There are a vast number of careers that stem from the environmental sciences. However, they all have one thing in common. They all require a combination of different skills and knowledge from various fields. You could combine anything from biology, social sciences, and geography to specific studies such as marine sciences or entomology (the study of insects). The environmental sciences are a bit like a buffet, you fill your plate with a plethora of versatile foods in order to construct the perfect plate in the same way that you want to familiarize yourself with many different studies to have a wide range of knowledge for the career in question. This concept is what’s known as an interdisciplinary approach, which signifies “relating to more than one branch of knowledge” according to google. But what specific career would benefit from this approach? Well, I’ve learned that ecologists, one of the jobs rooted in the environmental sciences, would.
According to the Ecological Society of America, ecologists study the relationships between living organisms and their physical environments. They work to understand the “vital connections between plants, animals and the world around them.”. ECO Canada tells us that ecologists study and monitor different aspects of both natural and managed ecosystems. This could include “temperatures and rainfall, competition for food and habitat, predation, disease, and human activities such as farming, hunting, and industry.”. Ecologists work with or for communities, non-governmental organizations, the government itself, or even specific individuals.
It is pretty obvious that ecologists would benefit from integrating the basic sciences such as chemistry, biology, physics, and the domains that stem from them. This is because the sciences are interrelated and need one another in order to be completely understood. Chemistry would be necessary in order to understand the earth’s substances which can prove useful while studying ecosystems, diseases, or even understanding rain patterns. Biology, the science of life, would evidently be necessary to understand the living organisms which ecologists’ study. This would prove useful when studying plants, animals, insects, and etc., as well as their connection to one another and why they depend on each other. Physics would be useful as it helps ecologists understand the structure of our planet and is used to understand natural disasters such as earthquakes. This is useful because the role of an ecologist is to study the relationship between organisms and their environment. Natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions for example, greatly disturb the environment which would affect the ecosystems as well. Additional domains that would be useful to an ecologist, but may be less obvious are the social sciences, geography, and even psychology.
The study of different languages combined with ecology would be very beneficial to an ecologist. According to ECO Canada, a big part of the job includes “conducting field, lab, and theoretical research”. Therefore, incorporating the study of a language such as English, for example, would ensure that ecologists have the necessary skills to properly write lab reports, synthesize their research, and publish their findings. In addition, a lot of the proper names used to identify species are in Latin, so studying foreign languages such as Latin can help ecologists better understand and identify the organisms in which they are studying. Finally, because ecologists sometimes work abroad, they must communicate with a large range of different people, communities, and governments and there may sometimes be a language barrier. Studying a plethora of different languages would give an ecologist an easier time communicating with individuals from around the world.
Ecologists would benefit from an interdisciplinary approach because ecology is a science-based career, and all sciences are interconnected. Ecology is not a domain that can be used in the field on its own. It needs to be paired with many branches of sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and climatology to name a few. It also needs to be paired with social sciences, geography, math, and semantics. Realistically, there is no way for ecologists to deviate from an interdisciplinary approach because they study such a wide range of environmental concepts. When studying an ecosystem’s water they will need chemistry, but when studying the migration patterns of species they will need geography. Now that we know just how essential and beneficial an interdisciplinary approach is to this specific environmental science career, we must ask ourselves if the same applies to them all.
- Lane, C., Frot, M., & Collier, S. (n.d.). Subject guide. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.topuniversities.com/courses
- Google search. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2021, from https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=interdisciplinary%2Bmeaning&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-
- What is ecology? (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2021, from https://www.esa.org/about/what-does-ecology-have-to-do-with-me/
- Ecologist. (2020, July 21). Retrieved April 15, 2021, from https://www.eco.ca/training/career-profiles/ecologist/
- Read « physics in a new era: An overview » at nap.edu. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2021, from https://www.nap.edu/read/10118/chapter/10
2 réflexions au sujet de “The benefits of an interdisciplinary approach as an ecologist”
I really enjoyed reading your blog on the benefits of a background in interdisciplinary studies in your environmental science field of choice, ecology. The blog was very well written with little to no grammatical errors. Prior to reading your blog i knew very little about ecology besides the fact that it covered a variety of feilds in science such as biology and that it covered geography. The arguments you present in regards to the importance of an interdisciplinary education in this feild are all valid. An importan skill in this feild would be conducting research and handling the data since this is a scientific feild. This really demonstrated how usefull this sort of backround can be in the scientific world and i feel like you summed it up very well.
Hello Michelle! Your blog post was really interesting to read. Even though I’m not planning a career in environment, I still learned a lot from reading this. It’s clear that you did your research and that you know what you’re talking about. I thought it was really interesting how every aspect of science is related to another, much how like every aspect of life is related. I do also believe that other careers could benefit from an interdisciplinary perspective. Do you think it would be better to be an expert in a certain domain, and know a few things about related subjects, or know a good amount about a variety of subjects?