Biogeographer

Do fieldwork to determine where animals live throughout a region.

What does a Biogeographer do?

A hummingbird zips through the air on a warm summer day. While a Photographer might marvel at the bird’s color and movement, a Biogeographer immediately moves into research mode, and questions begin to form: How many species of bird are there? Why do some migrate and others don’t?

Consider it an occupational hazard. The Biogeographer is obsessed with tracking organisms and ecosystems, and explaining why they exist in a particular place.

If you’re a Biogeographer, most of your studies begin with a theory that you’re trying to prove or disprove. Perhaps you believe that birds in Africa are closely related to birds in South America. You develop a study to observe both sets of birds and explain how they behave in a similar manner.

In your research, you look closely at the temperature and climate of the land, and the plants that live there, too. Then, you observe the animals or insects on the site, counting the number of specimens you see. As you walk about, you try to determine where the creature’s habitat ends. Then, you create a map and a report of the specimen’s habitat.

Sometimes, animals appear in unusual places, and you’re called in to explain why they’re on the move. This may involve looking at the geography of both the old and the new locations, and determining how they’re similar or different.

Studies like this involve travel and many hours of tramping about. This can quickly get expensive, so you spend a significant amount of time looking for funding. Organizations may fund your research if you can make it seem interesting and innovative, and you write many proposals to secure this grant funding.