environmental specialisms

Have you ever wondered what an expert of snails or of bats is called? Read on to discover all manner of interesting and unusual names for specialists of environmental subjects and the natural world.

If you study people you are an anthropologist, but if you investigate fish you are an ichthyologist, while if you are into soils you are a pedologist. Did you know there are specific names for experts of individual trees (arborists) vs. forests (silvologists)? Just don’t confuse an insect specialist, or entomologist, with what you will become by reading this, namely an etymologist (someone who studies words)!

Here’s the list of more than 50 different names for those who study different aspects of the environment and natural world.

specialist nameenvironmental specialism
acarologistticks and mites (i.e. a branch of entomology)
aerologistair
agrostologistgrasses
agronomistagricultural crops
araneologistspiders (i.e. a branch of entomology)
arboriculturist or arboristindividual trees (cf. silvologist)
autecologista single species of an organism (i.e. a branch of ecology) (cf. syecologist)
bacteriologistbacteria
biologistgeneral biology
botanistflowering plants
bryologistmosses, liverworts, and hornworts (cf. lichenologist, pteridologist)
cetologistwhales, dolphins, and porpoises
chiropterologistbats
climatologistclimate (cf. meteorologist)
coleoptorologistbeetles (i.e. a branch of entomology)
conchologistshells and molluscs
dendrochronologisttree rings (dating of wood)
dipteristflies (i.e. a branch of entomology)
ecologistall branches of ecology
ethnobotanistcustoms and uses of plants by humans (i.e. a branch of botany)
ethologistanimal behaviour
environmentalistenvironment
entomologistinsects (all types)
epidemiologistdiseases
formicologistants (i.e. a branch of entomology)
geologistrocks and earth processes over time
glaciologistglaciers
heliologistthe sun
helminthologistworms, especially parasitic worms (i.e. a branch of zoology)
herpetologistamphibians (e.g. frogs, snails, newts) and reptiles (e.g. snakes, lizards)
hydrologistwater (not only ecological properties) (cf. limnologist)
ichthyologistfish
limnologistfresh water (i.e. a branch of ecology)
lepidopteristbutterflies and moths
lichenologistlichens (i.e. a branch of mycology)
lithologistrocks (i.e. a branch of geology)
malacologistmolluscs (e.g. snails, clams, octopuses etc.)
mammalogistmammals (i.e. a branch of zoology)
melittologistbees (i.e. a branch of entomology)
meteorologistweather (cf. climatologist)
mycologistfungi
marine biologistmarine ecology
nephologistclouds (i.e. a branch of meteorology)
odonatologistdragonflies, damselflies (e.g. a branch of entomology)
oologisteggs
orchidologistorchids (i.e. a branch of botany)
ornithologistbirds
orthopterologistgrasshoppers and crickets (i.e. a branch of entomology)
palaeoecologisthistorical environmental conditions (i.e. a branch of ecology)
palynologistpollen
parasitologistparasites
pedologistsoils
phenologisttiming of natural processes
phycologistalgae
pomologistfruit
primatologistprimates (e.g. apes, chimpanzees, lemurs, monkeys etc.)
pteridologistferns, horsetails, clubmosses, and quillworts (cf. bryologist)
scatologistanimal droppings or faeces (i.e. a branch of zoology)
sexologistsex
silvologistforests and forest ecosystems (cf. arborist and arboriculturist)
synecologistentire ecosystems (i.e. a branch of ecology) (cf. autecology)
thanatologistdeath
toxicologistpoisons
virologistviruses
xylologistwood (cf. dendrologist)
zoologistanimals and their behaviour
A list of environmental specialists

Do you think I’ve missed any? If so, please leave a comment below and I will update the table.

2 Comments

  1. Author

    Good spot Dr Mills – took your ‘time’ but now you’re running ‘rings’ round me!

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