i am from india and 15 years old..i wanna know how to become a herpetologist???i want some clarification on the following issues
1.is it possible to pursue a career in herpetology after bachelors in biotechnology??
2.what is the salary of herpetologists at bachelors,masters and doctoral degrees??
i know it is not a paying position...but is it enough to afford a decent...not lavish...life where u can afford for the basic amenities and neccessities of life.
3.are people doing post doctoral research paid any money???
4.is there any studentship money paid??
5.what positions do herpetologists generally hold (i am asking this as i came to know that becoming a proffesor is quite tough...

i would be grateful to anyone who answers????

Anurag,

You're off to a good start with the first five letters of your name!

Seriously, the best way to become a herpetologist (in Britain, at least) is to start early. If you're 15 and you think you want to do this for a living, you should by now have, or be starting to have, a good idea about the biology, habitats and identification for the various species local to you. Obviously, India has a far greater variety that the dozen native species we have, so get to know about your local 'patch', what species are there, their behaviour etc. Get out and watch them.

As to your questions, if you have a good background from being an interested amateur, the degree in Biotechnology shouldn’t necessarily hold you back. I would say, though, that if you really want to work with herptiles, a degree in zoology or equivalent may be more useful.
Question 2 I’m not sure of. Are you asking whether there are particular pay band relating to what qualifications you have? Maybe, at a higher level research post in a university, as a general ‘field worker’, probably not. I’ve seen jobs in the UK for herptile workers (with charities like Froglife or the Herpetological Conservation Trust) being paid around £18k to £20+k, which isn’t too bad for conservation work in the UK. For India, I have absolutely no idea what the wages would be like.

3 & 4: Yes, but most probably depends on which university you would do the work at.

5: Specialist herpetologists (as far as I know in the UK) either work in a university doing research on conservation or biology; some work as wranglers (I met a guy at the South East Herp Conference the other month who provided the animals for Snakes on a Plane!); some work as toxicologists studying the venom / toxins and creating anti-venins or applying them for medicinal purposes; and then you have the people that work for wildlife charities / organisations, either in a specialist herp role or just as part of their wider duties in conservation. I suppose, you could always become a consultant (and sell your soul to the devil at the same time) ;>) or, work in a zoo or wildlife park.

Probably not too much information on how things work in India I’m afraid, other contributors may have more experience of that than I!

Best of luck,

Dave.

Hi,

I hold a bachelors degree in biotechnology (or more specifically industrial sciences in biology) but am now finishing up a PhD in palaeobiology, which is as far away from biotechnology as herpetology is. So I wouldn't worry about career moves, but you may want to do a postgraduate degree in zoology with special emphasis on herpetology.

For those who don't know, I should add that herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians. It is a bit of an archaic term but is still used in biology as a convenient label.

I agree with Dave-it may be better for you to do a first
degree in zoology as opposed to biotechnology. However Manabu has first-hand experience
in being able to make career moves outside of biotech having done that as a first
degree.

Unfortunately there is very little money in science and
research in India and most of it is in pharmaceutical/medical research. This is
in part due to the rather unfortunate belief of people that any other kind of
research is pointless.

On the brighter side, a good amount of money is now coming
in from international charities like the WWF but these tend to be on a project
specific basis.  

I believe Sri Lanka has quite a big turtle conservation
programme.

As Dave suggested it’s a great idea to develop a good
background as an interested amateur. Volunteering at your local zoo/national
park is a good way to do this. They may well be attached to an educational institute
through which you may be able to gain qualifications and get information and
advice.