Bernard Coetzee

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( updated April 2012 )

Research interest and background

My interests lie in (1) the patterns and processes structuring the distribution of the diversity of life (2) how human activities are changing those distributions and (3) what this means for conservation. As such, I combine a range of disciplines in conservation science, with a focus on biogeography, protected areas and global change drivers. Iím also interested in science-policy and science-public interfaces. I have an applied conservation focus, and much of my interests revolve around understanding whether our interventions are effective at biodiversity conservation, why and where we are failing, and advance techniques to address this fundamental issue.

My PhD research firstly focuses on large scale biogeographic patterns and processes. The analysis considers body size frequency distributions across the entire Afrotropical bird assemblages and alternative methodologies to describe these relationships. Secondly, there are few studies on Protected Areas (PAs) ecological performance, meaning if and how they conserve the biodiversity features they are meant to. I also assess PAs performance in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, by comparing bird assemblages inside and outside the reserve along an intensifying gradient of human land use.

I have seven academic publications in peer reviewed journals (as of November 2012) and various popular publications. Iíve presented widely at both national and international conferences. In 2008 I volunteered with the WWF Office in Fiji and worked on the implementation of UNFCCC processes in the region. I also volunteered as a researcher on Aldabra Atoll, mainly doing biological monitoring on a wide range of taxa for the Seychelles Island Foundation. Iím a member of the IUCNís World Commission on Protected Areas, the Society for Conservation Biology, an alumnus of the Tropical Biology Association, and co-found and co-chaired the Graduate Student Network of the South African Ecological Observation Network.

Iím a fanatical diver, Iím obsessed with flyfishing and developing an incurable birders twitch.