Zuzana Burivalova joined the UW–Madison faculty in August 2019 as an assistant professor with the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology and with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
Where did you grow up?
I come from a small village in the Czech Republic. I grew up in the Czech Republic and left as a teenager to study in the UK as a part of a scholarship program.
What is your educational/professional background?
I studied biology at Oxford University, then worked for a while at the United Nations Environment Programme while getting my master’s degree in environmental science at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. I then did my Ph.D. at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, focusing on tropical forest ecology and conservation.
What was your previous position?
Most recently, I was a NatureNet Science Fellow at Princeton University and The Nature Conservancy.
How did you get into your field of research?
I was always fascinated by tropical forests, and my opportunity came through doing my master thesis with researchers from the Botanical Gardens in Geneva, who sent me to a remote place in Madagascar to study the flora there. After just one day in the tropical dry and wet forests, I knew that this is what I would want to study and protect for the rest of my life.
What is the main goal of your current research program?
I am trying to make biodiversity conservation in tropical forests more effective. This means I research which strategies work, which ones fail, and why. I use new technologies, like bioacoustics, to make biodiversity monitoring easier.
What attracted you to UW-Madison?
The large number of world class ecologists and conservation scientists.
What was your first visit to campus like?
It was extremely cold in terms of the weather and extremely warm in terms of the welcome I received.
What are you hobbies/other interests?
Rock climbing, camping in tropical forests and being woken up by all the animal sounds in the morning.