Luca Afonso

Background

I completed my undergrad degree in conservation ecology from the University of Stellenbosch University. My thesis in my fourth and final year of my undergrad was a conservation opportunity analysis which measured the feasibility of implementing Critical Biodiversity Areas in the Breede valley area. After my graduation in 2012, I was employed by the City of Cape Town in the Department of Economics as an Economic and Information Researcher (Urban sustainability internship programme 2013). I co-authored on the Cityís first quarterly economic report (Economic Performance Indicators for Cape Town. Following this I undertook short internship with WSP environment and Energy where I later was employed in a full time position. While at WSP, I provided team support across all departments within the Business and assisted the Environmental Services team in undertaking Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessments (S-EIAs, Basic assessments (Bas), environmental compliance monitoring and other related permitting. I left WSP in April 2015 and worked as a freelance environmental consultant where I undertook ecological surveys and Plant search and rescue.

I am currently in the first year of my MSc at the C·I·B. My masterís thesis title is - Urban plant invasions: How to assess, prioritise and manage emerging species; Cape Town as a case study. My two supervisors are Dr Mirijam Gaertner and Dr Sjirk Geerts.

Current research

My MSc aims to assess Emerging species in an Urban Context. I will firstly commence with a literature review of emerging species and determine the differences between an emerging species and a wide -spread Species (or major invader). I will then adopt and test a model to prioritise emerging species for management in the City of Cape Town. I will then aim to determine between emerging species that can be practically and feasibly eradicated and emerging species which cannot. Lastly I will develop a framework for the management for emerging species in an urban environment, using the City of Cape Town as a case study.