Wetland Biologist

Wetland biologists study the life and conditions of life that exist within wetlands, both plant and animal. They have a thorough understanding of the wetlands environment and can work in various roles within that environment. Some of their roles and responsibilities include researching wetlands areas, observing plants and animals and collecting data and samples from the field.

At a Glance

Imagine you are standing in the middle of a wetland that was once a thriving home to a diverse selection of plant and animal species. There are many programs in place in Canada to preserve existing wetlands; you’re in charge of this one. As a wetland biologist, you will use your knowledge of wetland processes to design a program to restore the area.

You comprehensively understand these ecosystems and the plants and animals that rely on them. You’ve gained this understanding through your research into wetland processes. You assess habitats and identify and monitor a variety of species within wetlands. You also work to educate the public on the importance of wetlands and how they can help.

You spend time in a variety of work environments. In the field, you collect data and samples from wetlands. In the lab, you analyze the data and samples that were collected from the wetland. In the office, you interpret information, develop project proposals, and coordinate resources to implement the project.

Job Duties

Duties vary from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties that wetland biologists might encounter:

  • Assess the health of wetland ecosystems, identify any factors that may be causing environmental degradation, and determine the level of protection that is needed.
  • Develop plans to manage wetland resources, including restoration and protection plans.
  • Implement restoration projects, such as re-establishing native plant communities, controlling invasive species, and stabilizing eroding shorelines.
  • Conduct research to understand the ecological processes and interactions that occur within wetland ecosystems and use the information to improve wetland management.
  • Educate the public about the importance of wetland protection and restoration and may work with community groups to involve them in restoration projects.
  • Conduct assessments, monitoring, and implementing wetland restoration projects.
  • Collaborate with engineers, hydrologists, and environmental consultants to develop and implement wetland restoration and management projects.
  • Write reports to document findings and communicate results to stakeholders.
  • Understand and adhere to local, state, and federal wetland protection and management regulations.

Work Environment

Wetland biologists work in various locations:

The lab:

  • Collecting and analyzing soil and water samples
  • Conducting genetic analysis
  • Conducting experiments
  • Growing and propagating wetland plants
  • Monitoring the health of wetland plants and animals
  • Data analysis and report writing
  • Laboratory safety protocol adherence

The office:

  • Interpreting information and environmental indicators
  • Developing project proposals
  • Drafting research papers, academic literature, and scientific reports
  • Coordinating resources to implement projects
  • Preparing presentations and educational workshops
  • Assessing and assuming risk

The field:

  • Collecting data and samples
  • Observing plants and animals in wetland areas
  • Monitoring species at risk
  • Servicing and testing equipment
  • Monitoring water conditions


Where to Work

There are several places where wetland biologists can find employment. They include:

  • Federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal government departments
  • Government regulatory agencies
  • Firms in landscape architecture, planning, and land development
  • Conservation organizations
  • Environmental groups

Search for jobs on the ECO Canada Job Board.

Education and Skills


If you are a high school student considering a career as a wetland biologist, you should have a background or interest in:

  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Botany
  • Ecology

Furthermore, most wetland biology positions are in research and require a graduate degree. The following postsecondary programs are most applicable for a career in wetland biology:

  • Wildlife Biology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Zoology
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science

In most cases, an undergraduate degree from an accredited post-secondary institution is required to pursue a career in wetland biology. Furthermore, many wetland biologist positions involve research and require a graduate degree.

Biologists are regulated in Alberta and British Columbia

Our Environmental Professional (EP) designation can also help you progress in your chosen environmental career.


Technical Skills

  • Technical writing
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Environmental data analysis
  • Field assessments
  • Data modelling
  • Environmental management
  • Landscape architecture

Personal and Professional Skills

  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Oral and written communication
  • Organizational skills
  • Leadership
  • A high degree of autonomy

Environmental employers seek professionals who combine technical knowledge with personal and professional skills. Watch our free webinar “Essential Not Optional: Skills Needed to Succeed in Canada’s Environmental Industry” or take our Essential Skills courses.

Role Models

Your Impact

Wetland biology is a biology subfield that studies plants and animals that call the wetlands their home. Specifically, wetland biologists are concerned about the relationship between the broader wetland ecosystem and how changes to this ecosystem affect the well-being of plant and animal species that call this ecosystem home.

Wetland biologists are invaluable for maintaining and restoring wetland ecosystems that have been affected by climate change. In restoring wetland ecosystems, wetland biologists actively participate in urban planning, community engagement, and educational initiatives and advise in policy development and implementation.

Occupational Classification

Wetland biologists are classified in the following occupational grouping:

NOC Code: 21110 - Biologists and related scientists

What is an NOC Code?

The National Occupation Classification (NOC) provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market. It gives statisticians, labour market analysts, career counsellors, employers, and individual job seekers a consistent way to collect data and describe and understand the nature of work within different occupations.

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