Botanist

Summary

Botanists study the biology of all types of plants to increase scientific knowledge and apply this knowledge in areas such as conservation and management of natural resources, agriculture, forestry, horticulture, medicine and biotechnology.

Duties & Tasks

Botanists may perform the following tasks:

  • manage scientific collections of plant specimens
  • document and analyse plant biodiversity and the evolutionary origins of plants
  • investigate the effects of environmental factors such as rainfall, temperature, sunlight, soil, topography (surface features) and disease on plant growth
  • 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 a laboratory in order to determine the patterns of plant evolution
  • study the nature of plant chromosomes, cells and tissues
  • prepare scientific reports and papers
  • work with other scientists to develop medicines and other products from plants
  • search for and classify new species of plants
  • identify plant specimens and prepare handbooks for plant identification
  • use computers for information storage and analysis of data.

Specialisations

Forest Botanist

A forest botanist studies and documents the diversity in tree species and other species of importance to the forestry industry. They may work in tree selection and breeding for improved forestry production.

Marine Botanist

A marine botanist studies marine plants and related underwater environments.

Plant Ecologist

A plant ecologist studies the relationships between plants and their environment. This may include investigations into the effects of rainfall, temperature, sunlight, soil, terrain, animals, pollution and diseases on plant types and their distribution.

Plant Pathologist

A plant pathologist studies the effects of diseases that are harmful to crop growth and assists in developing methods to control them.

Plant Physiologist

A plant physiologist studies internal plant functions and their chemical basis to learn how plants grow, process nutrients and reproduce.

Plant Taxonomist

A plant taxonomist studies and documents the diversity in plant life and develops classifications reflecting evolutionary relationships between different plant groups and species.

Working Conditions

Botanists work in laboratories, offices and in the field, both alone and with other life scientists. They may work irregular hours and live in remote areas when carrying out research.

Botanists may carry out fieldwork to collect and document plant species and numbers in particular areas. They may also be approached to advise on environmental and management issues and possible courses of action.

Personal Requirements

  • interested in plants and research
  • strong analytical skills
  • aptitude for working with computers
  • patient
  • enjoy working outdoors
  • able to work independently and as part of a team.

Related Courses:

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