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What Does a Biologist Do?

A biologist might study why marsupial mammals, like koalas, branched off from placental mammals.
A type of biologist called a herpetologist studies amphibians, like frogs.
Some biologist, called entomologists, study insects.
Some biologists work in agronomy, studying crops, soil, and the environment.
Biologists may focus on underwater organisms.
An ornithologist (a type of biologist) holding a bird.
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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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Speaking broadly, as someone who has completed college or higher level training in the life sciences, a biologist is equipped to pursue a wide range of careers. This article will take a look at some of the range of vocational choices that a biologist may choose to follow.

In the area of agriculture, a biologist could pursue agronomy, or soil science, studying issues relating to crops, soil, and the environment. Animal science gives the biologist the ability to pursue interests in the dairy industry, horse breeding, or in veterinary medicine.

Aquatic science includes fields like limnology, the study of freshwater systems, as well as marine biology and oceanography. Fisheries biology is also related to this area, as is ichthyology, the study of fish. Marine mammal science focuses on another class of aquatic animals.

Outside of the water animals, we find the other areas commonly grouped under zoology. Entomology, the study of insects, falls into this category, as does, herpetology, the field that focuses on reptiles and amphibians. Mammalogy covers all mammals, aquatic, or terrestrial, and Ornithology addresses the subject of birds. Parasitology, the study of parasites, has importance in medicine, public health, and domestic animal care, as does virology, the study of viruses.

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A biologist can teach in a high school or college, passing on knowledge and understandings to a new generation. Biologists also teach through 4-H clubs and Extensions Services, affiliated with the state universities. A biologist can also work in the education department of a museum, zoo, aquarium, conservatory, arboretum, park, or botanical garden.

Many other fields are open to a biologist as well:

  • Astrobiology is the area that explores the place of life forms in the great universe.
  • Forensic science covers the turf shared by biology and law enforcement.
  • Food science contributes to the development of new food products, as well as food safety.
  • Neurobiology offers the opportunity to study how behavior is generated by the nervous system.

These are only some of the many, many things that a biologist can do.

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Discuss this Article

Telsyst
Post 2

Good point, Glasis. Also, government, university and private grants are available to further biological and medical research.

Glasis
Post 1

College students interested in going on to medical school often pursue undergraduate degrees in biology, microbiology, molecular biology or biochemistry.

Today, genetic and stem cell research and major advances in medicine have opened a whole new world of opportunities for biologists, both in laboratories and in the practice of medicine.

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