School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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What's a biologist

Explore Your World

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  • Biologist: the general name for scientists who study living things like plants and animals. There are specific names for different biologists, like a wildlife biologist who studies wild animals.

Exploration and Discovery in Biology

While becoming a biologist can require lots of training, anyone can be a biologist.

Peidmont parkIf you’ve ever been outside and caught yourself staring at a bug or animal, you have the curiosity to be a biologist. If you like to solve problems or build things, you have the creativity to be a biologist. If you’re a hard worker or you like to learn, you have the dedication to be a biologist.

Because biologists study living things, it’s easy to find a field site anywhere around you. When you see a place that is interesting to you, remember to explore, ask questions, and record your observations. 

As biologist Nina Jablonski will tell you, simply following your curiosity can bring you tremendous excitement and rewards that many biologists experience:

Check out our podcast for the rest of Nina's interview about the science of skin.

How Can You Learn More About Biology?

If you are able to get online or go to the library, there are many biology resources available. These resources can help you learn about the things you see. For example, if you want to learn more about the trees and plants around your house, you could find plant guides or information on popular gardening plants.  Such resources can help you learn more about what grows around you.

There are many online resources available to help you learn more about biology, even before you begin your training in school. Visit our Links page for more information.

How You Can Help Out and Get Research Experience

PikaYou can also get involved with existing research. You can volunteer to work with specific researchers, as we discuss in our Career Tips page, but you can also collect data for a project in citizen science.

Citizen science enables the public to help out on special studies. Usually people make observations of certain plant or animal species and record them as part of a larger data set. Make sure to check out our Links page for a few examples of projects in which you can get involved.


Ochlawaha bog image by Sue Cameron.

A woman on the right side of the image wearing all dark colors and tall boots stands in the middle of a bog. She holds a pair of binoculars over her face and looks out in to the forest, which rests in the back left of the image.

Biologists spend a lot of time observing the world around them. Here biologist Sue Cameron gazes over the Ochlawaha bog.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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A woman on the right side of the image wearing all dark colors and tall boots stands in the middle of a bog. She holds a pair of binoculars over her face and looks out in to the forest, which rests in the back left of the image.

Biologists spend a lot of time observing the world around them. Here biologist Sue Cameron gazes over the Ochlawaha bog.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.