|Avian Demography Unit
Department of Statistical Sciences
University of Cape Town
In March 2001, Jessica started a PhD thesis on the Population Dynamics of the African penguin in Namibia. The aim is to update population estimates and trends for the Namibian population of African penguins, and to explain the on-going population decline in terms of a number of population parameters. These include adult and juvenile survival, breeding success (linked with nesting habitat quality/availability and breeding seasonality/synchronicity) and inter-island movement. Parameters span several geographical (colony, breeding locality, Namibian/South African population) and temporal (annual to long-term) scales. She is based in Lüderitz and her fieldwork takes place on Halifax Island. Data for some of the other islands are collected by staff from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Namibia. The project is supervised by Prof Les Underhill (ADU), Dr Jean-Paul Roux (Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Namibia) and Dr Rob Crawford (Marine and Coastal Management, South Africa). Aspects of Jessica's research are sponsored by the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Total Namibia and the Des and Jen Bartlett Fund.
Qualifications and experience
Jessica completed a BSc (with Zoology and Botany as majors) and BSc(Hons) (Zoology) in 1993 at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1997 she graduated with an MSc from the University of Cape Town. The title of her thesis (Institute for Plant Conservation, Department of Botany) was The effects of fragmentation of South Coast Renosterveld on vegetation patterns and processes.
She worked as a research and administrative assistant at the Institute for Plant Conservation, University of Cape Town between February and October 1997 before joining Western Cape Nature Conservation, Scientific Services, as a researcher on Dassen Island on a four-month contract post. From March 1998 to March 1999 she was the conservation officer for the Botanical Society of South Africa and a regular volunteer for SANCCOB. From June 1999 to September 1999 she was the relief on Mercury Island, Namibia. Since January 2000 she has been collecting data, collating and analysing it for her PhD project in addition to running the Luderitz seabird rehabilitation facility belonging to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
Jessica's outside interests include: Animals, particularly penguins, cats and chameleons; birdwatching, playing the flute, beach clean-ups and off-shore islands.
1. Papers in refereed journals
2. Submitted manuscripts
3. Popular articles