Botanist / Plant Scientist

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Botanists are plant biologists - they are concerned with many different aspects of plant life such as their interaction with other organisms and the environment, their growing conditions, specific structure, DNA and functions. As with most of the biological sciences, botany can be broken down into many specialisations such as Plant Pathology, Taxonomy and Marine Botany.

Botanists apply their knowledge to various areas including; agriculture, forestry, biotechnology & medicine, horticulture and the conservation and management of natural resources. Across these sectors, botanists may:

  • Investigate the effect of environmental factors (e.g. rainfall, sunlight, soil conditions, disease) on plant growth.
  • Grow and study plants under controlled conditions to understand their genetics, chromosomes, cells, tissues and patterns of evolution.
  • Participate in the classification and identification of species.
  • Work in conjunction with other science professionals to analyse the potential of plants to be used in modern medicine.
  • Consult on environmental management issues.

Botanists are employed by universities, conservation organisations, government departments and the private sector. Those conducting research may be expected to co-ordinate grant proposals and project management and also to re-locate to different locations to study plant life.

Postgraduate study (ie. Honors) may be necessary to obtain a specialist job in this area.