Women in Science: the research fellow

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Meet some of ZSL's female researchers and conservationists to discover more about their roles and what advice they would give anyone interested in pursuing a career in conservation science.

Monika Böhm is a research fellow within the Institute of Zoology at ZSL. 

IoZ Research Fellow Monika Bohm

What does your job involve? 

A lot of deskwork!  I pull together a lot of data to figure out how threatened (at risk of extinction) different species are and why some are more threatened than others, and what we can do about it.  I focus mainly on those critters that have been less well studied, and that’s generally non-furry and non-feathery things like reptiles, butterflies and dung beetles, snails and mussels, to name a few.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in conservation science?

Good question!  When I was a kid I really wanted to be an archaeologist – or the person waving cars onto a ferry.  Joking aside, I wasn’t particularly good in science subjects at school (apart from biology), but I’ve been fascinated by the natural world as long as I can remember.  Then I found out that I could study for a zoology degree (with some ecology thrown in for good measure), minimising those science subjects that scared me a bit more, and I thought I might as well give it a try.  I haven’t looked back since!

What's the best thing about your job?

The best thing is that I get to work on a lot of different species, from animals with many legs to those with only one foot (snails), from the scaly to the furry, from those that move a lot and far to those that are stuck in one particular spot. And with all of these amazing species come amazing species experts from all over the world, that I get to work with and learn from all the time…and become friends with!

What advice would you give anyone wanting to work in conservation science?

Do it!  It requires a lot of hard work, studying and dedication, but I think it’s the best job ever!

Taking a break from assessing the extinction risk of South American dung beetles.
Taking a break from assessing the extinction risk of South American dung beetles.

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