About Me

Trying to have a bonding moment with a very stunned Leach’s Storm-petrel

I’ve spent my career fostering my life-long adoration of the natural world. My privilege has brought me to all seven continents, studying birds and wildlife, and connecting with the most amazing communities of people. I can still close my eyes and picture the magic of being surrounded by millions of screaming seabirds under total darkness in the middle of the Bering sea; spending months with hundreds of thousands of Adelie penguins; and seeing elephants cooling themselves in the mud on a hot day in South Africa.

And yet, I’ve also spent my career exploring the severity of the global biodiversity crisis.  Studying the rapid rate at which we’re losing species and the wide-spread distribution of land-use change, invasive species, and pollutants.

My love for the natural world, an understanding of the gravity of biodiversity loss, and becoming a mom, has resulted in a dedication to research that aims to guide and mobilize conservation solutions. Moreover, in coming to terms with my position of privilege and the ongoing pervasive racism in conservation, I strive to create an ethical space in my research and amplify a diversity of voices.

I am an Assistant Professor at Carleton University and much of my research here has been in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada. I helped assemble a team of scientists and policy makers to examine Canada’s science needs to meet 2020 Aichi Biodiversity targets. My research also examines how to balance research, monitoring, and action for threatened species conservation.

From 2015-2019 I was a postdoctoral research fellow at Colorado State University, where my research used large-scale acoustic recordings to tackle soundscape conservation issues. My postdoc was under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service, where I collaborated with a large team of engineers, park managers, students, and scientists known as the Sound and Light Ecology Team.

I completed my PhD the University of Otago in New Zealand where I studied bicultural coastal ecosystem ecology and restoration.  My research examined the spatial and temporal patterns of seabird population recovery after the removal of introduced rats on northern offshore islands, in collaboration with the Department of Conservation, Landcare Research, and local iwi.

My ultimate goal is to provide research that can inform conservation and restoration management and mentor the next generation of conservation leaders. Moreover, in recognizing my own privilege and how my career has benefited from it – I’m passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion in science and conservation. Science, like most things in life, benefits from listening to diverse voices and I’m constantly striving to foster an inclusive scientific environment.

Interests: travelling, hiking, surfing, birdwatching, music, photography, climbing, hanging out with my family (now featuring a 4 year old toddler and 4 month old baby!)


Hiking in Canyonlands NP – a key biodiversity area, and one of the most spectacular places!

Skills: remote field camp leadership, statistical and acoustic software, student mentoring, capacity building, inter-disciplinary collaboration, scientific writing, sci comm, quantitative analysis, scuba diving, fluent in French and English

Contact: email: Rachel.Buxton ‘at’ carleton ‘dot’ ca

Find me on twitter: @buxton_rachel

Resume: Updated resume 2021