An ecologist is a scientist who studies the interrelationships between organisms such as animals and plants and their environments

Training, qualifications and skills BSc, and experience working in a lab and carrying out, for example, field surveys, flowering plant and insect identification
Career progression opportunities Work in universities, NGOs, government organisations and private institutions are potential pathways.
Useful links National Botanic Garden of Wales
British Ecological Society
Countryside Jobs Service (biodiversity)
Countryside Jobs Service (ecology)

Focus on: PhD researcher/ecologist

Lucy Witter
National Botanic Garden of Wales
Full time, salary up to £45k

A research scientist’s role is to design, carry out and analyse the results of scientific experiments in order to increase our understanding of a certain research topic. In my role, I use DNA metabarcoding, observational and review-based techniques to understand the foraging preferences of pollinating insects, including bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies. Pollen is collected from the body of the insect and the plant DNA extracted in the lab and sent off for sequencing, to find out which plant species are being visited by the pollinator.

Get lots of work experience in different areas of research to help you choose which area is for you. Doing a PhD requires a lot of self-motivation but it is definitely worth it!

I am using this data to develop and trial pollinator-friendly seed mixes and planting plans for use in gardens and amenity spaces. The job is very varied, including field work, lab work and communicating my research to the wider public.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.