Senait Senay

Program Focus

Ecological Informatics




Senait Senay is a research associate at the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. Her role includes developing and enhancing spatial models that can be used to predict the distribution of agricultural pests and diseases as well as research any interaction between these pests, their hosts and the environment. Senait has an in interest in working on climate change adaptation issues especially regarding the increased risk from alien invasive species on livelihoods, food safety and biodiversity. She believes it is important to develop strategies that counter homogenization of species distribution, as novel climates resulting from climate change create suitable habitats for invading species.

Senait gained her B.Sc. in Forestry Science from Wondo Genet College of Forestry, Southern University, Ethiopia, her M.Sc in GIS and Remote Sensing from Wageningen University, The Netherlands and her Ph.D. from Lincoln University, New Zealand. Her Ph.D. project was entitled “Modelling invasive species-landscape interactions using high resolution, spatially explicit models”, it focused on improving ecological modelling systems that are used to predict and analyze suitable habitats for invasive species. In the past, Senait has worked as GIS analyst, GIS consultant and GIS specialist in various private (Lahmeyer International), public (Alemaya University) and international organizations (UNDP, UNOCHA). Recently, Senait has been working for the New Zealand Department of Conservation under the great white butterfly eradication project. Her role involved standardizing the geospatial system that is crucial in optimizing the surveillance and eradication operation that is targeted at preventing the permanent establishment of the insect pest great white butterfly after its incursion in Nelson Region of New Zealand in 2010.