14th March 2016 – Daniella Rabaiotti, IoZ and UCL CBER

Dani RabaiottiI am a zoologist currently completing a PhD on the effect of climate change on African wild dogs – Lycaon pictus – between the Institute of Zoology at ZSL and UCL CBER (That’s the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment  Research). My office is in London Zoo, which is somewhat frustrating because when I studied zoology at undergraduate everyone used to ask ‘do you want to work in a zoo?’ and I used to say ‘no I want to work in research, zoology doesn’t really have much to do with zoos’. Little did I know I’d be doing both. It is also pretty awesome though, because I get to visit the animals in my lunch break.

In short, my current research takes GPS collared wild dogs and uses the data from the collars to look at how temperature affects their behaviour and reproduction. This is then modelled in all sorts of ways to look at potential effect on population numbers and species distribution under different climate change scenarios. I spend some time in the field (don’t worry I’ll be sharing plenty of cool photos) and a lot of my time sitting at a computer running statistical models using R (less cool photos available but some screenshots of R may make an appearance).  The main aims of the project are to see where will be best to focus conservation efforts for wild dogs in the future, as well as to investigate how much data you really need to adequately model climate change impacts on a species.

My research interests are all things conservation related, and on the side I love a bit of science and environment policy. Previously in my career I mainly worked on bats – in the UK, Kenya and South America – and urban foxes. So I’ve managed to unintentionally work almost exclusively on species that could give me rabies.

Expect wild dog facts, pictures of animals, statistics, and biodiversity and conservation based tweets.

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