To understand various elements of the Earth, special knowledge and skills are required. People study and do their research to understand different elements of nature and its aspects. Like a cardiologist who understands every part of the heart, there are experts who deal with plants as well. Today, you will learn about what do botanists do and how to become a botanist. We will also cover details about field botanists.
1. What is Botany?
Botany is a branch of biology that includes the study of plants. It is also known as plant biology, plant science, or plant phytology. Its name comes from an ancient Greek word botane meaning grass, herbs, pasture, or fodder. (Also read PhD Vs PsyD in Psychology)
It deals with the study of structures, biochemical processes, and properties. Botany not only includes the study of plants having leaves and branches but also fungi and algae. Botany is a wider term for various subparts that deal with the study of factors related to plants. What do botanists do? Continue reading to know more about it. (Also read what does Mulch do?)
2. Why is Botany Important?
Plants are fundamental elements of life on Earth as they are essential for the food chain. Without plants, there would be no oxygen and no living thing would survive. Therefore botany is as vital as the study of humans. (Also read Why is Agriculture Important?)
Plants also play a crucial role in the water cycle and the carbon cycle. They are necessary to prevent soil erosion and above all, they help us with the global cycling of primary components like oxygen, water, carbon, nitrogen, and energy. Also, check out what would you like to become when you grow up?
3. What are the Branches of Botany?
Before learning about botanists, let us learn what they study. A person who studies botany is known as a botanist. He or she is also known as a plant scientist or phytologist. The person studying fungi is known as a mycologist and the person who studies algae is called a phycologist.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, there was rapid development in the discoveries of the plant kingdom. Botany evolved, which led to its division into different branches that deal with various aspects of plants.
- Cytology or cell biology includes the study of cell functions and structures.
- Morphology deals with the description and study of different parts of plants, both internal parts (internal morphology) and external parts (external morphology).
- Palynology includes the study of pollen grains.
- Plant Taxonomy classifies different plants into different categories depending upon their characteristics.
- Plant Ecology deals with studying plants and their surviving environment.
- Plant Physiology studies different activities of plants like photosynthesis, respiration, etc.
- Palaeobotany studies plant fossils helping in the study of plant evolution.
- Phytogeography studies different varieties of plants scattered in various parts of the world.
- Embryology studies the development of an embryo, the process of fertilization, and the germination of seeds.
- Lichenology is the study of symbionts i.e. an algal member and fungal member living together.
- Microbiology deals with the study of microorganisms like fungi and bacteria. It is further divided into Bacteriology (study of bacteria) and Virology (study of viruses). Also, check out What are the Characteristics of Population?
Responding to what do botanists do, you should know that a botanist can work in various other branches of botany apart from the ones mentioned. They include the fields of
- Pomology (study of fruit-bearing plants and fruits),
- Agrostology (the study of grass),
- Dendrology (study of shrubs and trees),
- Phenology (study of causes of seasonal changes in plants),
- Anthology (study of flowers),
- Dendrochronology (study of plants to identify their age by counting the rings), and
- Xylotomy (the study of wood and xylem tissues and vessels). (Also read What are the benefits of studying Biology?)
4. What do Botanists do?
A botanist studies microscopic plant fungi in their ecosystems. They complete different special studies related to the particular aspect of plants and apply it in their jobs. Their fields of study involve any of the above branches of botany. It includes 391, 000 species of vascular plants and 20, 000 species of non-vascular plants.
Now, you will understand the various ways in which they use their specialized knowledge and get a better view of what do botanists do.
- Remediation is done which is basically cleaning the contaminated sites to induce plant growth. Must read how does Cactus grow in desert?
- They work for environmental economics by highlighting the value of nature and its benefits that you have been deriving for centuries.
- They also control the invasive species of different plants and prevent them from growing in lands where they can be harmful to other flora and humans.
- They work in botanical gardens to provide conservational services and protect endangered species of plants by helping them pollinate and grow. (See How to Grow a Purple Leaf Plum Tree?)
- They spread awareness about various medicinal uses of plants to humans and animals. They can work as florists, field botanists, biotechnologists, plant geneticists, and naturalists.
- They work for land management as well. In this process, they diversify the use of land and manage the development of such land. They also offer and inform everyone about the possible ways of sustainable development.
- The virologists study various viruses and find the best cure to deal with them. Similarly, a bacteriologist categorizes good and bad bacteria and gives out solutions accordingly. (Also read What are the Desert Cactus Types?)
5. How to become a Botanist?
Before you become curious about what do botanists do, you must have an idea about how to become one. So, if you want to become one then all you need to do is to get a Bachelor’s degree in science. After that, you can get a degree in one specialized field of Botany when you apply for a Master’s degree and a Doctorate. (Also read How to Become a Tower Crane Operator?)
6. Who is a Field Botanist?
To answer what do botanists do, it is the job of a field botanist to study plants and their natural habitat. The subject deals with studying plant species in the field, why they are growing there, and are they capable of growing anywhere else.
- Field botanists focus on the conservation of native species and the prevention of non-native species from expanding their population. This helps in regulating the ecosystem of a particular area and keeps other factors in check.
- A large part of the study is acquired through field experience by field botanists. An expert field botanist understands the local flora, the required tools and methods to be followed, plant ecology, and basic information about plant taxonomy.
- They conduct experiments to help increase the yield of crops and their nutritional value. They also find ways to develop and control weeds, diseases, and pests naturally. (See Why Do Potatoes Sprout?)
- They are involved in the growth, cultivation, and propagation of plants in their natural environment and in conservatories. They have a good knowledge of rare plant species as they travel and visit various areas.
- This knowledge is applicable in making new medicines for plants, animals, and humans as well. They are also involved in research work being employed at research centers, botanical gardens, state-national parks, medical labs, science journals, and arboretums.
- They study the impact of different types of pollution on various plants and also work on the front line to save forest resources through their research. (Also read Why is Philosophy important Today?)