Are you interested in a career in Ecology? This is a document that describes what it means to have a career in ecology. It explains what ecology is and goes over the basic information a person will need when making the decision to pursue a career in ecology, such as what an ecologist actually does. There is a section regarding the average salary that a specialist in the field of ecology can expect to receive. There is also a section explaining the educational requirements that are needed in order to become an ecologist be profession. There is even some information regarding the typical lifestyle of a professional ecologist that compares an ecologist who works the out in the field, gathering information for research, with a professor of ecology, as their position requires more lectures and presentation and less actual field work. This document is informative and would be useful for anyone interested in a career in ecology.
A Career in Ecology By Clay M. DeLong Photo: Clay DeLong What is Ecology? Photo: Clay DeLong Ecology is a branch of biology that deals with living organisms and their relationships with their environments. It is a discipline science which requires knowledge of various focuses of biology in addition to chemistry, physics, geology, hydrology, geography, and genetics among others. What Does an Ecologist Do? Ecologists work for universities, federal, state and local governments, environmental consulting firms, non-governmental conservation organizations (Like the Nature Conservancy), and numerous other entities. Ecologists, especially those working for universities, conduct research outdoors in populated and remote areas all over the world. In addition to field work, ecologists also work in the lab, analyzing samples collected on site. However, not all ecologists are in the research field. Many are involved in biological monitoring, environmental consulting, habitat restoration, and a myriad of other types of work. Others are focused more with the policy aspects of ecology, working with government agencies to protect and improve habitat, as well UC Davis ecologists remove invasive plants from the Cosumnes as managing natural resources. River Preserve. Photo: Joshua Viers Education Requirements: Though there are many ecology-based jobs open to those with a bachelor’s degree, having a PhD drastically increases the number and variety of positions open to an ecologist. Having a PhD will also increase the salary of an ecologist in many positions. Internships and experience in the field and lab are also invaluable when finding a job as an ecologist. UC Davis evolutionary ecology professor Maureeen Stanton does field work with one of her undergraduate students. Photo: Job Security: Debbie Aldridge/UC Davis The demand for ecologists today is ever-growing. With increasing public awareness of environmental issues, funding for ecological research programs is increasing at an encouraging rate. Considering this increasing demand for ecologists, job security for ecologists is quite high. Salary: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for ecologists working for the federal government is $66,000. Those working in management, scientific, and technical consulting services, local and state governments, and architectural, engineering, and related services earn on average about $45,000. Generally, positions for those with higher level degrees are more lucrative. Entrepreneurs, such as those who found their own environmental consulting firm can earn significantly more. Lifestyle: Lifestyles for ecologists vary a great deal. Since there are so many different directions a background in ecology can take a person, ecologists are able to create their careers around their desired lifestyles. It is common for ecologists to travel a great deal, especially those who conduct field research, but professors, lecturers and government officials may not need to travel as much. In some positions, namely on the research side, hours can be long and work may be physically and mentally demanding. However, it is quite possible to work normal eight-hour days or less. Conclusions: Ecologists, while perhaps not the most glamorous or well-paid people in the world, are generally very passionate about their work and enjoy it thoroughly. If you care about the environment, and are looking for a job that you feel is important and interesting, a career in ecology might be the right choice for you. Methodology: All information used in this poster was gathered through internet research, interviews and lectures by UC Davis professors, and conversations with a family friend working for a San Diego environmental consulting firm. UCSB graduate student studies a core Acknowledgments: sample in a marsh looking for invertebrates. Photo: Todd Huspeni, UCSB Thanks to Kari Veblen, Christina Liang, Dr. Joshua Viers, Damon Owen, David Bunn, and Kenny Walker. Without you, I would not have known where to begin with this project, nor would I be so confident that I want my career to be in ecology. Thank you. References: 1) http://www.princetonreview.com/grad/research/programProfiles/salariescareers.asp?programid=110 2) http://www.esa.org/teaching_learning/webDocs/undergraduate.php 3) http://kestrel.ucdavis.edu/esp/course/view.php?id=2
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