What does an oceanographer do, anyway? Pet sharks all day?”
I’ll always remember the haughty tone of those words, delivered in my first week of graduate school at MIT, by one of my classmates in the biology Ph.D. program. Alone, they might be funny, or at least ironic: My best friend actually does pet sharks, if by “pet” you mean “harpoon with high-tech tags to track the world’s biggest fish as they cruise through the world’s oceans.” But after more comments about how I wasn’t a “real biologist” and that ecology wasn’t a valid science, I quickly realized I was fighting an uphill battle for respect.
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