What Does an Ecologist Do?

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Ecologists study the relationships between living things and their environment, according to the National Careers Service. The scope of their work includes performing fieldwork, researching the impact of human activities and monitoring pollution incidents, among others.

Ecologists often specialize in a specific type of environment, such as marine or coastal areas, according to the National Careers Service. They survey and record information on plants, animals and environmental conditions; determine how human activities, like intensive agriculture and housing, affect the environment; build computer models to predict climate change and developmental effects; test samples to investigate certain issues; and prepare reports and present research findings at conferences. Furthermore, ecologists help manage wildlife conservation areas and advise on legal regulations, such as laws on endangered species. They also support and organize environment-related school education programs. They perform office, laboratory-based and field-based activities.

The website Prospects explains that new ecologists typically conduct surveys to identify, monitor and record species and habitats. Senior ecologists are more involved in management and policy activities. It is necessary for them to know about environmental policies, as their work involves complying with environmental legislation. Based on ecological findings, ecologists contribute ideas regarding changes to policy and legislation. They also undertake teaching in schools and field centers.