A motorist admitted she "just didn't see" a renowned conservationist on his bicycle before the crash in which he lost his life.
Dr Anthony Whitten, 64, suffered fatal injuries in the collision in Cambridge on 29 November 2017.
Emma Featherstone, 56, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving at Cambridge Crown Court.
A police spokesman said the incident had been "completely avoidable".
The court heard Ms Featherstone, of Eachard Road in Cambridge, turned right out of Sun Street into Newmarket Road at about 21:15 GMT.
Dr Whitten, of Gilbert Road in the city, was cycling across the road when the crash happened.
Described as a "giant of the conservation world", the zoologist was a senior advisor with Fauna and Flora International - one of the world's oldest conservation groups.
He is commemorated in the scientific names of 11 species that he championed, including geckos and beetles.
Ms Featherstone was interviewed at the scene and admitted being the driver of the car - but claimed she "just didn't see" the cyclist, police said.
She said she turned right at the junction while in first gear.
A collision investigation report concluded Ms Featherstone had failed to look adequately before pulling out of the junction.
PC Paul Gale said: "It's incredibly sad when we have to attend incidents where drivers have made a mistake resulting in tragedy.
"We attend these kinds of incidents far too often and many are completely avoidable."
Ms Featherstone was handed a 12-month community order, a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and has to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
She was also disqualified from driving for 18 months.