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A biologist is a scientist who studies life, specifically organisms and their relationship to their environment. Generally speaking, biologists study humans, animals and bacteria to gain a better understanding of how the body works and how external factors influence each organism.
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A biologist will use basic methods of research to gather data, in order to prove or disprove theories about how organisms work, as well as to help find advancement in medicine. They do work with agriculture, developing new fruits and vegetables less susceptible to nuisances and pests, and make other agricultural improvements. Biological scientists can also work to help improve some industrial processes.
There are many types of biologists but the two main subsections in the science are macroscopic and microscopic. Macroscopic biology involves objects that are measurable and visible by the naked eye. Microscopic biology on the other hand requires microscopes to view the objects being studied. Most biologists engage in both types of research at one point or another, so it might be more important to classify biologists by their topic of specialization.
In most cases, a Ph.D is required to conduct independent research which is usually on a specialized topic of biology. Some of the basic research that is conducted involves studying bacteria and other infectious organisms for the purpose of understanding ways to develop improvements in the treatment and prevention of human health problems.
Being a biologist takes a dedication to a particular subject. Many biologists, depending on their choice of field, spend most of their lives studying one thing. Aside from dedication and years of schooling, being a biologist requires some flexibility in life. While it is very possible to work a normal 40 hour work week, it is also common to have to frequently work more than 40 hours. Those involved in the nature fields (zoology, botany, ecology) have to be prepared to spend days, weeks or months living in primitive conditions in order to gather the research required to complete their study.
A graduate degree in biological sciences gives students a broad base of knowledge in the life sciences. The discipline also offers many specialties, such as cell or molecular biology. These are the best schools for biological sciences.
Learn about steps you can take to become a biologist, including degree programs and specialization options.
Most biologists are employed by the government, a university or a private industry laboratory. Many biologists at universities are also professors, so they spend part of their time teaching students research methods, assisting with the development of the students' projects, as well as work on their own projects.
Biological scientists employed in the private industry and by the government are able to focus more on their projects and those assigned by their superiors. Some examples of biologists likely to be working in private industry are zoologists and ecologists, who could be employed by zoos and environmental agencies.
As for the physical workplace, depending on the type of biology, the scientist could spend all of their time in the lab, or most of their time in the field. Botanists, ecologists, and zoologists, for example, spend a lot of their time in the field, studying plants and animals in various climates and habitats while often living in primitive conditions. Marine biologists could spend a lot of time on or in the water.
In general, most biological scientists do not experience much in the way of dangerous situations. Those studying dangerous or toxic organisms have a series of special precautions they take to prevent contamination and any possibility of spreading the virus or bacteria.
Far from being a science restricted to universities and laboratories, the principles and findings of biological sciences have uses in everyday life.
Regardless of the area of specialization, in modern biology full understanding of a process requires integrating studies at many levels of organization: populations, individual organisms, organ systems, cells, and molecules. Accordingly, the day-to-day activities involve a variety of activities.
What does a scientist actually do on a daily basis? A question with too many answers because it depends on their area of science and the research aims, but I thought I’d give a brief description of some of the things I get up to in the lab.
Careers in biology can be of many different types. The following list attempts to name and define the major possibilities for careers.
Embarking on a career in biology has many paths; each with its own rewards and challenges. Which path you take will have as much to do with your personality as it does your intellectual curiosity and interests.
There are limited openings for biological scientists and the pay is not great. My standard advice to those considering the field is this: you should consider biology as a career ONLY if you truly have passion for it.