Ecologists are concerned with ecosystems as a whole, the abundance and distribution of organisms (people, plants, animals), and the relationships between organisms and their environment. Ecologists usually choose a specialist area (e.g. freshwater, marine, terrestrial, fauna, flora) and then carry out a range of tasks relating to that area.
What responsibilities will I have?
- Conduct field surveys to collect information about the numbers and distribution of organisms
- Classifying organisms
- Apply sampling strategies and employ a range of habitat survey techniques, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), aerial photography, records and maps
- Carry out environmental impact assessments
- Analyze and interpret data, using specialist software program
- Habitat management and creation
- Write reports and issue recommendations
- Liaise with and advising site managers, engineers, planners and others associated with a survey
- Build relationships with stakeholders, including members of the public
- Carry out research
- Undertake teaching in schools or in field centers
- Keep up to date with new environmental policies and legislation
- Contribute ideas about changes to policy and legislation, based on ecological findings
What education and training is required?
A bachelor’s degree in a biological science or environmental subject. Specializations and minors need to be pursued in ecology. Some employers look for candidates with postgraduate qualifications, particularly for work requiring specialist knowledge.
To pursue a career as an Ecologist:
The following high school courses are recommended: environmental science, biology, chemistry.
Nature conservatories, government regulators, scientific bodies and non-profits.
Future Job Market/Outlook:
The future outlook for all environmental science careers is projected to grow 15% from 2012 to 2022, a higher rate as the average for all occupations.
Suggested Professional Organizations and Associations:
- Ecological Society of America
- The International Association for Ecology
- Ecological Farming Association
- Association for AgriCulture and Ecology (international only)