If you have a strong interest in studying living organisms, a career in biology could be perfect for you. As a biologist, you can study animals, plants, ecosystems, microbes, or other areas of this field. Learning more about different types of biologists can help you narrow down your options and choose the right career path.
What Is a Biologist?
A biologist is a scientist who studies biological systems, such as wildlife, marine animals, molecules, DNA, or other living organisms. They will start with a science-oriented education, often a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Depending on their career goals, they might also earn advanced degrees in a particular area of biology, such as a master’s degree in environmental science, molecular biology, or zoology.
What Does a Biologist Do?
The job duties of a biologist depend on the field and career they pursue. Some biologists conduct biological research in a laboratory setting. Others spend their time working in the field, such as studying animals or plants in their natural habitat. Biologists might also work as educators in museums, classrooms, or other settings. Some focus on finding ways to effectively handle environmental problems, perhaps rescuing endangered species.
9 Popular Types of Biologists
Biologists have many career paths available. Thinking about your career goals and interests can help you decide what type of biologist you want to be. Here is a quick overview of some of the various specialties available to biologists:
1. Marine Biologist
Marine biologists study wildlife, plants, microbes, or other living organisms found in the ocean. Some focus on a particular marine species, while others study the effects of human behavior on the oceans. Marine biologists can work under different job titles, including fish and wildlife biologist, aquatic biologist, or biological technician. While some work for private institutions, such as aquariums and museums, others work for government agencies. Marine biologists often work outdoors when studying marine life, while others mainly work in labs.
Zoologists are biologists who study wildlife species to learn more about them and their interactions with their habitats. This typically includes studying animal behavior, physical characteristics, and life cycles. Zoologists might also study the effects of human behavior on wildlife species and their ecosystems or habitats. These biologists typically specialize in a certain area of zoology, such as entomology, ornithology, ichthyology, or mammalogy. Some zoologists specialize in a particular area of zoology rather than species type, such as soil zoology, embryology, or ethology.
Microbiologists research tiny living organisms or microorganisms, such as viruses and bacteria. They also study fungi, algae, and other microorganisms to find out more about how they live and how they interact with their surrounding environments. Some microbiologists conduct research involving certain microorganisms to develop new treatments for diseases, while others study microorganisms to develop products, such as genetically modified crops. Microbiologists can specialize in a particular area of microbiology, such as bacteriology, mycology, virology, parasitology, or public health.
4. Molecular Biologist
Molecular biologists study ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from living organisms—animals, humans, or plants. These scientists need to have a strong educational background in biology, as well as genetics, chemistry, physics, and physiology. Molecular biologists focus on studying genetics, such as genetic variations, to engineer crops, find more effective ways to treat medical conditions and diseases, or create new products. Some molecular biologists study genetics to identify or discover environmental pollutants. Working as a molecular biologist usually involves working in a laboratory setting.
5. Conservation Biologist
Conservation biologists study the effects of human activities on the environment and seek to find ways to protect vulnerable habitats and plant and animal species. Some of these biologists focus on studying specific endangered animal or plant species, while others spend their time researching ways to conserve an entire ecosystem or natural habitat. Conservation biologists typically work in the field collecting samples of water, soil, or air, observing animal species, or examining plant species. However, they do spend some of their time working in laboratory settings.
Ecologists are biologists who study the relationships between living organisms and their ecosystem or surrounding environment. Some focus on studying how different species in a particular ecosystem interact, while other ecologists focus on studying the effects of invasive species on native species in an ecosystem. Some ecologists study the effects that occur when a species is removed from an ecosystem. Their research on living organisms and ecosystems leads to a better understanding of environmental issues and identifies ways to solve these problems.
7. Computational Biologist
Computational biologists apply innovative techniques from computer science, mathematics, and statistics to tackle complex problems in the field of biology. By harnessing the power of vast biological data sets and advanced algorithms, they unlock critical insights into a diverse range of areas, such as genetics, drug discovery, and disease modeling. With their unique interdisciplinary background, computational biologists are able to bridge the gap between theoretical and experimental biology, enabling scientists to develop a deeper understanding of biological systems and drive crucial advancements in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and personalized medicine.
Botanists are biologists who study plants, trying to determine things like how plants interact with their environment, the physiological processes of plant life, or the agricultural uses of plants. Some botanists specialize in plant ecology to find ways to save native species of plants in certain environments or decrease the presence of invasive plant species. Other botanists focus on researching crops to improve their resistance to disease, drought, or pests. Botanists can also study the effects of pollution on certain plant species. While some botanists work mostly in laboratories, others work in the field studying plants in their native habitat.
Bioinformaticians combine their expertise in biology, computer science, and mathematics to analyze and manage biological data. They play a crucial role in the cutting-edge world of modern science, as they help unravel the various complexities of biological systems. Bioinformaticians usually achieve this by designing and implementing computational models, algorithms, and tools that can interpret, mine, and store large-scale biological datasets. Their work greatly contributes to our understanding of genetic material, protein structure, biological pathways, and more. Additionally, bioinformaticians often collaborate with researchers, physicians, and other experts in a wide range of fields, shaping new discoveries and breakthroughs in genomics, drug design, personalized medicine, and other areas of scientific research.
Although there are many career paths to consider in biology, you do not need to choose one right away. Focusing on your education first can help you discover which career path would work best for you. If you are thinking about a career in biology, please contact Post University. We offer a Bachelor of Science in Biology that could allow you to develop the knowledge and skills for a career in this field .
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