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What are the Different Ecologist Jobs?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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Ecologist jobs vary widely based on the type of ecology being studied, the geographical location, and the employer. Some ecologists spend much of their time in the field, collecting data. Others may find themselves in an ecology laboratory conducting various experiments to look for solutions to problems. Some may work in forests. Others may work in oceans, mountains, or other locations.

Some ecologist jobs may focus on behavioral ecology. In this field, the job is to look at animal behaviors, and to try to understand why they react to stimuli the way they do. This could be very important in determining how to protect different species. Without understanding how they may react to a new situation, it is impossible to determine what the possible harmful elements of that situation may be. For example, understanding that an owl needs a certain kind of tree in which to build its nest is important for the maintenance of the population. Assuming that the owl could use any tree could severely hurt its chances of survival past the current generation.

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For those who want to work in the outdoors, there are plenty of ecologist jobs that offer the opportunity. Some may work as a park ranger. Others may find opportunities in the educational field showing others about the life in a given environment, conducting school field trips, and ecotours for visitors. Others may work purely in research, or spend their time collecting various samples for laboratory testing. All of these possibilities will involve significant amounts of time outdoors.

Many of those who work in ecologist jobs, work in the field of applied ecology. This is the type of job that focuses on taking the theory and principles taught in the classroom, and applying them to real-world situations. Returning to the example of the owl using a specific tree, a real-world ecologist may count the number of specific tree species to determine the area's suitability for owls. The ecologist could also recommend planting additional trees of that species, or protecting the ones already there.

For those who live near the ocean, or have a passion for aquatic life, aquatic ecology may one of the best ecologist jobs available. These ecologists not only study the interaction of aquatic life, but how that interaction plays a role in the healthy ecology of the land. Aquatic ecology may be done in ocean, lake or river environments, as well as in swamps and wetlands.

In most cases, ecologist jobs are very competitive, and it is often necessary to receive an advanced degree, at least a Master’s degree, to even be considered. Therefore, students should do research into the types of jobs that interest them most, and plan accordingly. While it may be possible to land a job in ecology with a Bachelor’s degree, many may not like the type of work that would lead to, or the relative lack of advancement opportunities.

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