Ecologists are scientists whose main job is to study the close relationship between all living beings and the environment. They are the ones who observe the effects of pollution, rainfall, shifts, temperature, and industrialization. Ecologists usually gather, assess, and report information on the food, water, air, and quality of soil by employing their knowledge and expertise on various scientific disciplines.
Duties of an Ecologist
Among the duties or tasks of an ecologist involve doing field researches which uses a laborious scientific process to gather plant, water, animal samples, and soil. This is geared towards the protection of the ecosystem and native wildlife, observing animals over a long period of time and its way of living according to history patterns, diet, behavior, population numbers, and habitat use. They also analyze data which are collected in the laboratory, prepare written reports, and conduct monitoring population of animals.
Ecologists also function as supervisors in which they supervise the works of technologists and technicians. In addition, they also serve as advisers to councils and government with regards to the management of the environment. They usually conduct their research on different areas like forestry resources, management of wildlife, mining, dam construction, development of biological guidelines to combat pest insects and weeds, and also with regards to the effects of contaminants which are continuously released in the atmosphere affecting vegetation and wildlife.
Qualifications of an Ecologist
If you want to be an ecologist, you have to obtain a four – year Bachelor’s degree which includes important subjects such as biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, calculus, statistics, and computer science. Ecologists usually have their specializations in areas like botany, soil science, microbiology, toxicology, zoology, and marine biology. Depending on what specialization you will take, general the subjects involve are climatology, economics, geology, mathematical modeling, science sociology, meteorology, and oceanography.
In order for you to increase your chance of employment, you have to work your way by obtaining a Bachelor’s degree or better yet a PhD if you are planning to venture in the teaching profession.
Work Condition and Salary
Ecologists are commonly employed at different institute such as in a local organization, federal and state government agencies, colleges, universities, and many more. Their work setting is not only limited in the field but they also work in laboratories doing analysis of the samples they have gathered. Apart from that, ecologists also involve themselves in research where they are traveling from one place to another. They may have to extend their hours of duty as working on a research requires much of their time and effort. However, generally speaking, ecologists have an average of 40 working hours a week.
The salary of ecologists varies widely in terms of their experience, work environment, and the institute where they are employed. In United States, the median yearly salary of an ecologist ranges between $33,000 and $43,500. Those who are working in the federal government may earn a salary up to $66,000. Those who are employed in the state and local governments, and in technical, management, scientific consulting services, architecture, and engineering are earning a yearly salary of $45,000.
It seems very exciting and promising to venture in this field of career but you have to make sure you follow the qualifications and the skills needed as stated above. Moreover, you need to be passionate about becoming an ecologist for you will be spending most of your time in the work field and in conducting research.