Research Technical Report
Are You Ready to Apply Your Science?
DeVogelaere, A. (2000)
Special Graduate Student Workshop on Applied Ecology, Western Society of Naturalists Annual Meeting, Portland, OR
Academic scientists and their students are increasingly interested in applied ecology. This may be because more students want to make broad contributions to society, professional organizations have recognized that serious policy decisions may be made without scientific information, and regulatory bodies are requiring thorough environmental assessments for development projects. Applied science provides career opportunities for graduate students, ranging from academic scientists participating in applied research to the more immersed endeavors of joining consulting firms, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Science training in the U.S. is unparalleled, but applying the science to resource management and policy is largely a baffling and frustrating experience. In the end, understanding government, regulatory agency function, and effective communication is as useful as understanding science if you want to apply ecology. Because students often receive limited formal training outside of interacting with their peers, I suggest that those interested in applied ecology follow closely the entire process addressing a few applied issues and engage in discussions with a wide variety of professionals. The ability to communicate scientific concepts and ideas to non-peers and to understand how resource management decisions are made will provide invaluable training for a career in applied ecology.