Cleo Graf, Dr

Cleo Graf , Dr

Manager: Research and Development Department

What I love about this college is it’s openness to change, willingness to embrace inclusivity, and efforts to promote sustainability across the landscape.


As a child in England she dreamed of warm places with wild areas. After finishing her honours and master’s degrees in the UK, she took part in a conservation program in East Africa in 1999 and has never looked back.  As an ecologist she has lived and worked all over southern Africa in some amazing conservation areas. Despite these awesome experiences she has also witnessed first-hand the many of problems facing conservation in Africa.

After finishing her PhD, she went looking for work that felt like fun, is meaningful, and which allowed her to live more or less in the bush. That’s when she found the SAWC.

“I really like puzzles and problem solving so I LOVE my job coordinating research for the College’s Applied Learning Unit. I have the opportunity to think about, and address, loads of interesting and real world problems being faced by people, plants, wildlife, livestock and landscapes in and around conservation areas across Southern Africa. I get to work with vastly different data sets and data bases, conservation managers, communities and researchers from all over the world, as we tackle some of the problems currently being faced in natural resource management. And the best bit – via our curriculums at the SAWC is that we can feed what we learn straight back to the students who are, and will be, the conservation managers of the future!”


  • Doctorate of Philosophy (Ecology and Conservation) University of Groningen Thesis entitled “Biotic Determinants of Spatial Heterogeneity in a South African Savannah”
  • Master of Science (Biodiversity and Taxonomy) Imperial College, London Thesis entitled “The Evolution of the Human Endogenous Retrovirus Families H and L”
  • Bachelor of Science (Hons) (Applied Marine Biology) University of Liverpool


  • Agnes husseck, Klaus Hacklander, Cleo Graf, “Are ear notches an effective tool for monitoring individual rhino?” (in press) Paychderm.
  • Joris P.G.M. Cromsigt, Michiel Veldhuis, William Stock, Liza le Roux, Cleo Gosling, Sally Archibald, “The functional ecology of grazing lawns in a non-migratory system”. Chapter 6, Conserving Africa’s Mega-Diversity in the Anthropocene: The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park Story (2017), Eds. Joris P.G.M, Sally Archibald, Norman Owen-Smith.
  • Norman Owen-Smith, Cleo Gosling, Nicole Hagenah, Marcus Byrne, David Druce, “Features of the smaller fauna Chapter 9, Conserving Africa’s Mega-Diversity in the Anthropocene: The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park Story (2017), Eds. Joris P.G.M, Sally Archibald, Norman Owen-Smith.
  • Cleo M. Gosling, Maarten J.J. Schrama, Aafke van Erk, Joris P.G.M. Cromsigt, Contrasting effects of mammalian herbivores, vegetation structure, and rainfall on termite activity in an African savanna, (2016) Biotropica. doi:10.1111/btp.12337.
  • Gosling, C., Cromsigt, J., Mpanza, N., Olff, H., (2011). "Effects of Erosion from Mounds of Different Termite Genera on Distinct Functional Grassland Types in an African Savanna." Ecosystems: 1-12.
  • Buitenwerf, R, Stevens, N, Gosling, C, Anderson, T. M, Olff, H (2011). "Interactions between large herbivores and litter removing termites across a rainfall gradient in a South African savanna." Journal of Tropical Ecology 27(04): 375-382.