Almost three-quarters of Earth's surface is covered by water. However, life in the abyss is still alien to us. Ocean currents determine our world's changing climate. Oceans still hide unknown resources of minerals, fuels, and biologic species. For future generations of mankind, deeper knowledge about the extremely complex nature of the world's oceans will be essential if we are to conquer and sustain these treasures. Now, research programs and new initiatives all around the globe are inviting young scientists to participate in this discovery. In this feature, Next Wave explores the excellent career opportunities in marine sciences--both inside and outside academia.

Bert Steffan, CEO of the just launched biotech start-up Thetis, gives us a first-hand survey of the booming field of marine biotechnology that has become a tempting stepping-stone for many young scientists.

Gerold Wefer, director the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences in Bremen, Germany, and chairman of the recent international workshop "Marine Science Frontiers," outlines Europe's current efforts to develop a Marine Science Plan. In his reflection on the workshop, Wefer tells us where marine sciences are heading and what research fields might become hot.

Chris Preston, research technician at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California, studies marine microbes. Chris tells about her exciting research that requires experience in microbiology, molecular biology, genomics, and the marine environment, but also involves fieldwork.

Next Wave's UK Editor, Kirstie Urquhart, reports on successful marine microbiologist Andrew Mearns Spragg, who is now fishing for pharmaceuticals with support of a Royal Society of Edinburgh fellowship to get his company, AquaPharm Technologies Ltd, off the ground.

Marlene Noble, of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California, and ocean sciences editor for the journal EOS, shares with us a day in her work life at the interface of land and sea.

Warren Currie, a Canadian grad student, gives us a humorous report on his research life in "A Day in the Life of a Plankton Researcher."

Colin Barrow and Elizabeth Beck, both at Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., introduce us to the thriving field of marine nutraceutical research: An industry that produces bioactive ingredients or foods derived from the plants and animals that live in the sea and that offers interesting career opportunities to young scientists.

Ilse Hamann, managing director of the German Association for Marine Sciences, shares with us her view on the current situation and future prospects of the marine science community in Germany.

In her second contribution for this feature, Ilse Hamann gives a detailed survey of the funding situation for marine sciences in Germany and Europe.

And in the U.S., GrantsNet writer Katie Cottingham has compiled an elaborate survey on marine science funding in the U.S. and Canada. Jump over to GrantsNet to read what she found.

Last but not least, and as in all Next Wave features, you will find valuable links for further research on this feature's Resources Page.