Zoology is the study of animals, right from the smallest sub-cellular organism to the mighty blue whale, to humans themselves. Zoologists not only study animals for their own sake (basic zoology) – to figure out how animals behave, how their characteristics are passed on from one generation to the next, and how the body systems of individual species work – but also for our sake. Finding out how animals interact with their environment, and with human beings, figuring out the significance of animal behavior, and discovering how their products can be used to benefit humankind (applied zoology) is also a big part of what zoologists do. Upon doing intensive research, MapMyTalent believed that all this is important work – especially in the twenty-first century, when the earth’s resources are being stretched to the limit and conservation of animals and ecosystems is such an urgent issue.
Zoologists also are the bridges between the animal world and our world, and play a huge role in educating people about the creatures that we share our planet with. In fact, although you may not have realized it, many of the programs on the National Geographic, Discovery and Animal Planet channels are reporting on discoveries made by zoologists! While there are enough zoologists camping in rain-forests or scuba diving in the world’s oceans to collect actual field data, there are also a huge number of them studying, say, IVF (in-vitro fertilization, more commonly known as the test-tube baby procedure) techniques in a lab to help breed animal species that are seriously endangered.
There are any number of specialized fields you may go into once you have a basic degree in zoology. Here are some examples of what you could choose to be:
Biology Teacher – Teaching positions are always available for zoologists in schools, colleges, and universities.
Agricultural Zoologist – He or she studies crop pests and parasites that affect cattle, poultry and other livestock; helps in control of disease, experiments with composition of animal feeds to come up with the most nutritious and effective ones, develops new strains of natural agents for pest-control.
Fisheries Biologist – May be involved in any one of a wide variety of areas, including aquaculture (seeding oysters artificially to make them produce pearls, or breeding shrimp for human consumption), developing new fisheries, checking the toxicity levels in oceans and seas, developing clean and safe methods of fish processing for the food industry, even helping the government work out and enforce fishing regulations.
Food and Drug Officer – Since zoologists also study microbes – both helpful and harmful – they can make useful contributions in agencies that are responsible for the safe manufacture and handling of foods and drugs.
Wildlife Biologist – This probably sounds the most glamorous, but it involves physically demanding work – whether it is camping out in hot sweaty forests at the mercy of mosquitoes and snakes, patiently sitting in one position for days and days to observe one particular feature of a rare bird’s life cycle, or getting sun-burnt on the deck of a ship while waiting for a killer whale to surface. The work of wildlife biologists not only help in the preservation of animal species, but also helps develop policies for harvesting animals that may over-breed and tilt the balance of the ecosystem.
Herpetologist – These zoologists’ primary focus is reptiles.
Entomologist – Their area of interest is insects.
Ornithologist – These guys stick to the study of birds.
Museum Curator – Not as boring a job as it sounds, for a museum curator is not only responsible for the identification and cataloging of animals native to the region and in the development of public displays, but also in independent research. A good choice for a creative person.
Soil Conservationist – She would help farmers and other land managers in using their land as productively as possible without damaging it. She would also recommend best uses of land and cultivation methods that will prevent erosion and maintain or improve fertility, and advise on what kind of soil-enriching organisms and natural pest-controlling agents the farmer could use.
Forest Conservationist - This guy actually works in the forest, and studies the interdependence of the flora and fauna in the forest. He conducts all his research in a natural setting.
Environmental Lawyer – An environmental lawyer who has a basic zoology (or any other life science) degree will have an edge over one who doesn't because of the authority with which he can argue his case.