Katarzyna Nowak has studied the behavior and conservation of wild primates and elephants in Africa, and recently observed our human (primate) behavior on the streets of Washington D.C. as a 2016-2017 Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Her research interests include the capacity of threatened species to adapt to change; improving human-wildlife co-existence using innovative approaches such as beehive fences; the role of flooded habitats especially mangroves in providing refuge to primates and other species; and the use of available evidence to inform wildlife conservation policies.
Apart from more than two dozen book chapters and scientific publications in journals such as Oryx, Biological Conservation, International Journal of Primatology and Behavioral Ecology, she has written about wildlife trade policy for a South African think tank and about conservation on a human scale for the Solutions journal. She has also contributed articles to popular outlets on a variety of topics including most recently Tanzania’s conservation tracker dogs for bioGraphic, Cape fur seal trade for National Geographic, and South Africa’s rhino poaching crisis for The American Scholar.
She is now developing a participatory science project that will use community photography to address questions about possible changes in the timing of coat shedding in an iconic North American species – the mountain goat, which ranges from Colorado to the Yukon. One goal of this project is to test the extent to which we can look back in time and track change using photographs from visitors, staff, and volunteers of National Parks in U.S. and Canada; another is to raise both public awareness and scientific knowledge of climatic warming; finally, the team aims to document adaptation in an alpine mammal including through shifts in its phenology in response to thermal change.
Katarzyna earned her BA in Animal Behavior at Bucknell University and PhD in Biological Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. She has held postdoctoral research positions in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University (U.S.), Evolutionary Anthropology at Durham University (UK), and in Zoology and Entomology at the University of the Free State (South Africa), where she is still a Research Associate. She’s also a scientific advisor to the Southern Tanzania Elephant Program.
She’s currently based on the Front Range in northern Colorado, where she was a Visiting Scientist at Colorado State University.
Notable works, coverage and accomplishments
(cover photo: Windy Arm of Tagish Lake, Yukon, Canada. Looking for signs of mountain goats. ©Atsushi Sugimoto; headshot: courtesy Katarzyna Nowak)