Nasiphi Bitani

Background

I obtained my undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. For my third-year semester project I investigated the role of Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bats (Epomophorus wahlbergi) in the germination and dispersal of Ficus sur and that is when I developed my passion for seed dispersal. In 2017 I obtained an Honours degree in Environmental Sciences and my project looked at the role of birds in the seed dispersal of invasive Lantana. I am currently doing my 2nd year in Ecological Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus.

Current research

Nasiphi on a fieldwork trip

The focus of MSc project is evaluating the role of avian frugivores in the dispersal of fleshy-fruited invasive plant species. I am specifically looking at the interaction of birds with the invasive Lantana camara and their potential in dispersing the seeds of the plant. I am also using a trait based approach to predict potential avian dispersers of 16 fleshy-fruited invasive plant species invading the Indian Coastal Belt Forest.