What is a Mammalogist?

A Mammalogist is a specialized type of Scientist. Also known as: Marine Mammalogist, Mammal Biologist, Mammal Scientist.

A mammalogist is a scientist who only studies the branch of biology that deals with mammals. They study the mammals' natural history, taxonomy and systematics, their anatomy and physiology, as well as their behaviour, environment, actions, breeding and all around surroundings to gather any kind of information they can about a particular mammal. There are over 4,000 species of living mammals and many extinct species that a mammalogist could study.

What does a Mammalogist do?

A mammalogist is a scientist who studies mammals and their natural history, taxonomy and systematics, their anatomy and physiology, as well as their behaviour, environment, actions, breeding and all around surroundings in order to gather information.

The study of mammals is incredibly diverse, and a mammalogist has many branches to choose from. The major subdivisions of mammalogy include: 

Taxonomy & Systematics
- the study of the classification of animals and their biological relationship to extinct animals 

Natural History
- the study of a mammal’s habitat, natural predators, social structure, and reproductive states 

Anatomy & Physiology
- the study of the body and functions of mammal bodies 

Ecology
- the study of how mammals interact and adapt to their environments

Ethology
- the study of mammal behaviour and how that affects their reproduction and ability to survive

Management & Control
- the study of how mammals and humans co-exist together

A mammalogist might specialize in one of these areas or they may combine aspects from two or more areas. Many scientists who study mammals do not consider themselves mammalogists, but rather as specials in ethology or physiology and happen to specialize in the study of animals.

There are a number of different places where a mammalogist can work. Colleges and universities employ mammalogist teachers and professors that can teach biology or zoology courses and conduct research. University mammalogists often direct a staff or lab of technicians that help in their laboratories. Besides conducting research, mammalogists may also write proposals for granting agencies, manage personnel, and write results of lab research.

Federal agencies employ mammalogists for a variety of work; they may be employed as ecologists, biologists, geneticists, physiologists, and husbanders. The type of agencies that hire these mammalogists might be the Public Health Service, National Park, Food and Drug Administration, and Department of Agriculture. 

Mammalogists that work for State Fish and Game Agencies have direct interaction with wild mammals, as much of their work has them out in the field. Mammalogists also work in museums where they work as curators. Their duties include preparation, acquisition, identification, and the cataloging of specimens so materials are available for researchers. There are also several hundred zoo positions across the US that are filled by people trained in mammalogy.

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What is the workplace of a Mammalogist like?

Mammalogists work in a variety of settings including research facilities, parks, rescue centres, universities, aquariums, zoos, museums, and conservation organizations. They may work one-on-one with animals or study them from afar.

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