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Zoology is a branch of biology that involves studying the characteristics and behaviours of animals. The animal kingdom consists of a large number of organisms, and it is important to know how each of them functions and interacts with the ecosystem. This helps in enabling human beings to coexist with the other animals in a harmonious way.  Zoology is a very broad field that consists of many disciplines, including physiology, anatomy, ecology and parasitology.

What does a zoologist do?

The scientists who study animals and their behaviours are known as zoologists. Their work involves analysing the characteristics, behaviours and diets of animals in their natural habitats or controlled environments. They study the lifecycles of animals, assess their populations, analyse their interactions, and write detailed and informative reports on their results. Zoologists can specialize in one discipline, such as ecology or physiology, because zoology is a very broad field. They can also choose to study a specific group of animals, such as reptiles or primates. This specialization enables one to become an expert in their chosen area of study.

To become a zoologist, one needs at least a bachelor’s degree in zoology or zoology related field, such as general biology, ecology, or wildlife biology. Deep knowledge of biology and the ability to apply it appropriately is necessary. The knowledge of other fields of study, such as mathematics and chemistry is also very useful to zoologists. With a bachelor’s degree, one can specialize in one area of study by taking graduate studies and become a research zoologist. Studying up to the Ph.D. level offers an individual more freedom to carry out their own zoological research. Zoologist should be keen on their work and ensure that they share their findings through detailed scientific reports.

Branches of Zoology

Zoology is a vast field that can be classified into many branches based on how animal life is divided. They include:

  • Marine zoology – This is the study of the animals that are found in the marine environment, such as whales, sharks, and seals.
  • Parasitology – This involves studying the characteristics and behaviours of the parasites that plague animals, and determining their effects.
  • Primatology – This is the study of the primates, which is a large group of animals that include monkeys, apes, and humans.
  • Mammalogy – This a broad field of study that covers all the mammals, which are vertebrates that have mammary glands to feed their young ones.
  • Entomology – This is the study of insects, which are in the phylum Arthropoda.
  • Ornithology – This involves studying the characteristics and behaviours of birds.

Careers with Animals

Zoologists can work in many areas that involve studying animals, such as wildlife rehabilitation centers, zoos, aquariums, animal research centers, and universities. They can also carry out their own personal research, most of which is usually affiliated to specific universities or research centers. Some of the careers that zoologists can pursue include:

  • Conservation – The knowledge of animals and their behaviours is important in ensuring that conservation efforts are successful. Working in this area involves enabling the rehabilitation, protection, and conservation of endangered species
  • Wildlife management – Senior zoologists can be entrusted with the task of managing wildlife. They carry out activities such as evaluating wildlife initiatives and reviewing wildlife records.
  • Laboratory technician – An individual with a degree in zoology has knowledge of laboratory techniques because the course involves a lot of laboratory work. One can, therefore, apply these skills by working as a laboratory technician in research facilities or educational institutions.
  • Teaching – The knowledge of zoology is valuable and can be passed on to others through teaching. One can, therefore, get teaching certification and teach either at the high school or college level.

Importance of Zoology

Human beings coexist with many other members of the animal kingdom and, therefore, it is important to have an in-depth knowledge of their characteristics and functions. Some of these animals have been beneficial to man in many ways, such as providing food, medicine, companionship, clothing, transport and enabling tourism. Studying them enables us to coexist with them harmoniously and find the ways in which we can benefit each other. The studies of zoologists over the years have led to the present day understanding of the animals that surround us.

Zoology has become a very significant field of study in recent years due to the increasing impact of human activity on the environment. Human activity has been found to have many negative effects on animals by causing climate change, loss of habitat, pollution, and even extinction. Understanding the animals around us helps in ensuring that they are protected from harm. Recent efforts to conserve the wildlife have been enabled by the work of zoologists, who have worked with other scientists to figure out the ways in which human activity is affecting animals and how they can be protected. Pursuing a career in the field of zoology can, therefore, be very rewarding. If you encounter any challenges in this field, online biology tutor from dedicated experts is always available.