Nathalie Pettorelli

had a great time and will miss the questions and the chat! Good luck to Paula & Katy - they both very much deserve to win

Favourite Thing: There are many things I enjoy about my work, going from finding solutions and make things go forward to spending time searching for animals



I attended several schools in France, where I did all my studies


I studied Biology and statistical modelling at the University of Strasbourg, Paris and Lyon

Work History:

I worked in France (I did my PhD in Lyon), Norway (Oslo), Canada (Quebec city) and then started at the Zoological Society of London


Zoological Society of London

Current Job:

I’m a research fellow

Me and my work

I’m a conservation biologist: my work consists in helping protecting biodiversity and investigating the effects of climate change on animals

The core of my research focuses on trying to predict the effects of environmental change (such as climate change) on animal populations, in particular by exploring how satellite data can be used to predict such effects.
A second angle of my research is devoted to carnivore conservation, which is developped through collaborations with the Serengeti cheetah project and the Tanzania Carnivore Centre (see
Carnivores have high economical, ecological and cultural values yet their conservation is challenging in the face of habitat loss and increased conflict with human populations.
My work consists in helping unveiling details about carnivore ecology that are still unknown (such as where they are, how they reproduce, or what they eat) in order to help their management and conservation. Can you identify the species below?

My Typical Day

Fix problems, discover new problems, think about solutions to new problems

A typical day can involve analysing data, writing articles to explain what I found for other researchers to know what’s going on and what we do, writing grant proposals to get funding to develop my research (through e.g., employing research assistants or providing PhD studentships to students aiming to become researchers), so I spend quite some time in front of a computer
It also involves meeting with collaborators in the UK and abroad to develop new ideas or presenting my results in conferences and seminars.
Sometimes, it can also involve teaching to students in universities or explaining what I do at our education centre. And when I’m really lucky, it involves doing some field work and watching animals in their naturals settings 🙂

What I'd do with the money

I’d visit schools that supported me

If I win, this would be because of students and schools supporting me- the least I can do is to come and say thanks. I think £500 should allow me to visit a lot of schools, and I think this would provide a fantastic opportunity to talk about what we do, how we do it, as well as presenting some of the fantastic animals we study.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Open-minded, passionate, stubborn

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Definitively U2

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Sleeping in a tent in the middle of the Serengeti

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Be happy, live long (so much to do and see!), be healthy

What did you want to be after you left school?

What I’m doing now

Were you ever in trouble at school?

I was not an easy student and I was not very good at following rules

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Travelled all over the world

Tell us a joke.

I’m rubbish at jokes – I never remember them, and the one I remember isn’t funny when not told in front of people