Can you get a job as an Aquatic Entomologist?

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
#16
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

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.
 

Krusty

Active Member
#20
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.
 

Trapper

Author, Writer, Photographer
#21
About 20 years ago I got a lot of great help from Boris Kondratieff at Colorado State University. He teaches classes in aquatic entomology. He's a faculty member in the College of Agricultural Sciences Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management.

I was really doubtful he would still be there, so I checked their website.

http://bspm.agsci.colostate.edu/people-button/faculty/boris-kondratieff/

Trapper
 
#22
Ask and Ye Shall Receive..........!!

I really get a kick out of seeing how much seemingly very good info comes after someone asks an earnest question like TE has done here. What a resource this WFF can be.

Good for you TE and good for this forum.
 

snarlac

Active Member
#23
Ask and Ye Shall Receive..........!!

I really get a kick out of seeing how much seemingly very good info comes after someone asks an earnest question like TE has done here. What a resource this WFF can be.

Good for you TE and good for this forum.
Well - not entirely accurate information; TE should know there are very few jobs and very many PhD's looking for them; TE will require a minimum of 10 years of college, grad and undergrad, and on average 3 years of postdoctoral study to qualify for a couple jobs a year, and 50-100 PhD's applying for each. Oh, I forgot to mention, you'll need to pump out a dozen or so publications before you apply for a job, and then another two dozen papers, and a half million in grant money, to make tenure (i.e., make your job permanent, you'll get no more than 5 years to do this). There are non-academic options, in government or non-profits - that are even rarer.

If TE is interested in entomology, TE should go to a midwest Big 10 school where there are lots of crops and insect pests, and get the basics there; Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan State (Rich Merritt is still there, I believe) come to mind. Or Cornell if you can get in and have a bunch of money (~$40,000 per year, out of state tuition and basic living). And then specialize in aquatic insects at the graduate level if there is an opportunity for such. That way, if you don't get into graduate school, at least you have a spitting chance at sorting samples and keying out bugs for a consultant, or maybe even working for a major firm, like Monsanto.

Oregon State does not come to mind for an undergraduate degree in this field - heck, it doesn't even have an entomology program, anymore. But if the idea is to go key out aquatic insects and fish on the side while going to school while deciding what to do, hell, go to Oregon State - or for that matter, Montana or Idaho; fishing is much better around those places.
 

snarlac

Active Member
#26
au contraire...

http://entomology.oregonstate.edu

I believe it shares area with the weed science department.

On a side note: My dearly beloved used to work in the entomology department and showed me Metolius stoneflies on a first date.
My apologies, I meant it doesn't have an entomology department anymore (since 2003) - so go check with your beloved to verify; sure there are faculty in scattered departments that are entomologists. But it ain't the same thing as a top tier program. If TE is bent on staying somewhere on the west coast, I would add UC-Berkeley to my recommendations for an undergraduate college. Just be sure to be in the 2-5th percentiles on your entrance aptitude tests; otherwise don't waste your time and money applying. I'm not being cynical here. But college reputation counts....alot....and it's more than just reputation; the reputation is there because the education you get is that much better. And it is that pedigree of the institution (and your advisor, when you finish graduate school) that will get your foot in the door. Even then.....chances are you won't be playing with aquatic bugs for employment.

And there are tons of people who want to get paid to study aquatic bugs, and do that in the PNW; gee - I would do that myself. As for the option of studying fisheries, there's a few more jobs there, but even more PhD's stacked up like cordwood applying for each and every position as they eek out an existence serving up latte's at the local StarBucks.

Of course - if your beloved comes back and says baloney, everyone who goes to OSU in entomology has a job in the field, I stand corrected. But I doubt it.
 

Krusty

Active Member
#27
Look...if TE invests heavily in himself by taking hardcore math and sciences (inorganic, organic, biochemistry, and physical chemistry )during his college freshman, sophomore, and junior years he'll have laid the foundation to whatever career direction he finally decides to choose.

How many of us knew exactly what we were going to end up actually doing when we started college? Very few, and unlike a lot of my contemporaries, he won't have closed a lot of doors very early by neglecting a rigorous education. The siren lure of easy liberal arts classes draws so many to its languid shores.
 
#28
TE, Kudos on following your interests. I'm a grad student at Eastern Washington University getting my MS in Biology. My project is studying the impacts that spawning sockeye salmon have on benthic macroinvertebrate production and community composition. The overall goal of the study is to determine if the aquatic foodweb is hearty enough to support a sustainable population of rearing salmon. Like you, I was driven to this research by my interest in aquatic invertebrates. Unfortunately, if you strictly want to be an aquatic entomologist you'll be limited to mostly lab work, like EcoAnalysts, spending 95% of your time behind a microscope (which is not much fun at all - my opinion). To do more hands-on work you'll need a more varied "toolbox," be familiar with, and able to apply water quality, stream ecology/limnology, fisheries management, and other technical skills that will make you more marketable/employable. Stick to biology/aquatic ecology/fisheries coursework and you'll be on the right track to pursue what you love. Also, volunteer whenever and wherever you can to get your foot in the door at various companies and agencies. Best of luck, let me know if you have any questions I can help with.
 

snarlac

Active Member
#30
TE, Kudos on following your interests. I'm a grad student at Eastern Washington University getting my MS in Biology. My project is studying the impacts that spawning sockeye salmon have on benthic macroinvertebrate production and community composition. The overall goal of the study is to determine if the aquatic foodweb is hearty enough to support a sustainable population of rearing salmon. Like you, I was driven to this research by my interest in aquatic invertebrates. Unfortunately, if you strictly want to be an aquatic entomologist you'll be limited to mostly lab work, like EcoAnalysts, spending 95% of your time behind a microscope (which is not much fun at all - my opinion). To do more hands-on work you'll need a more varied "toolbox," be familiar with, and able to apply water quality, stream ecology/limnology, fisheries management, and other technical skills that will make you more marketable/employable. Stick to biology/aquatic ecology/fisheries coursework and you'll be on the right track to pursue what you love. Also, volunteer whenever and wherever you can to get your foot in the door at various companies and agencies. Best of luck, let me know if you have any questions I can help with.
OP (TE) didn't ask whether it would be fun, he asked if there were jobs; and being a graduate student like CG isn't the same as being employed to do that. As to all that other stuff, WQ, limno, fish, and "other" skills (e.g., statistics etc.) - sure - you can take bunches of classes but again - does that change the question "are there jobs" that use these skills? No it does not.

The answer isn't no, but it isn't much either. Alot of those classes do no more than entertain students and give them a false feeling of qualification; stuff that really doesn't apply or qualify for jobs in the real world (ouside of academia). Methinks CG will sooner or later will realize this, hopefully before he turns 40. TE perhaps sooner.

OTOH - oh isn't grad school and class keenly interesting? Sure. If the idea is to take a decade off and learn a bunch of stuff and put off true employment till much later in life, then go ahead and do it. Just don't expect someone to hire you after all that, or even, to find many jobs to apply for. It just ain't likely to happen.

Harvard also has an excellent undergraduate and graduate school reputation generall,y and specifically in entomology, as well as in other fields. Get in there.