What Does A Zoologist Do?
Zoologists are professionals who focus on studying animals in various environments and their behavior. They generally love working with animals and prefer working in the outdoors where most of their work takes place. There are those who also work in laboratories or teach in schools. As a branch of biology, zoologists may hold an undergraduate degree in biology or zoology or related fields like biology. Zoologists who perform research and teach at the university level typically hold a PhD degree.
Zoologists who work in zoos are responsible for observing the condition of animals and directly caring for them. They may also come up with educational resources that would enlighten zoo visitors about animals and their habitats. They are also in charge of coming up with programs that the zoo staff can implement to engage visitors and make their zoo visit worthwhile.
For zoologists who work in wildlife reserves, the work involves studying the behavior of the animals and keeping track of their numbers as they move about their natural environment. Some of these zoologists opt to study only a certain group of animals. For example, they may be interested only in mammals, reptiles, fish or birds. Others aren’t interested in the type of animals they study but are more concerned with animal behavior in general. There are also zoologists who look at the effect of the environment on animals.
Some zoologists also scrutinize animal anatomy in detail and compare this with that of other animals. Paleozoologists are interested at studying extinct animals and the reasons why they have become extinct. The work of these zoologists often provides insight into how endangered species can best be protected. Cryptozoologists are concerned with closely looking at animals that were once thought to be extinct but are later discovered to still be in existence. Some zoologists are keen on finding out how animals have evolved over time in the field of evolutionary biology.
Zoologists who do research also perform experiments concerning animals either in the laboratory or in their natural surroundings. Their experiments will usually entail the gathering of specimens and other types of biological data. They may track the movement of these animals by tagging them. Depending on the focus of their investigations, they may look at how animals interact with other species, their diseases and reproductive habits, among others. They record their results and write research papers detailing their findings. Their findings are usually presented to the general public or to students in universities or written in a book or made into a documentary film.
An important part of the work of zoologists who do independent research is raising funds for their endeavor. They may have to apply for grants and engage in grant writing to be able to convince potential sponsors of the worthiness of their projects. Some sponsors who agree to finance a zoologist’s research will also require them to submit reports about the progress of their projects on a regular basis. If this is the case, the zoologist will have to devote time in preparing financial statements, progress reports and other documents that are required by the sponsor so that funding can continue.
Since zoologists are often concerned with conservation efforts, they also work on helping develop public policies. Through their research, they can make sound recommendations to government agencies regarding the conservation and management of wildlife. Their expertise enables them to point out possible threats to wildlife and their habitats. In cases where certain species have invaded a particular territory, zoologists provide crucial advice on the steps that can be taken to curb their population back to normal levels.
Zoologists also work with other scientists in various projects. For instance, environmental management efforts of animal populations entail the collaboration of different experts to develop comprehensive solutions on certain issues. For example, environmental scientists and hydrologists work together with zoologists to find out the effects of water pollution on certain populations of fish.
In their work, zoologists are expected to learn how to use technology to their advantage. These include geographic information systems (GIS) and software programs that have the ability to monitor animal populations and determine their movements. Some of these programs can also predict how and where invasive species will spread or what habitats are going to be available for certain animals as human activities continue to encroach on their territories.
Career Spotlight: Zoologist
If animals and wildlife, their behavior and the ecosystems where they live in fascinate you, then a career as a zoologist could be something you will enjoy. In this profession, you will have the oppor[...]