Masters Opportunity: Investigating the implications of climate change for mangrove fauna along the Mlalazi Estuary, South Africa

Mangrove ecosystems occur along the coastline and are of great ecological importance as a carbon sink, shoreline protection, and a nursery habitat for many fish species. As South African mangroves are located at one of the limits of their global distribution range, the effects of global change, specifically global warming, include range extension of these species towards the poles. This has been observed for mangrove trees as well as associated fauna. However, it is unclear what other factors drive this distribution or determine tolerance of mangroves and their biota. For example, ocean acidification, another effect of global change, will likely have a direct impact on shell-forming or carapace-forming invertebrates. This has not been investigated in mangroves along the South African coastline.

MSc Opportunity- January 2024-December 2025

This project will form part of the NRF Thuthuka project “Mangrove ecosystems and coastal community perceptions in South Africa”. The project will explore the implications of climate change effects, specifically ocean warming and acidification, for shell-forming or carapace-forming invertebrates along the Mlalazi Estuary, South Africa. This estuary is situated between Durban and Richards Bay on the north-eastern coast of South Africa, and has approximately 40 ha of mangroves, making it the sixth largest stand of mangroves in South Africa. The project seeks a motivated, independent South African student with an Honours degree in a related field. The applicant must be willing to work independently, should ideally be familiar with basic ecological monitoring techniques and statistical analyses, and must have a good understanding of marine and estuarine systems. The successful candidate will be based at the School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

To apply or to find out more about the projects, please contact Dr Phikolomzi Matikinca at ma********@uk**.za or Dr Nasreen Peer at np***@su*.za Please provide a CV with two referees, your academic transcripts and a short statement on why you wish to pursue this MSc. The deadline for this application is 31 May 2023.

Photo: Anescu Machite


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