2017 Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
Median Pay: US$59,680
Entry Level: Bachelor's degree
Summary
Zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their ecosystems. They study the physical characteristics of animals, animal behaviors, and the impacts humans have on wildlife and natural habitats.
Duties

Zoologists and wildlife biologists typically do the following:

  • Develop and conduct experimental studies with animals in controlled or natural surroundings
  • Collect biological data and specimens for analysis
  • Study the characteristics of animals, such as their interactions with other species, reproduction, population dynamics, diseases, and movement patterns
  • Analyze the influence that human activity has on wildlife and their natural habitats
  • Research, initiate, and maintain ways of improving breeding programs that support healthy game animals, endangered species, or other wild populations of land or aquatic life
  • Estimate, monitor, and manage wildlife populations and invasive plants and animals
  • Write research papers, reports, and scholarly articles that explain their findings
  • Give presentations on research findings to academics and the general public
  • Develop conservation plans and make recommendations on wildlife conservation and management issues to policymakers and the general public

Zoologists and wildlife biologists perform a variety of scientific tests and experiments. For example, they take blood samples from animals to assess their levels of nutrition, check animals for disease and parasites, and tag animals in order to track them. Although the roles and abilities of zoologists and wildlife biologists often overlap, zoologists typically conduct scientific investigations and basic research on particular types of animals, such as birds or amphibians, whereas wildlife biologists are more likely to study specific ecosystems or animal populations, such as a particular at-risk species. Wildlife biologists also do applied work, such as that involving the conservation and management of wildlife populations.

Zoologists and wildlife biologists use geographic information systems (GIS), modeling software, and other computer programs to estimate wildlife populations and track the movements of animals. They also use these computer programs to forecast the spread of invasive species or diseases, project changes in the availability of habitat, and assess other potential threats to wildlife.

Zoologists and wildlife biologists conduct research for a variety of purposes. For example, many zoologists and wildlife biologists work to increase our knowledge and understanding of wildlife species. Traditionally, many wildlife biologists researched ways to encourage abundant game animal populations in order to increase recreational hunting and tourism. Today, many also work with public officials in conservation efforts that protect species from threats and help animal populations return to and remain at sustainable levels.

Most zoologists and wildlife biologists work on research teams with other scientists and technicians. For example, zoologists and wildlife biologists may work with environmental scientists and hydrologists to monitor water pollution and its effects on fish populations.

Zoologists generally specialize first in either vertebrates or invertebrates and then in specific species. Following are some examples of specialization by species:

  • Cetologists study marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins.
  • Entomologists study insects, such as beetles and butterflies.
  • Herpetologists study reptiles and amphibians, such as snakes and frogs.
  • Ichthyologists study wild fish, such as sharks and lungfish.
  • Mammalogists study mammals, such as monkeys and bears.
  • Ornithologists study birds, such as hawks and penguins.
  • Teuthologists study cephalopods, such as octopuses and cuttlefish.

Some zoologists and wildlife biologists specialize in studying wildlife according to the type of water or land where the wildlife lives. The following are examples of those who specialize by habitat:

  • Limnologists study organisms that live in freshwater.
  • Marine biologists study organisms that live in saltwater.
  • Terrestrial biologists study organisms that live on land, including plants and microbes.

Other zoologists and wildlife biologists are identified by the aspects of zoology and wildlife biology they study, such as evolution and animal behavior. Following are some examples:

  • Botanists study plants, including their growth, diseases, and structures. Agronomists study the particular plant science concerning crop production. For more information on agronomists, see the profile on agricultural and food scientists.
  • Ecologists study ecosystems, which include all relationships between organisms and the surrounding environments.
  • Evolutionary biologists study the origins of species and the changes in their inherited characteristics over generations.

Many people with a zoology and wildlife biology background become high school teachers or college or university professors. For more information, see the profiles on high school teachers and postsecondary teachers.

Biological Science Technician

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
DutiesSummaryThis position is part of the R5-Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. As a Biological Science Technician you will be responsible for assisting with the planning and implementation of tasks associated with the ecology, conservation and population trends for the listing and recovery of...
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Biological Science Technician

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
This position is part of the R5-Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. As a Biological Science Technician you will be responsible for assisting with the planning and implementation of tasks associated with the ecology, conservation and population trends for the listing and recovery of candidate...
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Student Trainee (Biological Sciences)

Type: Part Time
This position is part of the R3-Midwest Fisheries Center. As a Student Trainee (Biological Sciences) you will be responsible for compiling GIS map data to produce maps supporting regional invasive species and fish pathogen monitoring, data management of spatial and non-spatial geographic...
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Seasonal Naturalist Intern

Type: Internship
Under general supervision of the Naturalist, assist in carrying out conservation/environmental education programming for the Johnson County Conservation Board. Provide programs and field trips for a variety of audiences; create and improve displays, write articles, provide public service...
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Wildlife Diversity Intern

Type: Internship
Requisition Id: 358Position Number: HT317942Salary: $14.04/hourJob Location: Prairie Fork Conservation Area, Williamsburg, MOClosing Date: 03/01/2019To learn more about the job, feel free to contact the hiring supervisor- Christopher D Newbold at Chris.Newbold@mdc.mo.gov or at 573 8157901x2870The...
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Environmental Health Intern

Type: Internship
Requisition Id: 352Position Number: HT317946Salary: $14.04/hourJob Location: Central Regional Office & Conservation Research Center, Columbia, MOClosing Date: 03/08/2019To learn more about the job, feel free to contact the hiring supervisor- Rebecca A O'Hearn at Rebecca.Ohearn@mdc.mo.gov...
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Natural Heritage Program Internship

Type: Internship
Requisition Id: 353Position Number: HT317947Salary: 14.04/hourJob Location: Central Office-Jefferson City, MOClosing Date: 03/15/2019To learn more about the job, feel free to contact the hiring supervisor- Malissa L Briggler at Malissa.Briggler@mdc.mo.gov or at 573 5224115x3200DUTIES:Primary job...
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Photography Intern

Type: Internship
Come capture the wild creatures and places of Wyoming through world-class wildlife photography and the written word for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and its conservation magazine during this three- to five-month internship.You'll have the opportunity to spend time pursuing the state...
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Range Technician

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
DutiesSummaryPlease read this job announcement in its entirety.Explore a new career with the BLM - where our people are our greatest natural resource.For additional information about the BLM, please visit Our website .This position is located in the Phoenix District Office, located in Phoenix,...
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Conservation Internship

Type: Internship
Location: GWC Office, Concord, MADepartment: ConservationReports To: Senior ConservationistEmployee Classification: Part-time Volunteer InternEmployment Status: UnpaidOpenings: 1Term: 24 hours/week either Tues-Thur or Wed-Fri from September 4th - Oct 26th (200 hours total; start date non-negotiable...
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HPP Natural Resources & Historic Structures Internship

Type: Internship
Expected DatesJune 15, 2018 to April 26, 2019SiteFort Larned National Historic SitePosition IDPO-00724770BackgroundFort Larned National Historic Site seeks two Student Conservation Association interns through the AmeriCorps Historic Preservation Corps to assist in overlapping historic landscape and...
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Migratory Game Bird Banding Technician - Temporary, Seasonal

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
Full/Part TimeFull-TimeRegular/TemporaryTemporarySalary Range From12.75HourlySalary Range To14.70HourlyLocation: Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), near Killdeer, ND.Salary: $12.75-$14.70/Hour*Closing Date: February 26, 2018 - or until filled.*Free Housing is available at this location. May...
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