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Department of Zoology



I previously studied the BA in Natural Sciences (Zoology) at the University of Cambridge (graduated 2015) and the MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation at the University of East Anglia (graduated 2017). I worked on a range of research projects often co-supervised by conservation organisations, including working with BirdLife International and the RSPB to explore the conservation implications of a major taxonomic revision of the world’s birds.

For the past four years, I have been working as a Global Science Technical Officer at BirdLife International. Here I applied a wide range of datasets to tackle conservation issues and inform BirdLife’s work, with a particular focus on site-based conservation (particularly IBAs, KBAs and protected areas), global biodiversity indicators, land cover change and forest conservation.

I am excited to bring together my academic and professional experience in my PhD, working with the Conservation Science and Conservation Evidence team, funded by the NERC C-CLEAR DTP.


I have a wide range of research interests within Zoology; I am particularly interested in applying science in conservation, to better understand threats to species and how to conserve them. I am also interested in leveraging the wealth of available data and using new technologies and techniques to help improve existing biodiversity knowledge, and to make conservation practice more effective.

For my PhD, I will be working with the Conservation Science and Conservation Evidence group and with a range of conservation organisations (both within and outside CCI), leveraging a range of available datasets to determine the most effective ways to conserve species. This project will determine what factors predict the effectiveness of conservation actions, and this will be used to model the most suitable conservation action for many species across a range of different taxa. The outputs will hopefully help inform conservation decision making.


Key publications: 

Simkins, A.T., Donald, P.F., Beresford, A.E., Butchart, S.H.M., Fa, J.E., Fernández‐Llamazares, Á., Garnett, S.T. and Buchanan, G.M., 2023. Rates of tree cover loss in key biodiversity areas within Indigenous Peoples’ lands. Conservation Biology.

Simkins, A.T., Beresford, A.E., Buchanan, G.M., Crowe, O., Elliott, W., Izquierdo, P., Patterson, D.J. and Butchart, S.H., 2023. A global assessment of the prevalence of current and potential future infrastructure in Key Biodiversity Areas. Biological Conservation, 281, p.109953.

Simkins, A.T., Buchanan, G.M., Davies, R.G. and Donald, P.F., 2020. The implications for conservation of a major taxonomic revision of the world’s birds. Animal Conservation, 23(4), pp.345-352.

Simkins, A., Buchanan, G., Davies, R. and Donald, P., 2020. Shifting boundaries: taxonomy and site based conservation. Animal Conservation, 23(4), pp.357-358.

Other publications: 

Crowe, O., Beresford, A.E., Buchanan, G.M., Grantham, H.S., Simkins, A.T., Watson, J.E. and Butchart, S.H., 2023. A global assessment of forest integrity within Key Biodiversity Areas. Biological Conservation, 286, p.110293.

Crowe, O., Crosby, M., De La Paz, M.B.E., de la Rosa, G.E., Gowae, G.Y., Gurung, H., Kumpel, N., Hani, T., Lee, E.L., Panopio, J.K. and Perumal, B., 2023. The role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in assessment of forest condition, pressures and conservation actions at key forest sites in tropical Asia and New Guinea. International Forestry Review, 25(2), pp.147-162.

Frick, W.F., Frick, W.F., Cooke, S.J., Dickson, I., Jackson, H.A., Keller, K.E., De la Luz, A., Parks, D., McPherson, T., Simkins, A.T. and Tanshi, I., 2022. 11. Creating a culture of evidence use. Transforming conservation. Open Book Publishers.

Tinsley-Marshall, P., Downey, H., Adum, G., Al-Fulaij, N., Bourn, N.A., Brotherton, P.N., Frick, W.F., Hancock, M.H., Hellon, J., Hudson, M.A. and Kortland, K., 2022. Funding and delivering the routine testing of management interventions to improve conservation effectiveness. Journal for Nature Conservation, 67, p.126184.

Luther, D., Cooper, W.J., Wong, J., Walker, M., Farinelli, S., VisserenHamakers, I., Burfield, I.J., Simkins, A., Bunting, G., Brooks, T.M. and Dicks, K., 2021. Conservation actions benefit the most threatened species: A 13year assessment of Alliance for Zero Extinction species. Conservation Science and Practice, 3(10), p.e510.

Postgraduate Student

Contact Details

Room 3.01 David Attenborough Building Pembroke Street Cambridge CB2 3QZ