I am in the third year of my PhD researching the influence of coastal upwelling on the biodiversity and ecosystem function of sandy beaches of South Africa. There is much debate surrounding the future effects of global climate change on upwelling systems, either increasing or decreasing in frequency and intensity. Looking at the sandy beach ecosystems as they currently are provides a basis for projecting potential outcomes. I aim to determine macrofaunal assemblages on beaches both in upwelling areas and those not in upwelling areas (non-upwelling). Doing this will allow any differences in community structure between upwelling and non-upwelling areas to be highlighted, and the use of techniques such as Biological Traits Analysis could provide information regarding the ecosystem functioning. Although primarily based in the SERG at the University of St Andrews, I currently spend most of my time working as part of the Coastal Ecology Group at Rhodes University, South Africa.
I graduated from the University of St Andrews in June 2009 with a B.Sc. in Marine Biology. In June 2009 I joined SERG:ES and trained in macrofaunal taxonomy, working on deep sea grab samples form the North Sea. Subsequently I was employed by SOI Ltd., primarily taking photographs and collating them into an electronic macrofauna catalogue. I also completed a macrofaunal identification course (NMBAQ scheme) and frequently participate in quality control “ring tests”.