Mammalogists are wildlife biologists who specialize in the study of mammals. Ranging from tiny shrews to the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale, the field of mammalogy encompasses a diverse range of creatures that have colonized every habitat on the planet. Mammalogists conduct research to understand how these animals evolved, how they breed, feed and interact with their environment, and how they are affected by human activity. A mammalogist’s pay is comparable with that of other specialist wildlife biologists.
For its May 2010 survey of employment throughout the country, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics classified mammalogists alongside other wildlife biology specialists and zoologists. It reported that the average salary across the field was $61,660. Calculated from data supplied by 17,440 practitioners, this is equal to a monthly wage of $5,138 and an hourly rate of $29.64. Earners within the top 10 percent bracket received more than $93,450, while those in the bottom 10 percent earned less than $35,660 on average per year.
Salary by Industry
The North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research reports average salaries in different areas of the wildlife biology industry in which mammalogists work. Within universities, mammalogy professors earned between $18,000 and $60,000, dependent on experience. Within zoos, the average was given as between $10,000 and $50,000, dependent on seniority and experience, while mammalogists working for federal government agencies typically earn between $20,000 and $30,000 per year.
Salary by Geography
The District of Columbia topped the table in the bureau’s survey of wildlife biologist salaries across states. It had an average salary, calculated from all industry sectors, of $106,540. Maryland and Massachusetts were also lucrative locations, averaging $97,370 and $88,550, respectively. Alaska was reported at $63,890, Idaho at $63,280 and Wyoming at $54,400. Barnstable Town in Massachusetts and the Washington, Arlington, Alexandria area of District of Columbia were among the metropolitan districts with the best pay rates -- $115,160 and $96,200, respectively. The Portland, Vancouver, Beaverton area of Oregon was listed at $70,940, while Lewiston, Idaho was reported at $49,860.
Employment opportunities for mammalogists should be reasonably abundant in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that across the biological science, employment will grow by around 21 percent over the time from 2008 to 2018. Mammalogy may not experience such high growth given its relatively small size as a field of expertise, but increases in biological technology and federal research funding should benefit mammalogists' prospects and keep salary levels for the role competitive. The bureau does, however, caution that competition for entry-level research positions is likely to be keen.