As is the case for many of our world’s natural ecosystems, the health of our oceans and the quality of our water may very realistically hang in the balance. This is due to a number of factors including overuse, tepid regulation advancement and enforcement, low levels of awareness, and continued pollution and waste levels.
Maintaining our oceans and waterways are a pivotal part of keeping our planet in working order, and improving their condition needs to be a key area of focus for policymakers, corporations, politicians, and more. Thankfully, there are important efforts being made across our world today to protect our oceans and water sources, as well as reverse the damage that has been (and, in some cases, is still being) caused to them by things such as overuse and pollution.
What is Biostatistics?
While there are many fields of research and practice that affect ocean and water health in different ways, one professional arena that people don’t often think of or readily recognize is that of biostatistics. This area remains a bit lesser-known than more heralded practice areas like marine biology or other environmental sciences, but can have a significant impact on helping improve both water quality and ocean health. Biostatistics roles stereotypically fit within the medical realm and are often associated with fields such as epidemiology, or the study of human diseases.
In reality though, biostatistics utilizes a broad research approach to understanding and tackling biological, environmental, and even sociological phenomena that affect both human health and our world at large.
Because biostatistics is readily able to incorporate varied elements of study and consideration into their processes, biostatisticians can make connections between widespread trends and influences that other, more narrowly focused research endeavors might miss while working to understand or solve current issues. This makes the field of biostatistics an important part of our scientific arsenal as our research, academic, and policy-making communities work to better our environmental position and prospects.
Arenas Where Biostatisticians Often Work
Because biostatisticians might specialize or focus on a certain area within a broad range of potential topics or problems, their jobs could vary substantially from each other in some cases. An ample number of biostatisticians can be found within the healthcare arena, often being utilized in hospitals and research facilities. However, biostatistics can also be utilized in a variety of other settings. These can include industries such as pharmacology, public health, and various environmental research-based initiatives.
How Biostatistics Can Be Applied to Oceanic and Water Study
One of biostatistics’ primary roles is to better understand the relationships between humans and various elements of their environments or experiences that can affect health. An environmental statistician is one type of biostatistician that, predictably, studies relationships between environmental elements and human health.
Though conventional biostatistics applications emphasize solving human health problems or issues, the practice and field of biostatistics can also be applied to determine learnings about environmental realities. These learnings can help us both better understand and better protect our interactions with the world’s water sources on a wide scale.
Examples of this type of research abound. Consider, for instance, the types of learning or study that could be available any place where water is extracted from natural sources for bottling or for providing to a local area as drinking water. Testing water quality and studying best practice for various elements of the manufacturing or distribution process can be important and necessary, but biostatisticians can provide additional approaches to fully understanding implications and long-term effects of the processes at hand. The biostatistics process involves utilizing a number of study tools to gain insights. These could include any or all of the following:
Conducting focus groups or clinical studies by interviewing, interacting with, or otherwise engaging multiple individuals or groups of stakeholders from a pertinent demographic, geographical area, or line of work.
Capturing observations from the field by passively observing processes, events, behaviors, or environments to glean learnings about a problem or topic.
Soliciting survey responses or developing case studies from pertinent stakeholders surrounding a topic or research question.
In our drinking water example, biostatisticians might conduct research to better understand the various stakeholders involved in that process, the ultimate consumers of that water, the mechanical and chemical treatment that water might receive, how any additives or treatments affect the health of people that consume that water, and how the water extraction or treatment process might affect the natural surroundings or ecosystems at play.
This is just one hypothetical example of how biostatistics can be applied to better understanding not only the effects humans experience at a wide scale because of their interactions with the natural world, but the way human intervention affects that natural world and its intricate balance of ecosystems and processes.
Biostatisticians contribute to a better understanding of how our actions affect, for better or worse, our world around us and can help us avail ourselves of our natural resources more effectively, more thoughtfully, and with less risk.
Ways to Pursue a Biostatistics Career
If you are interested in taking part in this important process, you might consider pursuing a career in biostatistics. There are a number of avenues one can take to enter the field and a variety of specialization areas that can help you hone your career and pursue the subjects or topics that are most interesting to you.
Whatever branch of biostatistics you pursue, you can rest assured that your career will help you make meaningful impacts on your world.