Aneesa Du Plessis

Background

Having enjoyed Life Sciences throughout my schooling career I decided to pursue a career in the field of ecology and conservation. I completed my National Diploma in Nature Conservation in 2016 (Best Academic Student). My research for my WIL (Work Integrated Learning) was titled “Large herbivore corridor utilization between the Denel Overberg Test Range and De Hoop Nature Reserve”. Thereafter, I completed my BTech in Nature Conservation, Cum Laude in 2018 (part-time). My research for my BTech was titled “Pollination syndromes of bird-pollinated Watsonia meriana in Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area”. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Conservation Science with a thesis titled “Effects of invasive alien plants on fynbos pollination networks: Can we restore native pollination networks?” Hereafter, I intend on doing a PhD in Conservation.

Current research

Invasive alien plants (IAPs) transform native pollination networks (PNs). But does this effect remain after IAP removal? Restoration activities can restore vegetation structure, but the extent to which ecosystem functions recover are largely unknown, particularly in fynbos. Numerous restoration studies have been conducted at the study site, Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, but none focusing on pollinators and the recovery thereof. PNís will be constructed for native, invaded and restored sites. Network-level metrics will provide information on the condition of these PNs. Ultimately, we will provide management with practical restoration guidelines to optimize pollination network recovery.