Diane has a BSc from the department of Mathematical, Statistical and Physical Sciences. She graduated in 2003 and majored in Applied Mathematics, Environmental and Geographical sciences, and Ocean and Atmospheric sciences. She completed her Honours degree in 2004 through the Department of Oceanography, where she worked on two projects; The DIEMEC III research project on board the SA Agulhas and remote sensing using GPS.
She is currently registered with the Botany department at UCT and is researching fire frequency in fynbos. Her main supervisor is Prof William Bond and her co-supervisors are Prof Les Underhill (Department of Statistical Sciences) and Dr Guy Midgley (SANBI – Global Change Research Group).
Diane is working on wildfires in the Western Cape. She is working with the Cape Nature Conservation Board historical fire data set and is analysing the fire history in six of their reserves. Diane spent time at the Australian National University working with top fire ecologists in order to learnt how to analyse fire frequency in a landscape. She is now using her firm understanding of this theory to explore methods which may help to detect patterns within fire frequency. Diane is also looking at the perceived increase in large fires. It can be shown that a relatively small percentage of annual fires, ~3%, can account for over 90% of the total area burnt per annum. This indicates that large fires are an important disturbance regime and that an understanding of their occurrence is vital for land managers. Diane is investigating both fuel accumulation and climate as drivers of large fires.
Diane is in the second year of her MSc. To read Diane's first year progress report click here.