Marine chemists study ocean chemistry. They also study other biological, geological, and physical aspects to determine how these factors impact marine biota.

David Hastings is a marine geochemist and a chemical oceanographer. He’s here to explain how often marine chemists travel and why.

Do Marine Chemists Travel?

Most marine chemists will travel as part of their job. How much they travel can vary greatly, based on their specialization and the type of work they do.

A marine chemist who is focused on fieldwork will travel regularly. On the other hand, a researcher focused on lab research will travel much less.

Traveling for Field Work

Many marine chemists frequently travel for research or fieldwork. David Hastings notes that fieldwork is a key component of marine chemistry. We learn how to perform research and then travel to different bodies of water to study marine science.

Some researchers may spend a long time studying a single area, while others travel to different areas more frequently. How often they travel for field work will depend on exactly what they are researching and their goals.

Over 80% of the ocean is unmapped, unexplored, and unobserved so researchers have many options when choosing where to conduct their work. That includes much of the deep sea, which is hard to access and often challenging to sample. 

It’s important to note that marine scientists often travel to areas that aren’t typically accessible. Some researchers travel to different areas around the country to study the ocean. Others travel to distant countries in order to get to their field sites, where travel may be prohibited for tourism and leisure purposes. Some marine chemists travel to remote areas where humans rarely have been .


Conferences are another reason that marine chemists and scientists in general, travel. It’s important to collaborate with colleagues. This allows scientists to share their knowledge and expand upon it by listening to different points of view.

Many marine chemists are highly specialized, which makes collaboration very important. Since each scientist has their specialization, they can learn much from each other.

Meeting With Officials

Marine chemists may also travel to speak with officials. Officials may include government representatives and businesses. David Hastings states that marine chemists are sometimes very active in environmental policy.

David Hastings states that they see the impacts of climate change firsthand. Their expertise allows them to see the issues and understand ways to help solve the problems facing our ocean and planet.

This is one of the most important roles marine chemists have. It allows them to make a difference in the health of the planet.

Public Speaking and Education

The final reason that marine chemists travel is for public speaking and education. David Hastings believes that passing on knowledge to the public also has an important role.

This can range from presentations open to the public to becoming a full-time teacher.

David Hastings

David Hastings is a chemical oceanographer and a marine geochemist. He specializes in understanding the history of the earth’s changes in climate by studying ocean sediment.

He has also studied the gulf oil spill and the impact it has had on the water, as well as how microplastics affect marine life.

He is a graduate of Princeton University. He earned his Ph.D. in marine chemistry from the University of Washington. Before retiring, he taught chemistry, marine science, and environmental science at Eckerd College.