Biologists and related scientists (NOC 2121)

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The 2019-2023 job prospects by occupation have been revised to take the COVID-19 health crisis into account. For more information about the meaning of each diagnostic, see the glossary.

Nature of work

Biologists and related scientists conduct basic and applied research to extend knowledge of living organisms, to manage natural resources, and to develop new practices and products related to medicine and agriculture. They are employed in both laboratory and field settings by governments, environmental consulting companies, resource and utilities companies, chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies and health and educational institutions.

Main duties

  • Biologists perform some or all of the following duties:
  • - Plan and conduct studies of the environment, and of the population, distribution, structure and functional characteristics and behaviour of plants and animals
  • - Conduct ecological and environmental impact studies and prepare reports
  • - Study, identify and classify plant and animal specimens
  • - Continued…
  • - Conduct experiments in plant or animal growth, heredity and breeding
  • - Prepare reports and plans for management of renewable resources
  • - May supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.
  • Microbiologists and cell and molecular biologists perform some or all of the following duties:
  • - Conduct research into the structure, function, ecology, biotechnology and genetics of micro-organisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoans, and algae
  • - Conduct research into the structure and functioning of human, animal and plant tissues and cells
  • - Conduct studies into the identification, effects and control of human, plant and animal pathogens and toxins
  • - Conduct clinical or laboratory studies to test, evaluate and screen drugs, pharmaceuticals and nanoparticles used in biomedical applications
  • - Conduct molecular or biochemical studies and experiments in genetic expression, gene manipulation and recombinant DNA technology to develop new or alternative methods of producing products
  • - Conduct research in biotechnology to discover, develop and refine, and evaluate new products
  • - May participate in the commercialization of new products
  • - May supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists
  • - May conduct biostatistical data analysis using computer modelling techniques.
  • * Biologists and related scientists may specialize at the macroscopic level, in fields such as botany, zoology, ecology and marine biology or, at the cellular and molecular level, in fields such as genetics, immunology, pharmacology, toxicology, physiology, pathology, bacteriology, virology, biotechnology and bioinformatics.

Employment requirements

  • * A bachelor's degree in biology or in a related discipline is required for biologists.
  • * A master's or doctoral degree in biology or a related discipline is required for employment as a research scientist in biology.
  • * Post-doctoral research experience is usually required before employment in academic departments or research institutions.

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