Ecologists study plants and animals in their environment, and may use computer modelling techniques to predict future population growth or decline.

Most ecologists work for:

  • Universities
  • Department of Conservation
  • Crown research institutes such as Landcare Research and NIWA
  • Some ecologists may work as consultants in private practice

Competition is fierce for jobs in ecological research, as there are more graduates than roles available. Many people work on short-term contracts, which may help them get more permanent jobs in the future.

Ecologists generally earn:

  • Technicians and research associates usually earn around $35-55,000, rising to $55-75,000 with a Master’s degree
  • A PhD-qualified ecologist may earn $75-95,000
  • Those who manage to secure a permanent position and lead a research team may earn $130,000 or more

Key tertiary qualifications for ecologists include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Botany/Plant Science, Marine Science, Molecular Genetics, Zoology/Animal Science
  • A Master’s degree or PhD is generally required for work in a research role

Recommended school subjects:

  • Statistics and Modelling
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • English

Careers New Zealand: Zoologist
Careers New Zealand: Marine Biologist

Other job roles you may be interested in:

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Ecologist: People who work in this role

  • Jessie Prebble

    Plant Systematist, Jessie Prebble at work

    Angela Brandt

    Marsden Postdoctoral Researcher, Angela Brandt at work

    Gretchen Brownstein

    Senior Research Technician, Gretchen Brownstein at work

    Micaela Kirby-Crowe

    Ranger, biodiversity monitoring, Micaela Kirby-Crowe at work
  • Leida Dos Santos

    PhD Student, Leida Dos Santos at work

    Bastian Egeter

    Research Student, Bastian Egeter at work

    Kate Ladley

    Field Botanist, Kate Ladley at work

    Belinda Whyte

    Wildlife Biologist , Belinda Whyte at work
  • Matthew Dale

    Scientist, Matthew Dale at work

    Jean-Marie Tompkins

    Biodiversity Officer, Jean-Marie Tompkins at work

    Phil Novis

    Phycologist, Phil Novis at work

Ecologist: Companies that employ people in this job role

  • Cawthron Institute
    Cawthron Institute
    Landcare Research
    Landcare Research
    Ministry for Primary Industries
    Ministry for Primary Industries
  • AgResearch
    Tonkin & Taylor
    Tonkin & Taylor
    4Sight Consulting
    4Sight Consulting
    Plant & Food Research
    Plant & Food Research
  • Coffey
    Hawke's Bay Regional Council
    Hawke's Bay Regional Council

Futureintech is an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, funded by Callaghan Innovation