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A Day in the life of a Botanist
Transcript of A Day in the life of a Botanist
What is a Botanist?
-A botanist is a biologist specializing in the study of plants (7)
: the scientific study of plants (2)
-Although there are many different branches of botanists, they are mainly focused in Plant Ecology, Plant Taxonomy, and Chemical Biology (1,7,8)
Types of Botanists
Biotechnology is the modern technological use of living organisms. Cloning and genetic modifications are branches of this discipline. Expertise in this field can be used to enhance crops, flowers, fuel and medicines, and lead to the development of new vaccines or disease-resistant crops. Agribusiness, food technology and pharmaceuticals are some of the industries that employ bio technologists. (4,7)
Forestry botanists work in the care and conservation of plants in forests and their associated grasslands and water courses. They evaluate the environmental impact of logging and construction projects, and help in planning conservation programs for endangered species. This job requires both team work and working alone outdoors. (7)
To prepare for a career in botany, you should take a college preparatory curriculum including: English, foreign language, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology. Courses in social studies and humanities are also valuable since botanists often get involved in public affairs at community and national levels.(3,6)
A Day in the life of a Botanist
By Diego Pontones
Why be a Botanist?
-Being a Botanist may sound like a boring, repetitive job, but it is actually a huge field. For example, people could choose to be an ecologist, or become a forester! The range is very extensive, giving botanists many different and many job alternatives. (7)
-Botany plays a critical role in many areas of life. The study of plants in health care contributes to development of new medicines and treatments for major diseases. Botanists are crucial for out survival, and by 'our', I mean every species survival (5,9)
There are many small sections of botanists, but the most common are:
taxonomy, biotechnology, forestry, and ethnobotany. (7)
Although taxonomists are not full botanists, their work highly relates to the work description of a botanist. Taxonomists are responsible for finding, describing, identifying, and naming of various species in both the animal and the plant kingdom.(3)
Ethnobotany is the cultural relationship between plants and humans. It brings together anthropology and botany to understand how plants were used by various cultures as food and medicine, and in fabrics and religious traditions. A modern offshoot is the cultivation of plant fibers, such as bamboo and hemp in apparel, and the use of traditional herbal recipes in medicines. Textile and pharmaceutical companies, academic research centers, and advocacy organizations offer jobs in this field. (7)
<-- Get it??
After high school you will need to complete a four year bachelor's degree in biology, botany, or plant science. The college you attend should have a strong program in botany. The better their program, the more opportunity you will have.
If you are interested as a position as a research assistant or a lab technician, an undergraduate degree should be sufficient. However, if you are interested in teaching as a college professor and conducting your own research, then you will need to complete a doctorate.
While you're at college, volunteering as an assistant for other people's research work is a good idea. So are summer internships if you have the opportunity.(2,6)
The selected course will vary depending on the curriculum of the college attended and personal interests. To be best prepared for the job market, make sure to get a broad general education in language, arts, humanities and the social sciences in addition to specializing in plant biology. Most curricula require math, through calculus, and/or statistics as well as chemistry and physics. Be able to use a computer. Some schools recommend, or require, a foreign language. This is especially important if you hope to work in the tropics. (6)
Training for a position of being a botanists is not as hard as it sounds. Many of us already started training without even knowing yet! Some important training to-be-botanists need are:
-Make sure you know how to write reports, thesis, and research projects in order to be trained in the fields of botany
-Make sure you know what specialization you want to be. This way, you are only studying on that section, Ex: If you want to be a ethnobotanist, don't strain yourself by trying to learn everything in a different field, like forestry!
-Participating in science fairs, labs, and science clubs can help you attain some of the skills necessary in this field of work.
-Summer jobs can also help you train to become a botanist. For example; working on a farm could help you get the skills necessary for this field of work (1)
The best part about being a botanist are definitely the activities they get to take part of. Of course different specializations give different activities, but these are some of the most commonly known:
-Grow plants under controlled conditions to assess the significance of environmental and genetic variables
-study the genetics of plants using biochemical and molecular techniques in the laboratory in order to determine the patterns of plant evolution
-study the nature and occurrence of plant chromosomes, cells and tissues
-prepare scientific reports and papers
-supervise and coordinate the work of technical support staff
-work with other scientists to develop drugs, medicines and other products from plants
-search for and classify new species of plants and identify plant specimens
-prepare handbooks for plant identification (9)