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Dr Ilona Kater

Dr Ilona Kater

Teaching Associate in Human Geography

Arctic ecologist interested in human-environment interactions and use of multiple forms of knowledge within research



Ilona attended the University of Stirling and University of Alaska Fairbanks, receiving a BSc (Hons) in Ecology. Her research focused on human-wildlife interactions, specifically that of otters and fish farms in the Shetland Islands. This was followed by research into carbon fluxes in tundra soils, linked to processes of Arctic 'greening' and Arctic 'browning', with the University of Stirling.

She did her PhD studies with the Durham Arctic Research Centre for Training and Interdisciplinary Collaboration (DurhamARCTIC). This research focused on how reindeer in Northern Europe are being affected by changes to the physical environment around them due to novel weather patterns and industrial development, alongside changes to the human environment related to the relationship between Indigenous Saami reindeer herders and the respective states where they reside. This research is interdisclipinary, using both biological and anthropological methods to allow for a greater and more relevant understanding of a system in which human influence is often inseparable from biological phenomena occurring there.

She is interested more generally in the relationships between rural and Indigenous communities with the wildlife and landscape around them, as well as broader aspects of Arctic Ecology and Geography.


  • Course coordinator for Geography Tripos Part II, Paper 2: Geographies of the Arctic
  • Lecturer for MPhil in Polar Studies
  • Supervisor for MPhil and undergraduate dissertations
  • Teaching lab and field skills in the Department of Biosciences (University of Durham)
  • Teaching on level 3 fieldcourse: The Arctic, in the Department of Geography (University of Durham)

External activities