Zoologists or biological scientists are those qualifying in the study of animals. They observe the wildlife both in their natural habitats and in the lab for learning about the animal life as comprehensively as possible. Not only do they study the origin and development of certain species but also closely research their habits, interactions and behaviors, along with the development of animal diseases.
Most zoologists are employed by government agencies, museums, zoos, universities and colleges, where they get a chance to make a difference in the ecology through conservative work and share their knowledge with students and other researchers.
Duties & Responsibilities
- Developing and conducting experimental studies based on animals in natural or controlled surroundings
- Collecting biological specimens and data for extensive analysis
- Studying the features of animals, like their interactions with other species, diseases, movement patterns, and reproduction
- Estimating, monitoring, and managing wildlife populations, animals and invasive plants
- Assessing the impact of human activity on wildlife and their natural habitats
- Writing research papers, scholarly articles, reports explaining their findings
- Giving presentations on their research findings
- Giving recommendations to the general public and policymakers on wildlife management and conservation issues
- Performing administrative tasks like public relations, fundraising, zoo staff supervision, and budgeting
- Disseminating data for schools, interest groups, clubs, and park interpretive programs
- Overseeing the distribution and care of zoo animals, collaborating with zoo directors to determine the best animal conservative method, maintaining their habitats and also managing their facilities
- Preparing collections of preserved specimens or minuscule slides for the identification of species
- Raising specimens for study purposes or for any other experimental use
- Setting up equipment to collect and monitor pollutants from sites, like smoke stacks, mechanical equipment and manufacturing plants
- Conducting field trips and communicating with the general public by pointing out historic, scientific, and natural features of a park
- Managing new animals and ensuring appropriate territory for all
- Managing all animal details and categorizing them in accordance with their habitat and appearance
- Monitoring all the offspring and assisting development in a controlled environment while ensuring precise experiment drug
- Maintaining and updating computerized documents with the help of mating and group behavior
- Making sure that all animals receive appropriate care and administering all recreational activities
- Collaborating with researchers and also maintaining records for all the animals
- Maintaining samples in lab to carry out research
- Preparing slides to study chemical reactions of different disease tissues and also analyzing under light or in microscope
- Coordinating with zoologists and carrying out experiments based on animals by using different scientific equipment and chemicals
- Ensuring the right preservation method of all animals and fruit flies
- Caring for sick, injured and orphaned wild birds and animals until they stable for research and study
Zoologists require at least a bachelor’s degree. Many schools offer bachelor’s program in zoology or a closely related field like ecology. In addition to the undergraduate degree in zoology, biology coursework also comes in quite handy for a career as a zoologist. For high-level positions, a master’s degree in zoology is necessary.
A PhD will come in most handy if you are looking to go into research or a university position. PhD researchers usually need to be familiar with statistical software and computer programming. The knowledge of computer science is critical because zoologists often use innovative computer software, like modeling software and geographic information systems, to continue their work.
Many zoologists specialize in certain species and thus have high-level coursework in those fields. Some of these specialization areas include entomology, herpetology, ichthyology, mammalogy, and ornithology. Zoology programs assess the evolution, physiology, and ecosystem dynamics of animals. A specialization is usually necessary since it offers such a broad spectrum, and focuses on a particular area of study such as ornithology, or on sub-disciplines like genetics, biochemistry or microbiology.
Besides the basic biological knowledge, students interested in seeking zoology opportunities should also demonstrate their ability to work with a variety of people.
- Good written and oral communication skills
- Ability to work and play as a team member
- Confidence and articulateness are key, due to the hefty workload that solely comes from organizing and preparing presentations, research reports and explaining statistics to the general public and other team members
- A raging interest in living animals and research
- A logical approach to solving problems
- Good observational skills
- Ability to perform work precisely
- Ability and willingness to work both independently and as part of a team
- Ability to apply scientific methods and rules for solving problems
- The ability to find the best solutions, backed by solid reasoning and critical thinking. This is regarding habitat loss, diseases, and other threats to wildlife. Zoologists must be able to combine various informational sources to draw sound conclusions. They must be also able to apply logic to dig the weaknesses and strengths in an idea
- High concentration levels that will help them conduct studies, and the ability to come up with new ideas for solving old problems
- Physical endurance is a key trait that is appreciated greatly in zoologists. Many zoologists spend months and weeks at a time in the field, gathering information and studying animals. Zoologists also typically have to travel to remote locations in order to carry out filed research, which means they should be prepared for every type of environment, climate and the destination itself
- High level of stamina. Because a zoologist’s job comes with high levels of stress and lots of criticism, which can only be dealt with a positive attitude and high mental stamina.
- Reading comprehension. Understanding written paragraphs and sentences in work-related docs.
- Speaking- a zoologist has to constantly interact with students, researchers, fellow researchers and the general public, all of which accentuate the need for good speaking skills.
- Active learning. Understanding the impact of new information for both future and current problem solving and decision-making.
- Ability to instruct. Even if a zoologist is not an instructor at a college or university, there will come a time when he’ll have to guide his peers or people he’s collaborating with. The ability to instruct accurately and clearly is an important.
- Bringing others to agree on something and trying to settle differences.
- Quality control analysis. Carrying out product and services tests and inspections, or processing to evaluate performance or quality.
- Learning and knowing strategies. Choosing and using instructional/training procedures and methods appropriate for the situation when teaching or learning new things.
- Personal resource management. Developing, motivating, guiding people as they work, and selecting the best person for the job.
- Operating monitoring. Watching dials, gauges, or other indicators to ensure a machine is in its best shape.
- Social perceptiveness. Being aware of others’ emotions and reactions and understanding the reason behind their actions.
- Assessing performance of your own, that of others, or the whole organization to make adjustments and apply solutions.
- Ability to actively listen. Giving full attention to what others are saying is important. Similarly, taking out the time to really understand the solutions given and points made, asking appropriate questions, and not interrupting at the wrong times.
- Ability to persuade others so that they change their behavior or minds.
- Time-management. Properly managing one’s own time and that of others.
- Being able to work with others without causing too much friction or disagreements.
- Service orientation. The desire to always help people who really need it.
- Clerical knowledge and skill. Knowledge of clerical and administrative systems and procedures for providing personal and customer services. These include meeting the standards of quality, assessment of customers’ needs, and analysis of overall customer satisfaction.
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A zoologist’s average workday is usually about 8 hours (9 to 5), Monday to Friday. However, some companies or some events may require the work to be done on the weekend, especially research related activities. Majority of zoologists work in a lab or office, but may also be asked to work with the animals in their natural habitat or where they are sheltered , for instance, in a zoo.
Zoologists earn between $1500 and $2000 per week on an average, which translates to $78,000 and $104,000 per year. However, this figure will largely be dependent on the organization that they work for, their skills, qualification and years’ worth of experience. As a zoologist polishes and develops their skills, their potential to earn more typically increases.
Technologies and Tools
Zoologists may use technologies associated with the specific specialization that they are involved with. For instance, ichthyologists may need to have some level of skill and proficiency at scuba diving. The bottom-line is that they should be able to conduct experiments, usually in a lab, to complete the research procedure.