How to Become an Ecologist
Job Description of an Ecologist
Skills and Qualities of an Ecologist
Ecologist Salaries
Influential Professional Ecologists
Leading Ecologist Organizations
Top Cities for Ecology Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an Ecologist

Because this is a scientific discipline and the work is all research based, a PhD is usually required to hold a formal ecologist position. In addition, ecologists tend to specialize in a particular field of ecology, and focusing one's graduate studies and gaining hands-on experience in that field is also crucial to obtaining job opportunities. This hands-on experience can be done in many different ways, including internships and/or postdoctoral studies. Finally, many ecologist are a part of a university or college, which requires a PhD to teach.

What does an Ecologist do?

Ecologists are scientists that study the intricate relationships that exist between organizations in a particular environment or groups of environments. They study not only the flora and fauna in a given geographic area, but they also pay attention to the other physical characteristics and dynamics of the location, like climate, weather patterns, altitude, pollution, soil types and quality, water systems, etc.

As with many scientists, ecologists conduct research in the field as well as in the lab. Ecologists may study ecology in the field, then perform their writing or other experiments in the lab. Or they may try to reproduce conditions from the wild in the lab, or use a computer simulation.

Ecologists are a type of biologist, who study the basic functions of life. These types of scientists work mainly with research and higher education institutions, private research laboratories, and governmental agencies. Their research feeds into a variety of outcomes, like recommendations on how to increase agricultural production, the impacts of human presence and pollution on key animal and plant populations, etc. An ecologist's work takes place both inside and outside of the lab.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an Ecologist?

An analytical mindset is important, working with large amounts of data. Ecologist sometimes work alone or in teams, the latter of which necessitates good communication skills. Because they produce findings and presentations, both oral and written communication skills are also important.

How much does an Ecologist make?

In 2007, ecologists and other similar biologists made between $36,000 - $98,000+ a year. The median annual salary of biologists, including ecologists, in 2006 was $53,300, with the middle fifty percent earning somewhere between $41,400 and $67,200 per year.

Who are some leading professionals in this field?

Alison Power is the President elect for 2009-2010 for the Ecological Society of America (ESA), and she is also a Cornell University professor.

Pamela Soltis is the president of the Botanical Society of America (BSA), as well as a professor at the University of Florida. The president-elect is Karl Niklas, a faculty member at Cornell University.

The President of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is Richard B. Marchase, and the President-Elect is Mark O. Lively.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

There are many leading organizations for ecologists. The American Institute of Biological Sciences supports issues, programs, and groups in the United States which are important to biology, and has done so for over fifty years.

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) was formed in 1912. FASEB was originally three different organizations which came together for the good of biological research, providing education and the opportunity for publication for biologists.

The Botanical Society of America (BSA) is an organization for plant biologists, both in research and education. It exists to promote botany, otherwise known as plant biology.

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a non-profit organization relating to ecology which has over 10,000 members and was founded almost a hundred years ago.

The International Society for Behavioral Ecology is an international organization that has, since 1986, existed to study behavioral ecology.

What are the top cities for Ecology jobs?

When performing a job search, there are not many positions available for simply "ecologist" as many positions available in this field are much more specialized in nature and often require specialization in the study of a particular region or type of organism. As such, it is a better idea to start with a region or type of ecology one is interested in and from there find organizations or institutions that study that particular focus. For example, sometimes a university in one part of the US has specialists and openings in ecologies in another part of the world.

Other Careers of Interest

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