Phoebe is a passionate champion of hope and change in distressingly turbulent times. She currently works in the USA as chief science and policy officer of the Conservation Biology Institute, affiliate full professor of the University of Washington, and honorary research associate of the ACDI and FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at UCT. Previously, Phoebe has been senior consultant to the Center for Large Landscape Conservation (2018), executive director of the Pacific Biodiversity Institute (2017-18), principal and lead scientist of the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s Climate Change Bioadaptation Program (2005-16) and founding head of its Biodiversity Futures Program (2015-16). Prior to that, she founded and directed national biodiversity (1994-2003) and, simultaneously, climate change programs (1999) for the Government of the Republic of Namibia. At UCT and SANBI, she led an international and interdisciplinary global change ecology team of postdocs, PhD and MSc students as well as coworkers from the universities of Durham, Cambridge University/ RSPB, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Peninsula Technology, and Queensland. Their work shed light on patterns of biodiversity and endemism, past, present and future in southern Africa, and on endemic bird vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in fragmented, fire-prone landscapes.
She has worked on diverse sustainability and biodiversity issues, large and small -- from ecoregional and national biodiversity and climate change strategic planning, policy and implementation, and the global status and trends of ecosystems and their ability to support human health, livelihoods and wellbeing, to ecological vulnerability and adaptation studies on endemic species of the fynbos biome. Phoebe now concentrates on ecological connectivity, policy change, human behaviour change and media as a way for as many species as possible to get through the gauntlet of the next few hundred years of dangerous climate change.
Link to climate change & development:
Phoebe works at multiple levels - planetary, continental, national, ecoregional, population, and ecological community and population levels. She increasingly works on environmental futures and sustainability tipping points, including transformation of the economy and impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, including species not of economic importance but significant in ecological function and ecosystem services to humanity.
Link to ACDI:
Phoebe co-supervises PhD student Lavinia Perumal (2016-19) with Mark New and IIASA collaborators Matthias Jonas and Wei Liu. Through 2016, she led the ACDI-affiliated project on fynbos endemic birds under climate and land use change, and co-supervised ACDI MSc student Beth Mackay (2011-12).