Lauren Waller will graduate with a PhD on 16 December

July 04, 2011 by dyertrust

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust is pleased to announce thatLauren Wallerwill formally graduate at the end of year graduation ceremony, on 16 December at 10h00. The Trust helped support Laurens studies and continues to support further studies on the endangered African penguins of Dyer Island.

Text below courtesy of Prof. Les Underhill
Laurens thesis is entitled The African Penguin Spheniscus demersus: conservation and management issues. This thesis examines the broader conservation issues facing the African Penguin. Through an analyses of aspects of African Penguin population demographics, biology and behaviour, including adult moult phenology and breeding trends, chick condition, adult foraging behaviour and their relationship to pelagic fish stocks, the manner in which the African penguin interacts with the marine environment is examined. Comparisons are made between colonies throughout their distribution, and it is shown that African Penguins at different colonies do not respond to pressures or changes in their environments in a uniform manner, a factor which will have an impact on conservation management decisions.

During the time that this study was undertaken, the conservation status of the African penguin changed from Vulnerable to Endangered according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The final chapter in the thesis examines the legislative context that provides for the protection of the African Penguin in South Africa. It discusses the potential that the Biodiversity Management Plan for the African Penguin, drafted under the National Environmental: Biodiversity Act (No. 10 of 2004) will have in uniting stakeholders and focusing conservation efforts according to priorities.

Lauren Waller is an Ecological Co-ordinator for CapeNature, where she is responsible for co-ordinating and facilitating ecological management within the Overberg Area. This involves the co-ordination of the Areas biodiversity monitoring activities, assisting with the compilation and revision of protected area management plans, ecological and auditing programmes and providing scientific input into conservation planning initiatives. In January 2001, Lauren was employed by CapeNature to co-ordinate the Invasive Alien Clearing Programme in the Breede Region. In 2003, she was deployed to Dyer Island to assist with the management of an outbreak of Avian Cholera affecting the Cape Cormorant population. Subsequent to that, Lauren took up a position with CapeNature to undertake the ecological monitoring on Dyer Island, much of which focused on the breeding seabirds, and specifically the African Penguin.

The major sponsors of this PhD were Dyer Island Conservation Trust, Leiden Conservation Fund, CapeNature and the NRF, and it was supervised by Les Underhill and Katta Ludynia.