Career Story: Research Biologist Attached To A Museum

Research Biologist Attached To A Museum

Job Title: Research Biologist

Type of Company: My institution conducts research on the fauna of our state, publishes research papers and otherwise disseminates the results of that research, and formulates public exhibits and educational programs based on research.

Education: BS, Biology, Johns Hopkins University •• MS and PhD, University of Kentucky

Previous Experience: I was curator of amphibians and reptiles at the zoo in a major city, and later held teaching and professorial positions at a high school, community college, and private college.

Job Tasks: My responsibilities involve collecting, processing, and identifying the freshwater decapods I do research on: devising keys to their identification, and producing maps and spread sheets showing their distributions. I catalogue specimens and enter information about them into a database. I also conduct research on the life histories and other aspects of the ecology of these species. Each day I continue writing and illustrating a book on these organisms. Some of this work requires photographing specimens. I describe and name new species as I discover them, and publish the results in professional journals. I also write articles on my subject organisms for popular magazines.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that is allows me to combine my scientific curiosity about various aspects of the natural world with a deep aesthetic appreciation of the beauty and wonder of that world. Another major plus is that I am able to function more or less autonomously, essentially following my discipline in directions of interest to me rather than in directions dictated by others.

Negative aspects are few, but one of them would probably be the modest salary involved, despite the fact that jobs such as this require specialization and unique capabilities.

Job Tips:
1.) You must earn an advanced degree, preferably a PhD.

2.) Include in your course work studies in genetics, taxonomy and systematics, computer skills and statistics, and perhaps scientific illustration and photography.

3.) Get used to the idea that scientific research requires a great commitment in time and energy; it is not a 9 to 5 job.

4.) Keep yourself physically fit and maintain a spirit of adventure, because jobs such as mine require lots of field work, sometimes under arduous conditions.

Additional Thoughts: Jobs like mine are few and far between, and are worth pursuing only if you have an unmitigated passion for nature and a deep need to understand how it works. The most important quality for success in my job is to keep an open mind and rid oneself of preconceived notions about the way things work. Intellectual honesty is a major prerequisite.

Popular Schools offering Biology Programs

Results:  3
Matching School Ads

Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins University, a top tier research university with campus locations in Maryland and Washington, DC, and online.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

Additional Career Stories for Biological Scientists

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Biological Scientists, including:

Back to Top