Dr Fiona Danks

Department name
Department of Geography
Tutor for Graduate Students


I am a physical geographer and an ecologist, with a past research focus in the Arctic, using GIS and remote sensing to assess climate change and resource development issues. I work in global biodiversity science and hold an additional position as Head of the Science Programme at UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). Current key work includes efforts to map environmental and biodiversity impacts of global infrastructure and road development; better understand use of remote sensing in global protected areas (e.g., national parks), and engagement in efforts to incorporate environmental measures into global poverty indices to be able to better reduce and eliminate poverty.

My first degree was in Geography and Environmental & Evolutionary Biology (Dartmouth College, NH, USA). Much of my academic work since then applied spatial tools to ecological problems, combining a love of nature with an interest in maps and spatial assessment. My Masters research was on the development of current and predictive GIS habitat models for muskoxen, in light of potential oil and resource development (University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA). I completed my PhD at the Scott Polar Research Institute (Cambridge) on the potential effects of climate change on reindeer habitat in the Barents region. Following that, I moved to Svalbard, Norway where I managed the Norwegian Polar Institute's research station in Ny-Ă…lesund. I returned to Cambridge University for an MPhil in Conservation Leadership and since then have worked at UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre on global biodiversity and nature conservation.