Science

Botanist

Botanists (sometimes known as plant biologists) study all forms of plant life. They study the structure, physiology and ecology of plants and learn to identify their major groups.

They apply this knowledge to areas such as conservation, agriculture, horticulture and to the management of natural resources.

They have many different job roles as their work can be used in lots of different areas. If you are fascinated by plants and you are keen on working in science, this could be an ideal job choice for you. To do this job you will need to have accuracy and attention to detail. You will need strong communication skills. You will also need to have patience and good concentration. For most botanist jobs you will need a degree in a relevant subject.

As a botanist, you could specialise in:

  • the study of specific plant groups
  • plant anatomy and physiology
  • biochemistry
  • molecular biology
  • genetics
  • ecology
  • marine botany
  • palaeobotany (study of fossilised plant remains)
  • taxonomy (the identification and classification of plants).

Your work would vary depending on the particular job, but could include:

  • identifying, classifying, recording and monitoring plant species
  • ecological consultancy work, including surveys and environmental impact assessments
  • managing a botanical collection
  • searching for new species
  • studying the effects of pollution, or developments such as new buildings, on plant life
  • identifying and purifying chemicals produced by plants for use in products such as drugs, food, fabrics, solvents and building materials
  • presenting research results in journals, books and at academic conferences
  • training and supervising junior staff and volunteers
  • teaching at a university.
Darwin's most revolutionary ideas were introduced through Botany
While Charles Darwin is famous for developing the theory of evolution and natural selection, few appreciate that he was a botanist.