Ecologists look at relationships in the natural world; studying how animals, plants and humans interact with each other in the environment.
When starting out, ecologists often conduct surveys to identify, record and monitor species and their habitats. With career progression, work is likely to become more wide-ranging, with senior ecologists getting more involved in policy and management work.
Ecologists usually choose to work in a specialist area such as: flora - studying plants and flowers; freshwater - studying the river and lake plants and creatures; marine - studying sea plants and creatures; or fauna - studying animals in the environment. They then carry out a range of tasks relating to that area. In general their day-to-day tasks may include:
- carrying out fieldwork - surveying and recording information on plants, animals, environmental conditions and biodiversity
- researching the impact of human activity, like housing and intensive agriculture, on the environment
- building computer models to predict the effects of development or climate change
- managing wildlife conservation areas, woodland and meadows
- assessing planning proposals, and making recommendations on sustainable land use for local authorities, government departments and companies.
- Analytical or scientific software: e.g. Ecological risk assessment software, Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment EIO-LCA
- Computer aided design CAD software: e.g. Autodesk AutoCAD
- Document management software: e.g. Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Graphics or photo imaging software: e.g. Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Visio
- Map creation software: e.g. ESRI ArcGIS
- Office suite software: e.g. Apple iWork, Corel Office Suite, Google Drive, LibreOffice, Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org
- 15,130 ecologists are employed in the UK.
- New job opportunities are very likely in the future.
- Green jobs have created this new and emerging type of work that wasn't around before.
- In the Field
- Weekends & Public Holidays
Compare with the paid time worked by full-time employees in the UK.
Compare with the pay, excluding overtime, for full-time employees across the UK.
Route to Employment
Volunteering is a great way to get experience and may improve your chances of finding work. You can also build up contacts within conservation, which will be useful when looking for jobs. You can find volunteering opportunities with: the Conservation Volunteers, National Trust or the Wildlife Trusts.
Popular Degree Subjects
The most common degree subjects to be a Ecologist
Work Styles Needed
Work Styles Key: