In Summary - Botanist
Botanists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos on the Web
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- Botanist - from: N.C.S. [UK]
The Work - Botanist
Botanists study plants, including their reproduction and growth, distribution, and how pests and diseases affect them. They study plant life both in the laboratory and in their natural environment.
Botanists often work in research and development for agricultural, forestry or environmental bodies. In agriculture, botanists may study how to stop pests damaging crops, perhaps through biological control (for example, introducing other species to eat the pests). Botanists may change plants' genes through genetic modification (GM) to increase crop yields, or to make crops more resistant to pests and diseases.
Extinction threatens many plant species, so botany and plant ecology have become important aspects of conservation. In fieldwork, botanists may record the number and types of different species in one area or monitor the impact of pollution on a region's plant life.
Botanists can work in a variety of sub-fields, such as a dendrologist, applying the science of wooded plants or as an agronomist, where they will deal with crop production in agriculture.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Conduct experiments to develop new or improved varieties of field crops, focusing on characteristics such as yield, quality, disease resistance, nutritional value, or adaptation to specific soils or climates.
- Communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops.
- Investigate soil problems or poor water quality to determine sources and effects.
- Study soil characteristics to classify soils on the basis of factors such as geographic location, landscape position, or soil properties.
- Provide information or recommendations to farmers or other landowners regarding ways in which they can best use land, promote plant growth, or avoid or correct problems such as erosion.
- Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the use capabilities of soils and the effects of alternative practices on soil productivity.
- Develop methods of conserving or managing soil that can be applied by farmers or forestry companies.
- Conduct experiments investigating how soil forms, changes, or interacts with land-based ecosystems or living organisms.
- Conduct research to determine best methods of planting, spraying, cultivating, harvesting, storing, processing, or transporting horticultural products.
- Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Interests - Botanist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
As a botanist, you will need to be accurate and methodical in field and laboratory work, and be prepared to repeat experiments many times. A high level of scientific ability and understanding would be needed especially in biology and chemistry. Knowledge of sophisticated technology as well as good computer skills would also be very helpful.
Entry Requirements - Botanist
Pay & Salary - Botanist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 26k - 55k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Botanist
While the supply of graduates appears to be sufficient to meet the annual recruitment requirement (5,500 graduates in 2017), the demand is arising for roles for those with a high level of experience and/or in niche areas. The demand is for a small number of people given the relatively small size of this occupation (approx. 1% of total employment) and in the areas associated with pharmaceuticals, biopharma and food development.
National Skills Bulletin 2018