Category: zoology

Job Description and Responsibilities of a Zoologist

Introduction to Zoology as a Career

A famous scientific joke goes, “What do biologists do on Wall Street? They buy and “cell.” Well, in real life, biologists, particularly those concerned with environmental biology or zoology, do a lot of interesting things.

A zoology career can be a very interesting one since it involves discoveries and new things all the time, however, it can be a very challenging one.

Regardless of what specialized job description one might choose within zoology, such as a zoo keeper job description, a zoo curator job description, or even a botanist job description, the zoologist career requires the core attribute of a love for animals and the environment. Let’s explore the individual specializations that one can enjoy through a zoology education.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Zoologist

 

  • Specialty in the study of the science of animals.
  • Studying and analyzing behavior, nature and feeding habits of different animals.
  • Writing books on different types of animals
  • Researching and teaching animal behavior in colleges and universities.
  • Specializing in the study of a particular group of animal depending on their choice.
  • Working in laboratories in order to study the cell, its structural components of different animals.
  • Wildlife management.
  • Conservation of the endangered animals.
  • Working in close collaboration with other professionals, associated with other fields of life sciences like biologists, physiologists etc.

 

Salary and Benefits of Zoologists

Salary and benefits incurred by zoologists depend on the type of educational qualifications of the candidates and the number of years of experience they have. The location of the job can also be a decisive factor in the zoologist salary range.

As in most of the other fields, the salary for the master’s and doctorate degree holders is more that that earned by bachelor’s degree holders. Professionals working in the research and development department can earn handsome salaries in this field. In the initial stages of the career, one can earn about USD 30,000 per year.

After five to seven years of work experience, this number can surpass the USD 50,000 per year mark. After gaining more than ten years experience in the industry, you can earn more than USD 75,000 per year.

Diversification Within Zoology Field

Hence, with so many job descriptions within the broader zoologist job description, the zoologist salary can be quite a lucrative one in the longer run. Not only is it a good way to advance your own career, but it’s also a great way to make this world a better place for everyone.

Zoo Keeper or Curator

Nature of Work and Job Responsibilities

Typically, a zoo curator provides for the day-to-day management of the animal collection and the operation of physical plant collections of a zoological park.

In addition to contributing to the overall development of the park, he also communicates with other zoos, conservation organizations and government agencies, local and federal.

Skills and Knowledge Required for a Zoo Curator or Keeper

In terms of skills and knowledge, a zoo curator needs to possess strong people-management skills, since he often interacts with large numbers of people. Furthermore, because large collections of animals are under supervision of the zoo curator, the incumbent must be able to make use of modern applications such as the Animal Record Keeping System (ARKS) in addition to word-processing and email.

Finally, part of the core duties of a zoo curator is the ability to make decision concerning animal husbandry standards and coordinate veterinary activities.

Wildlife Biologist

Nature of Work and Job Responsibilities of a Wildlife Biologist

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a wildlife biologist is a scientist who studies wild animals and their habitats. The wildlife biologist job description entails researching, reviewing data and studying samples in laboratories.

Wildlife biologists also work in the field, observing animals in their natural environments. Tools used by zoologists in this field include items of concern to biology, chemistry, animal physiology and ecology.

Career Opportunities for Wildlife Biologists

Typically, wildlife biologists are employed by organizations such as the US Geological Survey or USDA Forest Service, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 19,500 zoologists and wildlife biologists were employed in the United States in 2008.

That number is projected to increase to 22,000 by 2018. For those with research-oriented personalities, this is a great zoologist job description.

Environmental Consultant

Nature of Work and Job Responsibilities of an Environmental Consultant

In the broader zoologist job description portfolio, the environmental consultant job is somewhat mainstream in orientation.  An environmental consultant works on commercial or government contracts to address a variety of environmental issues.

This entails a wide dimension of activities such as assessment of air, land and water contamination, environmental impact assessment, environmental audit, waste management and the development of environmental policy and environmental management systems.

Educational Requirements

Even if it seems that this might not be something of a typical zoologist job description, it does have typical zoologist education requirements, particularly the disciplines that teach you to learn more about the environment and its functions.

Marine/Aquatic Biologist

Nature of Work and Job Responsibilities of Marine/Aquatic Biologist

Marine science is a vast field, which includes marine biology, geology, coastal science, zoology and oceanography. Marine biology is the study of living organisms inhabiting the, oceans as well as other sources of water.

Traditionally, the marine biologist job description entails research of the sea, its life forms and their interaction with land, atmosphere and the ocean floor. It includes researching and analyzing some of the diverse, and interesting, aspects of ocean life, such as marine plant and animal life, ocean currents and its effect on life forms, rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals as well as preservation of the marine environment etc.

Such data is then handed over to the regulating bodies to take required measures to preserve marine environment. A marine biologist can indulge in various activities ranging from office or laboratory work to field based assignments.

Ornithologist

Job Nature of an Ornithologist

The ornithologist job description is concerned primarily with birds and their ecosystems. Ornithologists work in a variety of roles involving study of the behavior, ecology, classification, physiology and conservation of birds, and are employed by organizations such as wildlife trusts, private organizations, regional park authorities, nature reserves etc.

Career Opportunities for Ornithologists

Ornithologists are employed by a variety of organizations, including wildlife trusts, private organizations, regional park authorities, nature reserves, ringing stations or observatories. Usually, they spend their time outdoors.

Ecologist

Job Nature of an Ecologist

The ecologist job description entails studying ecosystems e.g. 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 wide range of tasks relating to that area.

Work Responsibilities of Ecologists

Their work includes duties such as conducting field surveys to collect information about the numbers and distribution of organisms, carrying out environmental impact assessments, habitat management etc.


Information and General Facts About Zoology

Understanding Zoology as an Educational Field and Career Path

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, zoology is defined as,

“The branch of biology concerned with the classification, properties and vital phenomena of animals.”

Easily put, it is that division of biology that deals with everything related to animals, whether it is something as small as animal cells & embryology, or as vast and major as the actual classification of animals into categories. Since the discipline extends to a broad base of topics, it is almost impossible for people with careers in zoology to become the “jack of all trades.”

A famous joke amongst life-scientists goes,

“What is the favored means of communication among biologists?

The answer, a “cell” phone.

The broad spectrum of biological life-science disciplines covers the core subject of zoology as well. So, what exactly is zoology? Watching National Geographic or the Discovery Channel, you might have seen a deep-sea diver saying the words “marine biology”, or a guy with a safari-orientation watching an animal and mentioning things like, “ecology”, “geology” or “botany” and “ecology.”

That’s because at the end of the day, all these have something to do with the core of zoology information.

Facts, Information and a General Overview About Zoology

Exploring the Science and Its Subs

Implying, that just like the world of medical science, the subject of zoology is also divided amongst key research areas allowing for specialization amongst zoologists. However, the most critical attribute of a zoologist, regardless of the specialization, is a love for animals.

Whilst there are quite a few zoology schools relating to wildlife education, and the zoology salary can be quite handsome at times, it is almost impossible that someone without an innate interest in animals can progress in this field. To attain a bit more zoology information, it is important to have an overview of the individual sub-sections.

Cell & Its Structure, the Basic Building Matter

Thomas R. Cech, the famous bio-scientist, said it quite well. “Because all of biology is connected, one can often make a breakthrough with an organism that exaggerates a particular phenomenon, and later explore the generality.” The gist of the quote is that everything starts with the basic building-block of the cell. Hence, a huge sub-section of zoology is dedicated to the molecular and genetic bases of development.

How do cells behave in their environment and their interactions with other genetic elements in the ecosystem. The functionality of this science often determines the causes of epidemics amongst animals and helps develop vaccines to tackle those problems.

You might often hear things in the news such as “XYZ country beef exports to the European Union rejected.” That’s because the animals picked up a disease and cell biology allows for the proper vaccine to be developed. Typically cell biology in zoology might concern with topics like animal DNA, metabolism, movement of molecules into and out of cells etc.

Physiology: How Does the Nature Machine Work?

Physiology sheds light on how the individual animal species function as a whole, by probing their mechanical, physical, and biochemical processes. Topics might include the nervous system of animals, the respiratory network and circulatory systems, how do they interact and function together? In essence, the electrical and chemical systems in animal bodies.

How do they intertwine to keep the mammal healthy and going. Traditionally, the work is specialized into the types of animal species. For example, whilst some zoologists focus on aquatic life eg. Cardiorespiratory dynamics in fishes etc. Some might focus on other species of animals.

The most obvious impact of such zoology information is the development of advanced biomaterials that can be used to help animals in ways such as medical implants, tissue repair, robotic and kinetic applications etc.

Behavioral Ecology: Why do Animals Act the Way They Do?

In scientific jargon, it is the study of the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behavior, and the roles of behavior in enabling the animal to adapt to its environment. An example should simplify it. There’s quite a few species of birds that stay some places in the summers whilst they might migrate to other places in the winter.

Well, why do they do that? Similarly, southwest of the Yukon near Vancouver in Canada, zoological scientists have tried to study that why, every 3-4 years, vole and lemming populations reach a peak and then decline. Both of these belong to the mouse family. In case you think you’ve never seen a vole before, the famous kid’s storybook, “Wind in the Willows” has a vole called Ratty. So, such behavioral stuff forms another core segment of zoology.

Evolutionary: From “What It Was” to “What It’s Become”?

As the name suggests, this sub-section of zoology focuses on origin and descent of species, their change overtime etc. Because of the broad nature of this as well, such zoology information is usually dissected into focus areas such as mammalogy dealing with all sorts of mammals, ornithology dealing with birds, and herpetology dealing with amphibians, reptiles etc.

Interestingly, because the evolutionary nature of animals varies according to regions, people have not only specialized in this field but also in areas, eg. Studying evolutionary movements across species only in the African Savannah.

So, What About The Guy in the Zoo?

One might think that if zoology is really such a specialized field, is that guy standing near the bear cage in the local zoo just another high-school dropout? Not really. Even to deal with animals in the local zoo, if not the vast jungles of Africa, one needs to study zoology and wildlife management.

If an animal at the local zoo has become sick, the gamekeeper needs to possess the core knowledge to decipher what might be wrong with the animal given the signs and symptoms. That is where the specialized knowledge comes in.

The core application of zoology is always at wildlife parks or aquariums, when managing animals on display, zoo curators who are actually responsible for acquiring the animals or even conservationist work restricted to a specific regional ecosystem. And, if you’re extremely lucky, you might just end up holding an alligator up for Discovery Channel enthusiasts all over the world!


Colleges Offering Zoology Degrees

Degrees in Zoology Offered by Best Colleges and Universities

The rate with which sciences have progressed over the last century has been phenomenal. Whether its electrical sciences or natural sciences, the options flood has been non-stop for educators, students, enthusiasts, researchers etc.

One of these sciences is zoology, part of the bio/life sciences genre. With a host of universities offering zoology degrees, both, private and state university offering zoology degrees, which ones make it to the upper tier and are the optimum choices? The Gourman Report, a prestigious ranking of the high-standard colleges across educational disciplines, makes it easier.

Select List of Best Colleges Offering Zoology Degrees

  • University of Hawaii
  • UC San Diego
  • California State Long Beach
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Washington
  • Oregon State University (OSU)
  • University of Florida

Texas A & M

One recognized university offering zoology degrees is Texas A & M. The TAMU Department of Biology is responsible for introducing biological foundations to students by providing modern and comprehensive B.S. and B.A. curricula in Biology, Molecular and Cell Biology, Microbiology and Zoology, for more than 1500 undergraduate biology majors.

These degrees prepare students for various life science careers and are also an excellent gateway to the health care profession. Core topics such as Biology, including Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Neurobiology and Behavior, Microbiology, Plant Biology, are covered.

Research Facilities Offered

One of the reasons that TAMU is one of the best colleges for zoology degrees is because of state-of-the-art research facilities. With a complete Gene Technologies lab, a separate Aquatic Animal Research facility & Microscopy Center, it makes up a complete zoology experience.

SUNY-College of Environmental Science & Forestry

Another one of the colleges giving zoology degrees is the State University of New York. Also a contender in the Gourman Report, SUNY offers a B.S. in Wildlife Science that is ideal for high-level jobs in the biological profession.

Research and teaching in wildlife science began at SUNY in 1914, one of the first such programs in America, and was quickly followed by establishment of the Roosevelt Wild Life Station in 1919. Hence, it is one of the pioneers of colleges providing zoology degrees.

Job Market Strength

One of the greatest strengths of the program is the job market focus towards its graduates. Students have been known to find careers with state and federal agencies as well as an array of domestic and international non-governmental organizations.

Diverse job opportunities include management of wildlife on state, federal or private lands; inventory and assessment of wildlife populations and associated habitats etc.

Oregon State University

The OSU Zoology Department is credited for creating the Oregon State Anthropod Collection, the world’s largest repository of Pacific Northwest insects. Additionally, the program has a unique educational model with 25 faculty, approx. 180 undergraduate majors, and nearly 70 graduate students and post-doctorates.

Innovation and Facilities

The on-campus structure of educational facilities pertaining to biological life-sciences is inter-connected, which makes it very enthusiastic for a passionate student to literally “live in the world of sciences.”

For example, the Botany and Biology facilities are linked to the Agricultural and Life Sciences Building, as well as other life-science departments such as Biochemistry and Biophysics, Horticulture, Microbiology, and Fisheries and Wildlife.

Specialist Research

If you are a bird enthusiast and seek to specialize in this area of zoology, the Malheur Field Station research facility is excellent for you. The Malheur Field Station is a nonprofit education and research center dedicated to lifelong learning in and about the northern Great Basin region, and since the area has a lot to do with birds, most programs and activities are scheduled around the science of ornithology.

For example, earlier this summer, an activity was constructed around studying the life-zones of south-east Oregon, as well as its blooms, butterflies and birds.

University of California-Riverside

Part of the University of California family, the Biology department at the Riverside campus is a multi-departmental unit dedicated to instruction and basic research in the Physical and Life Sciences. The Biology major is a popular undergrad major on the UC Riverside campus, containing approximately 1000 students.

The University also provides much of the undergraduate instruction for majors in other life science departments such as Biomedical Sciences, Plant Sciences, Biochemistry, Entomology, including a new program in Conservation Biology.

Culture of Improvement

One of the most key features of Riverside’s program is the culture of constant information dissemination. A series of weekly seminars on a separate area of animal life-sciences is hosted, adding to the wealth of knowledge available.


Definition and Importance of Zoology

Defining the Discipline of Zoology

When probing into the definition of Zoology, one would instinctively be tempted to pick up a dictionary or an encyclopedia and jump right to the letter ‘Z’. So for those curious souls, let us check out a dictionary definition of Zoology. One off the finer definition that delivers the importance of Zoology in a well-structured manner does so with the following words:

That part of biology which relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct.

Other decent explanations of the study of Zoology stating the definition in simpler verbiage:

The study of the properties & characteristics of an animal breed, species or group within a particular region or area

OR

The offshoot of biological sciences that pertains to the examination, development, anatomy, physiology, breeding patterns, classification, habitat/living preferences of animals as individuals & in their communities (groups)

Main Branches or Divisions of Zoology

Delving slightly a little more deep into the science, by evaluating it through information and facts let us touch upon the various divisions of Zoology which will enable the reader to gain a better understanding of the definition of Zoology.

Over the years, Zoologists have worked effortlessly to unearth so many differences within the same breed of a particular animal group that we now have a whole list of species and also sub-species available for studying.

  • An aspiring zoology professional can study extinct animals by specializing in Paleozoology.
  • Similarly, Ornithology opens the doors to the kingdom of birds.
  • The world of snakes and spiders can be observed & explored through Herpetology and Arachnology respectively.
  • Fish remain no mysterious creatures after diving into Ichthyology; with the option of further concentration on dolphins & whales through Cetology.

One of the most liveliest of career paths, the pursuit of zoology  as a career will take you to parts & corners of the world you didn’t even think existed before!