Dani Rabaiotti

PhD student studying the effect of climate change on African wild dogs.


I am currently PhD student with the Institute of Zoology at ZSL and the Center for Biodiversity and Environmental Research at UCL, funded through the London NERC DTP. Research areas I am interested in include global change biology, behavioural ecology, movement ecology  and spatial ecology. I am also a New York Times best-selling author, also have a keen interest in, and experience of, science policy and science communication.

What is my research?

My research is on the effect of climate change on African wild dogs, Lycaon pictus, from an individual to species level. I use long term data on the species to model temperature impacts ranging from behaviour and mortality to population level effects, working towards a spatially explicit species wide model. The aim of this research is both to inform future conservation strategy for the species and to provide a new, mechanistic, approach to assessing climate change vulnerability in individual species.

Research questions examined so far include impacts of temperature and rainfall on behaviour and mortality as well as population modelling. I am currently completing a spatially explicit species-wide model of the species under climate change.

What else have I done?


I am the New York Times bestselling author of two popular science books – Does It Fart? and True or Poo?. Both focus on educating people about the animal kindom and a humorous and gross way. Through both the books and my research I have spoken at numerous science outreach events including NHM lates, Pub Science and Soapbox Science.

I have built up a sizeable Twitter following since becoming active in 2015, with over 10,000 followers leading to a million impressions each month. I use this platform to disseminate my research, talk about life as a PhD student, discuss coding and research methods, and distribute facts and prompt discussions about the natural world – including a weekly #wilddogfact.

I am a contributor to BBC Wildlife Magazine and The Verge and have appeared in articles in Nature News and Comment, Gizmodo, Washington Post, the BBC, The Atlantic, Forbes, the Verge, The Times, and and Buzzfeed. I have done television, radio and podcast appearances including Science Friday, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC West Midlands, Your Morning, As It Happens and Brains On!.


I have a keen interest in policy, particularly science and environmental policy. I  worked in the policy and campaigns team at the National Autistic Society prior to my PhD, and have completed two policy placements during my PhD. The first involved working in parliament as the BES POST Fellow, and the second was an RCUK placement in the policy team at the Royal Society. On top of this I have been involved in running a number of policy events through BES and ZSL.


Prior to my PhD I undertook an MRes in Biodversity and Conservation at the University of Leeds, working with John Altringham and Steve Sait looking at the diversity and abundance of bat species in the Taita hills, Kenya, which contributed to the field guide for the area. I also undertook a project on habitat suitability mapping of bat species in the Yorkshire Dales.

My undergraduate degree was at Bristol University where my major research projects were contributing additional data to a paper looking at flight speed in molossid bats and a dissertation project that involved radiotracking foxes and running around Bristol in the dead of night spraying artificial fox urine around. This taught me key skills in interacting with the public and police.


I worked as an ecological consultant alongside my studies for three years, as well as carrying out pollinator surveys throughout my undergraduate degree. I have also worked in market research and in retail.