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As a biometrician, you are a biological statistician. As part of a team, you work with other professionals, such as biologists and foresters, to design sampling and experimental programs that address specific scientific questions. You will often be involved in analyzing, interpreting, and presenting numerical information to policy makers to inform land use and resource management decisions. You approach projects and experiments from a mathematical perspective using statistical analysis to answer questions in the biological field.
At a glanceImagine you are in a large boardroom listening intently as an evergreen pest problem is outlined. You are a biometrician; joining you around the table are an entomologist, an ecotoxicologist, and a couple of chemists. You are part of a team that will be testing a new insecticide developed to control pest populations that are damaging some of Manitoba's evergreen forests. As a biometrician, you specialize in number crunching, which means you play a vital role in developing experimental protocols. As a member of this evaluation team, you will be responsible for designing the part of the experiment that details the kind of data that will be collected, how it will be collected, and how this data will be analyzed. You approach this experiment from a mathematical perspective using statistical analysis to answer the question: does this insecticide really work? As a team, your group has put together the experiment's design, including the variables, parameters, trial size, and replication. Now you start to work on the quantitative methodology that will actually measure the effect this insecticide has on pest populations. First, you must decide what data is to be collected, for example the number of living insects as a function of time. With insect populations, though, it isn't practical to count every single one, so you must also develop a suitable method for collecting that data. Once this is done, you will also design and build a database to capture and store the data. Finally, you will use statistical theory and sophisticated modelling software to analyze and identify trends within the collected data. Your job is to mathematically interpret, extrapolate, and explain the effects this spray has had on the numbers of pests plaguing the evergreen trees.
Job dutiesDuties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a biometrician:
- Design methods of obtaining sample data, such as field surveys and experiments.
- Identify parameters or elements that define the population, ecosystem, or subject under investigation.
- Devise alternative statistical methods to deal with atypical data where traditional statistical techniques cannot be used.
- Develop and maintain databases for collecting and storing data prior to analysis.
- Prepare and verify data for analysis and sharing.
- Develop quality assurance systems to ensure the data?s integrity.
- Identify factors that could potentially affect research results and devise ways to take these factors into consideration when designing experiments.
- Create and test statistical and numerical models to test hypotheses, study system behaviour, describe trends, and identify research needs.
- Provide training on analytical methods to staff and students.
- Participate on decision-making teams or advise decision makers on the appropriate use of statistical information.
- Author and co-author reports for publication.
Work environmentBiometricians work in a variety of locations including but not limited to: In the office:
- Managing data and developing models
- Researching and analyzing data, and preparing reports and writing papers
- Presenting research results and providing advice to other scientists and decision makers
- Communicating on the phone and in meetings with clients, stakeholders, government departments, colleagues, and experts in the field
- Researching scientific literature and consulting with other professionals
- Travelling and presenting information to colleagues, stakeholders, and policy-makers
- Conducting research and visiting experiment sites
- Attending and presenting at conferences and meetings
Where to workThere are a number of places biometricians can find employment. They include:
- Federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal governments
- Environmental research and testing companies
- Environmental consulting firms
- Colleges, universities, and research institutes
- Public opinion survey firms
Education & requirementsIf you are a high school student considering a career as a biometrician, you should have strong marks or an interest in:
- Computer Science
- Environmental Science
- Computer Science
- General Science