Statisticians have a background in Mathematics and Statistics which they use to calculate probabilities. When they combine this with knowledge of ecology and biodiversity, they can specialise in calculating useful probabilities in the behaviour of whole populations of plant and animal species.
A key advantage of this career is that it plays an important role in helping to deal with some of the key issues that face our society and our planet, such as climate change, flooding and the loss of biodiversity.
An environmental statistician’s job inherently cuts across different areas of expertise (hydrology, ecology, climate science) so there is the opportunity for having a varied workload.
Environmental and ecological data present many challenging statistical problems and new issues are constantly arising as new data collection technologies are developed (satellite imaging, electronic tagging, gene sequencing) – environmental statistics can, therefore, be an exciting and intellectually stimulating field in which to work.
Statisticians working in this sector may tackle problems in areas such as the following:
• research institutes such as SAIAB, SANBI and SAEON
• universities, where they also teach
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Tanzania), National University of Lesotho, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Sokoine University of Agriculture, University of Botswana, University of Johannesburg, University of Malawi (Chancellor College), University of Namibia, University of Stellenbosch, University of Swaziland