How to become a Botanist

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"How to become a Botanist"
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If you enjoy the excitement of discovery, have good observational skills, and enjoy the outdoors, then botany might be the field for you. Botanists or plant biologists study plant life in all their varying forms; both in the natural environment and under laboratory conditions. With many diverse job roles, their work is used in a variety of areas, including conservation andprotection of the environment, agriculture, forestry, horticulture, medicine, biotechnology and food science to name but a few.
Specialisms in botany include:

-The study of specific plant groups;
-Plant anatomy and physiology;
-Molecular biology;
-Marine botany;
-Taxonomy .

As a botanist your work would vary depending upon the particular job you are undertaking, but could include:

-Identifying, classifying, recording and monitoring plant species;
-Searching for new species;
-Studying the effects of pollution on plant life;
-Studying the effects of developments such as new buildings on plant life;
-Identifying and purifying chemicals produced by plants for use in manufacturing;
-Presenting research results in journals;
-Training and supervising junior staff and volunteers;
-Teaching positions.

If you want to get into botany then you need to start early. Make sure yu study Biology and Chemistry at GCSE or A-Level as these will form the basis of you knowledge pool. Courses in social studies and humanities are also worth looking into since botanists often get involved in public affairs at community and national levels.

As well as academic studies you should consider participation in science fairs and clubs. Take a summer job relating to biology, plant nurseries, farms, experiment stations, laboratories, florists or landscape architects.

If you're serious then a degree is a must. Most curricula require maths as well as chemistry and physics.
As stated earlier; Biology will be important as most universities will require a core program in biology before you may enroll in specialized botany courses.

If possible, you should arrange to do an undergraduate research project assisting the faculty with research or pursuing your own independent interests. Summer jobs will continue to provide important additional experience. These positions occur in government agencies, college and university research laboratories, agricultural experiment stations, freshwater and marine biological stations, and private companies. Get in early as the best positions will go like hot cakes

Most important of all is a love of pant life and the natural world if there are any green fingered individuals out there why not get in touch with the Royal Botanical Society today.

More about this author: Giles Bovis

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