B.Sc. Chemical Biology (Stellenbosch University, 2007)
B.Sc. Hons. Genetics (Stellenbosch University, 2008)
M.Sc. Zoology (Stellenbosch University)
Population genetics and gene flow in the flightless moth Pringleophaga marioni on Marion Island.
Short description of project:
For my project I will look at the influence that Wandering Albatrosses have on the population structure and dynamics of the tineid moth Pringleophaga marioni. Larvae of P.marioni are invertebrate decomposers on Marion Island that are of considerable importance to nutrient cycling on the island, but their population size has decreased due to enhanced predation by mice associated with climate change. Wandering Albatrosses build high elevated nests which contain high densities of P.marioni larvae. This is because these nests provide elevated temperature conditions for the growth and development of the larvae. The Albatrosses therefore seem to act as thermal ecosystem engineers. My project will describe the spatial genetic structure of P.marioni using microsatellites. Sampling will include larvae collected at random across the island as well as specific targeting of larvae in Wandering Albatross nests.
Prof. Steven Chown; Prof. Bettine Jansen van Vuuren