Melissa G. Ewels

Background

I completed my BSc (2017) and BSc Hons (2018) degree in marine biology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. My honours research project focussed on ecosystem modelling of the Thukela Bank under various scenarios of river flow. After getting the opportunity to spend time aboard the SA Agulhas II with the seamester programme, I decided to further my studies and start a masterís degree in the Western Cape.

Current research

Ficopomatus enigmaticus is an alien invasive tube-worm which is found in three western cape estuaries. The species has ecological, economic and social impacts. The abundance and distribution of the worm is known in Zandvlei estuary however it has not been assessed in Milnerton Lagoon and Berg River estuary. The effects of climate change on this species have also not been assessed. Therefore my research aims to document the abundance and distribution of the worm in the three estuaries and to experimentally assess the impacts of changing temperature and pH on the growth and mortality of the invasive tube-worm.