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You’ve heard of marine biology, but what’s aquatic biology? Aquatic biology is like marine biology in that you study the ecology and behavior of plants, animals, and microbes living water; however, instead of focusing on salt water, aquatic biology majors study freshwater inland lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, and wetlands. In this major, you’ll cover all aspects of life in fresh water, from algae, to salmon, to plankton.

As an aquatic biology major, you’ll take lots of science classes, including those on the biology, chemistry, and physics of lakes and streams. You’ll also learn the basics of geology and hydrology, aquatic ecosystems, botany, mammalogy, mycology (the study of fungi), and ichthyology (the study of fish). You’ll learn field and lab methods used to gage environmental conditions of water, and measure the abundance of aquatic organisms such as plankton.

Aquatic biology majors often go on to pursue ecology-oriented careers; for example, they may conduct biological surveys, write environmental impact statements, work on natural resource conservation, or undertake water quality control studies.


  • Aquatic Plants

  • Coral Reef and Deep Sea Biology

  • Ecology

  • Field and Laboratory Methods in General

  • Fisheries Management

  • Freshwater Invertebrates

  • Ichthyology

  • Limnology

  • Organic Chemistry

  • Organic Evolution

  • Standard Methods of Water Analysis


To prepare for this major, it’s recommended that students load up on math and science courses, taking biology, chemistry, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and physics.