Congratulations to PCU Graduates April 2018

18 Apr 2018 - 10:30

Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) BSc Honours students Nina Zizzamia, Tara Nair Van Ryneveld and Sally Mashele were among thousands of students who graduated in April 2018 from the University of Cape Town (UCT). Nina, and Tara (in absentia), graduated on 4 April 2018 and Sally graduated on 6 April 2018.

Nina was supervised by Prof Timm Hoffman (PCU Director) and she looked at how forest-fynbos boundaries in Swartboschkloof, Jonkershoek, have changed since the 1930s, using repeat aerial and ground photography. Previous studies of forest-fynbos dynamics on Table Mountain have shown increases in forest cover over time. Her study did not find this but rather showed a large amount of variation with significant increases and decreases throughout the study area. This allowed them to further investigate the complex interaction of factors that affected these variable dynamics. Tara assessed the role of disease, drought and fire-induced canopy dieback in the Critically Endangered conifer, Widdringtonia cedarbergensis, and was co-supervised by Timm Hoffman, A/Prof Ed February, Joey Hulbert, Jo White and Sam Jack. Sally was based in the Department of Geomatics at UCT and was co-supervised by Kaveer Singh and Timm Hoffman. She used GIS to analyse fire history and Landsat data to assess fire events in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.

Nina said that, “I feel very fortunate to have had a very interesting project, learnt so many new skills, had such a supportive supervisor and been part of the PCU!” She added that, “Although a sad goodbye after a rewarding, busy and sometimes stressful year, the beautiful ceremony shared with our proud parents and impressively hardworking classmates was a great way to end our degree”. Sally said that, “It was a great day, my family flew from Mpumalanga and friends also came to celebrate with me. I was happy that I managed to complete my honours degree and I look forward to the future.”

We would like to congratulate these students on their hard work and dedication to their projects. You have all worked so hard and we wish you every success for the future. Many thanks to colleagues and their institutions who helped to co-supervise these projects.

(Left) Nina Zizzamia and (right) Sally Mashele

~ Article written by Samantha Venter. Images supplied by Nina Zizzamia and Sally Mashele.