of it.

As well as teaching, I do research that aims to help us understand how the ocean water mixes and how this may affect the behaviour of marine animals (including humpback whales). To do this we go onto the ocean and lower scientific instruments over the side of the vessel so we can see what the water is doing and what it is made of. This exciting work means we get to travel around the world to look at many different environments.

How does my work relate to marine conservation?
My work relates directly to marine conservation. For example, while students are completing their studies in marine science they learn about the environment and how it can be managed in an effectively. Therefore, we are educating the next generation of marine scientists who can then pass their knowledge on to the community, who in turn will learn how to look after our marine environment.

My research work is teaching us a lot about how physical processes affect animal behaviour, and through this we can predict how changing our environment can have good and bad benefits (we need to avoid the second one).

Things I like about my job:
My job is great as it allows me to:

  • be part of a team that educates our future marine scientists
  • study our wonderful marine environment all over the world
  • use and develop the latest scientific equipment to improve our understanding of the marine environment
  • let people know about the work we do by writing scientific papers and giving talks
  • sitting on a boat and watching the sun rise – a beautiful way to start the day

What inspired you to consider a career in marine science?
When I was young I often enjoyed fishing and watching the ocean. I never thought that this would be a career until, one day, I was fortunate enough to go to University and listen to a marine scientist give a talk on the wonders of the marine environment and how little we knew about it. I thought Wow! I would love to help the community and learn more about the ocean. And wow – here I am today learning about the ocean through my research work and teaching new students.

Do you have a favourite marine creature (if so why)?
While my main interests are in the way the ocean moves, I find many of the marine creatures very interesting. My favourite marine creature is the clown fish – because of its colour and the colourful coral environment it lives in.



Charles Lemckert in the field

Charles Lemckert in the field



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