Professor Colleen Downs

Academic research must add value to conservation

6 March 2018


Prof Downs sees herself as “an academic who crosses the gap between academia and applied conservation”.


Prof Colleen Downs is passionate about research and conservation and believes that research must contribute to conservation. She sees herself as “an academic who crosses the gap between academia and applied conservation”. She is currently a university fellow and professor at the school of life sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus, and holds an NRF SARChI Research Chair in Ecosystem Health and Biodiversity in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. As a terrestrial vertebrate biologist, with broad and interdisciplinary research interests, she focuses on how land use and climate change influence the physiology and behaviour of birds, reptiles and mammals. Her other interests include science education and developing research capacity at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. (Read more about her in the Mail & Guardian article. Mail & Guardian is an NSTF media partner.)