Postdoctoral Research Fellows
Dr Heath Beckett
Heath is an ecologist interested in vegetation mosaics, extreme events, vegetation dynamics, pattern formation and the spatial processes involved. He is particularly interested in understanding the enigmatic occurrence of ‘fire-sensitive’ forest vegetation in fire prone landscapes (savannas). His post-doc research focuses on understanding and communicating climate impacts in the context of multiple stable ecological states by developing and testing predictive models for species and ecosystem-level responses to, and changes under climate change and climate variability, in multiple state ecosystems. The aims being to (1) link predictive models within a multi-disciplinary environment, particularly through a resource economics approach, to support relevant management responses for adaptation and mitigation and (2) to identify and explore likely mechanisms underpinning the impacts of changing climate and ecological states on the production, ecosystem services and ecological processes in multiple state ecosystems.
Dr Andrew Ndlovu
Andrew has a background in bioinformatics and molecular ecology, and his research interests are seagrass ecological transcriptomics and seagrass as a nature-based climate solution. He is using ecological transcriptomics to investigate the functional responses of the dominant and endangered seagrass species in Southern Africa, Zostera capensis, under climate change scenarios through laboratory experiments. Seagrasses are increasingly recognized as globally significant blue carbon stocks. Andrew’s post-doctoral work also focuses on measuring blue carbon stocks in meadows of Z. capensis. Such data are useful in understanding the seagrass’s role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, highlighting their importance and the urgency for their conservation. He is particularly interested in investigating the biotic and abiotic drivers of the variability in measured seagrass blue carbon stocks.
Dr Andrew Watson
Andrew is a hydrologist specialising in isotope hydrology, hydrological and groundwater modelling, with a focus on understanding groundwater recharge and aquifer baseflow in semi-arid environments. He has experience with surface water modelling software (J2000, ACRU, Pitman and SCS) vadose zone modelling (HYDRUS), groundwater modelling (MODFLOW) and is developing a new set of isotope enabled models (J2000iso). He has worked on building new hydrological models that incorporate a more detailed representation of groundwater components, which are needed to understand resources available for agricultural and domestic use. He has technical experience with setting up meteorological systems and has helped to develop the SASSCAL monitoring network for the west coast.
Dr Jonathan Müller
Jonathan has a background in environmental sciences and did a PhD at the Weizmann Institute of Science, studying tree energy management under extreme drought and the poorly understood leaf-scale mechanism at the basis of non-evaporative canopy cooling. This mechanism is crucial for the continued existence of forests under a warmer and drier climate. During this project, he designed, built and deployed entire novel measurement systems in harsh field conditions and developed advanced data processing techniques and substantially. His postdoc research is to scale up from trees to ecosystem carbon and energy fluxes in a study with a unique comparison between the climate change mitigation potential of different land use scenarios, with the aim to identify the balance between climate warming and cooling effects of land use changes. Through his wide set of interests, Jonathan has gathered a range of skills from scientific to technical skills (including programming, sensor development), and in his free time he enjoys travelling and photography.