Katelyn Faulkner

Top Cirsium vulgare (Invasive)
Bottom Pavo cristatus (Introduced)

Background

I completed a B.Sc. degree in Zoology and Geography in 2007 and a B.Sc. Honours degree in Marine Biology in 2008 at Rhodes University. During Honours, my research focused on two topics: the influence of acidification on the reproductive success and development of marine organisms, and the effect of settlement cues on the settlement of native and alien mussel species. In 2012 I completed my M.Sc. at the C·I·B at Stellenbosch University. My M.Sc. work evaluated the ability of temperate and sub-Antarctic marine crustaceans to withstand and respond to rapid and gradual increases in temperature. In 2009, I worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College London, where I aided with research into the effects of climate change on the biodiversity and functional ecology of Southern England grassland communities. I am currently based at the University of Pretoria, where I am studying towards a Ph.D.

Current research

The most effective way to manage alien species is to prevent their introduction, however, it is not possible, desirable or necessary to prevent the introduction of all alien organisms. Therefore, the dominant pathways of introduction as well as potential future invasive species must be identified and prioritised for monitoring and management. Unfortunately, the pathways of introduction, particularly for developing nations, are understudied and developing regions often do not have the resources required to implement invasive species risk assessments. During my Ph.D. I will assess and identify the most important pathways of introduction for alien species in South Africa, and determine how these pathways vary geographically and temporally. Additionally, to meet the needs of resource poor regions, a simple methodology for invasive species watch lists will be developed, and tested using South Africa as a case study. The identification of potential, future invasive species as well as the pathways through which they may be introduced could inform management and lead to prioritised monitoring strategies and legislation. Finally, this work will further our understanding of the pathways of introduction and represents an important step in developing biosecurity schemes for developing nations.

Publications

Conference presentations