Biologists study living organisms such as plants and animals. Biologists may choose to focus on the behavior, evolution, living habits, or habitats of plants and animals. Most biologists work in some aspect of research and development. Research may involve, for example, seeking treatments for human health problems or addressing an ecological issue.
Most biologists choose to specialize in a field such a aquatic biology, marine biology, biochemistry, botany, microbiology, physiologist, zoology, or ecology. A medical scientist is another type of biological scientist, one who focuses on biomedical research. Some of the equipment used by biologists may be quite sophisticated. For example, electron microscopes are commonly used to study microscopic organisms. Biologists may publish their findings in scientific journals or present papers at meetings and conferences.
Education and Training
In the U.S., biologists may need the following education and training:
On the Job
- a bachelor's degree in biology is the minimum requirement for most entry-level positions
- a master's or Ph.D. in biology is usually required for research or teaching at the college level
Many biologists work in office or laboratory settings during standard office hours. Some types of biologists such as ecologists or zoologists may spend extended periods of time away from home during periods of observation and research. When conducting fieldwork, biologists sometimes experience harsh weather conditions. Biologists must be able to work independently as well as in a team environment.
Math on the Job
Biologists may analyze large amounts of data, create mathematical models, and draw conclusions based on careful research. Mathematical models may be used for purposes such as determining the population size and growth of a species or population that is being studied. A knowledge of statistics is especially useful.