Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Cape Town

I am a graduate of the University of Pretoria, where I obtained an MSc Zoology (2008) and PhD Zoology (2013). My PhD thesis investigated biogeographic regions and variation in species richness of alien plant species at subcontinental spatial scales, and invertebrate communities at a savanna-grassland ecotone at a smaller landscape scale. I joined the Department of Statistical Sciences at the University of Cape Town in 2014 with an NRF Innovation postdoctoral fellowship. My current research focuses primarily on the application of large-scale species distribution atlases to reveal ecological patterns and processes at large spatial scales. One component of my research addresses the causes and consequences of observation bias within the second Southern African Bird Atlas Project (http://sabap2.adu.org.za/), an atlasing project that relies entirely on data collected by volunteer birders across South Africa and neighbouring countries. Observation bias is a common problem in volunteer-based species atlases, and if disregarded, may lead to spurious results. Another component of my research investigates the response of bird communities to the various natural, semi-natural, and transformed habitat types. For this I use SABAP2 data from Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. These areas support a great diversity of birds, yet also host large human populations and are subjected to rapid land transformation and urbanization. Ultimately, I am interested in large-scale conservation planning efforts to maximise conservation within and outside protected areas, while taking into account human development needs.

Experience

  • 2014–present
    Postdoctoral Fellow: the application of large-scale species distribution atlases to reveal ecological patterns and processes at large spatial scales, University of Cape Town
  • 2013–2013
    Assistant lecturer; MSc level introductory statistics course, University of Pretoria
  • 2012–2013
    Assistant lecturer for MSc level ecology course, University of Pretoria

Education

  • 2013 
    University of Pretoria, PhD
  • 2008 
    University of Pretoria, MSc: Zoology

Publications

  • 2013
    Are environmental transitions more prone to biological invasions?, Diversity and Distributions
  • 2012
    Alien Phytogeographic Regions of Southern Africa: Numerical Classification, Possible Drivers, and Regional Threats, PLoSOne
  • 2009
    Alien and native birds in South Africa: patterns, processes and conservation, Biological Invasions
  • 2008
    The maintenance of a positive spatial correlation between South African bird species richness and human population density, Global Ecology and Biogeography

Grants and Contracts

  • 2018
    Role:
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation
  • 2014
    NRF Innovation
    Role:
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Funding Source:
    Department of Science and Technology, Republic of South Africa

Professional Memberships

  • The Centre for Statistics in Ecology, the Environment and Conservation