Can you get a job as an Aquatic Entomologist?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Entomology' started by Teenage Entomologist, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Teenage Entomologist

    Teenage Entomologist Gotta love the pteronarcys.

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    I'm in high school, and I want to become an Aquatic Entomologist, are there job occupations for this, and where would I go to get a degree in it? Thanks
     
  2. JohnB

    JohnB Member

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    There are jobs similar to that. Off the top of my head I'd guess that the best way to go about getting into a job like that would involve a Masters degree I'd guess. Maybe get your undergrad in Environmental Science or biology, or fisheries. Then try to specialize more with your job selections after that and then use those skills to hone in on your Masters program. I know Oregon State in Corvallis OR is a good fisheries school and there are Masters and PhD students there that have projects that entomology plays a big role it.
     
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  3. Teenage Entomologist

    Teenage Entomologist Gotta love the pteronarcys.

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    OSU is the college I wanted to go to anyway, so that's a big plus!
     
  4. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    Whatever work you do will likely center around salmon. Sampling the aquatic entomology as it relates to juvenile salmonid success
     
  5. Taxon

    Taxon Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi T/E-

    Yes, there are some jobs like that. I will PM you the name and email address of California-based internet acquaintance, who has a PhD in entomology, and is employed in the field, so you can pose your questions to him.

    However, it is my belief is that the first step in your quest requires earning an undergraduate degree in biology, which I suspect would be offered by most universities.
     
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  6. Teenage Entomologist

    Teenage Entomologist Gotta love the pteronarcys.

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    Thanks Taxon; I'm taking Biology right now, current subject is on DNA. Want to get to animals and insect diversity though!
     
  7. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    You will either teach at a college or end up as an biologist with a part time job of an outdoor writer.
     
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  8. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Hi TE,
    A good bit of the interest in insects is because of their direct economic impacts (pests = bad, pollinators = good). Most of these complete their development exclusively on land. If that is the focus on the entomologist at your university, you might not find much coverage of aquatic insects. It will be lots of bees, caterpillars, and beetles. U.C. Davis has a world-class entomology department but most of their focus lies in agriculturally-important species (but they are a big enough program that they are likely to have some specialists in aquatic insects too).

    However, monitoring stream insect communities is a key aspect of assessing long-term water quality; a water sample gives you a one-time snapshot of water quality, but the relative dominance of pollution-intolerant (e.g., stoneflies) vs. pollution-tolerant (e.g., black flies) species is a very good indicator of water quality over the long haul. These entomologists have an interest in water quality (environmental science) as well. Having a bachelors degree and some skills in identifying stream insects would be a desirable combination when seeking a job with some environmental monitoring firms or with state/county agencies that use this approach to monitor the health of their watersheds.

    So, when looking for a appropriate place for your bachelor's degree find out who is teaching the upper division undergraduate entomology course and determine what their research interests are. If the professor is primarily interested in pest control, you might not find the course to be that applicable to your long-term interests. On the other hand, if the professor is interested in water quality, not only will stream insects be major players in the course, but there should also be opportunities for you to get involved in their research. This research experience will be a big piece of what a potential graduate advisor will be looking for when selecting graduate students for a masters or Ph.D. program.

    I just looked through the research interests of the faculty in the Entomology department at OSU and they are very pest-focused. That would not be a good match for your interests. However, Dr. Dave Lytie in the Zoology department does research on aquatic insect ecology. You can read more about his lab here: http://www.science.oregonstate.edu/lytlelab/. Therefore, your best strategy if you decide to enroll at OSU is to work on a Zoology, not Entomology degree.

    Steve
     
  9. jwg

    jwg Active Member

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    Great interest!

    Keep an open mind that as you learn more biology you will find additional topics that become just as interesting to you!

    Jay
     
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  10. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    I have a friend that got a ES BACHELOR'S and entom masters degrees from WSU and he had a really hard time finding a job related to his studies. He land a biologist job with WDFW but not dealing with insects at all. It was until after 2 years of searching did he land an entomologist job dealing with pollination for a large agricultural company.

    There is always jobs to be had in every field as long as you are passionate about it, work hard and are willing to sacrifice in the short term to get there in the long run. If its your dream, pursue it no matter how good the market is.
     
  11. Matt Baerwalde

    Matt Baerwalde ...

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    Regarding benthic macro invertebrate monitoring: people get paid to do nothing but key out aquatic insects under a microscope all day long. EcoAnalysts is one such private firm that does this. There are others. If that sounds fun to you, know that there are opportunities out there.
     
  12. Danielocean

    Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

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    Kaplan has a really good environmental science/policy program. I am currently enrolled in it so I can vouch.
     
  13. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    I say go for it & follow your dreams, If it doesn't work out you can always get a job at Boeing like so many others...
     
  14. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    I've known Rick Hafele for decades. He has a great sense of humor so we get along quite well. I'm sure he can give you some insight on the chances of finding a job as an aquatic entomologist as he is one.

    This site includes an e-mail address to contact him. It can't hurt. Especially because you're a young fly fisherman interested in bugs -- same as how he started.
    You have much in common.

    http://www.laughingrivers.com/bios-rick.html
     
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  15. Teenage Entomologist

    Teenage Entomologist Gotta love the pteronarcys.

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    Gene, that guy has the life I want to have. Definitely will contact him. Thanks a ton!
     
  16. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    I had Rick in mind when I stated above that an entomologist might end up as an outdoor writer. I first met Rick Hafele and Dave Hughes in 1978 when they did the tour lecturing on PNW insects and fishing. I still have a copy of the handout they provided.
     
  17. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    Rick met Dave while they were both attending OSU.

    That's when they came up with the idea for their first book.
     
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  18. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    If I remember correctly it was $35 for a 2 day lecture and handout.
     
  19. cutthroat kid

    cutthroat kid cut throat kid

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    WSU has a great Entomology program, because is it known as land grant agricultural school.
     
  20. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    Son...get a book titled "What Color is Your Parachute"; it will help you 'think outside the box" when it comes to your vocational interests. In science, either at the research or the applied level, there are many opportunities to find intellectual stimulation, as well as a living.

    Don't be discouraged by people who tell you that you can't follow your dreams, but realize that doing so requires dedication, sacrifice, and a certain flexibility regarding what 'following your dream' actually entails.
     
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