Marine Biologist John Calambokidis

Marine Biologist John Calambokidis

Profile of marine mammal research biologist John Calambokidis.

Grades

5 - 12+

Subjects

Biology, Earth Science, Ecology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Geography, Oceanography, Physical Geography

John is a marine biologist who studies marine mammals. He is also the founder of Cascadia Research, a nonprofit organization that studies marine mammals. Cascadia Research is based in Olympia, Washington.

EARLY WORK

In junior high school and high school, Calambokidis started one of the first recycling programs in his neighborhood outside Washington, D.C.

His father was an Olympic sailor, which helped instill an interest in the water and its organisms. “Even though he died when I was young, there was a bit of a maritime tradition there,” Calambokidis says.

After high school, Calambokidis traveled around Europe and Africa, mostly on bike. While in Africa, he visited some wild game parks that “crystallized an interest in taking action to protect the environment and to get more actively involved in conservation.”

MOST EXCITING PART OF YOUR WORK

“Identifying questions that no one knows the answer to and the process of discovering something no one else knows.”

MOST DEMANDING PART OF YOUR WORK

Securing funding and support for research projects.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE GEOGRAPHY?

“To me, geography is all about how all the different parts of the Earth, from animals to plants, relate to geographic places.”

GEO-CONNECTION

Calambokidis believes all the research he does on marine mammals, including blue whales, is tied heavily to geographic issues.

Calambokidis studies what animals are doing in certain areas and what might be critical habitat for them. He tries to identify areas where different animals would be affected by the same environmental changes, and tries to track animal “movements between areas or migrations across geographic regions.”

Calambokidis also discovers what area makes up an animal’s feeding and breeding grounds and what impacts on those regions would affect an animal's ability to survive. He says geography plays an important role in conserving and managing species.

Calambokidis says all the information he gathers is geographically coded so he can determine an organism’s relationship to specific environments.

SO, YOU WANT TO BE A . . . MARINE BIOLOGIST

“The most important thing in general is to pursue what interests and excites you to bring out your passion and your motivation.”

Calambokidis recommends those who want to enter the field of biology to develop skills in quantitative sciences such as statistics, because these backgrounds are highly sought-after in the profession. Also, he suggests focusing on improving writing skills for writing grants and science reports.

GET INVOLVED

Think locally. “It’s important to get passionate and interested and research those things that are accessible to you.”

Media Credits

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Writer
Stuart Thornton
Editors
Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing, Emdash Editing
Kara West
Producer
National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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