Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr Chevonne Reynolds

Chevonne Reynolds
BSc Hons, MSc (Wits), PhD (UCT)

John Day Building: 2.19
Tel: + 27 (0)21 650 3634
Fax: +27 (0)21 650 3295

Email: or

Dr. Chevonne Reynolds grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa where she attended school and university. She actually started her academic career as an organic chemist, being awarded both her undergrad and MSc in chemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). However, feeling a change and some inspiration was in order; she enrolled for a conservation biology MSc program at Wits University. The thesis focused on grassland bird communities with fieldwork in the majestic KwaZulu-Natal Drakensburg. Chevonne then went on to work for Organisation for Tropical Studies in the Kruger National Park, before moving to Cape Town to undertake a PhD at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. Chevonne’s thesis explored the role of waterbirds in the dispersal of freshwater aquatic organisms in southern Africa and was supervised by Prof. Graeme Cumming. The thesis used a combination of field, experimental and modelling approaches to understand the valuable role that waterbird-mediated dispersal has on the ecology of waterbodies in unpredictable environments.

In early 2016 Chevonne joined Prof. Claire Spottiswoode’s team as a post-doctoral researcher. Her research uses the incredible SABAP dataset to explore trade-offs between biodiversity and agriculture across broad spatial extents. The fellowship is co-hosted by the Centre for Statistics in Ecology, Environment and Conservation (SEEC) under the guidance of Prof. Res Altwegg. Chevonne is most excited about this collaboration as it is an excellent opportunity to grow her skill set, as well as conduct relevant and important research. For part of the year she also co-ordinates an NSF funded international research experience for students (IRES) for the University of Florida. The research focus of the IRES is also in biodiversity-agriculture trade-offs and is a welcome opportunity to blend field based research with more strictly quantitative approaches.   

Her research interests are very broad, but in general Chevonne tries to use birds as tools for understanding ecological processes. Although primarily described as an ornithologist and avid birder, she has a widespread interest in natural history and considers it an important underpinning of good science.

Peer-reviewed publications


Reynolds, C. and Ryan, P.G. 2018. Micro-plastic ingestion by waterbirds from contaminated wetlands in South Africa. Marine Pollution Bulletin 126: 330-333.


Hudson, L.N. et al. The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project. Ecology and Evolution DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2579.

Cumming, G.S., Henry, D.A.W. and Reynolds, C. 2017. A framework for testing assumptions about foraging scales, body mass, and niche separation using telemetry data. Ecology and Evolution 7: 5276-5284. 

Reynolds, C. 2017. Flamingos: Behavior, biology, and relationship with humans Ostrich 89:1, 97-98,

Reynolds, C., Cumming, G.S., Vilà, M. and Green, A.J. 2017. Birds as key vectors for the dispersal of some alien species: further thoughts. Diversity and Distributions 23: 577-580. 

Reynolds, C., Fletcher, R.J. Jr., Carneiro, C.M., Jennings, N., Ke, A., LaScaleia, M.C., Lukhele, M.B., Mamba, M.L., Sibiya, M.D., Austin, J.D., Magagula, C.N., Mahlaba, T., Monadjem, A., Wisely, S.M. and McCleery, R.A. 2017. Inconsistent effects of landscape heterogeneity and land-use on animal diversity in an agricultural mosaic: a multi-scale and multi-taxon investigation. Landscape Ecology.


Abolnik, C., Olivier, A.J., Reynolds, C., Henry, D.A.W., Cumming, G.S., Rauff, D., Romito, M., Petty, D. and Falch, C. 2016. Susceptibility and status of avian influenza in ostriches. Avian Diseases 60: 286-295.

Pradeep, P., Ngwira, K.J., Reynolds, C., Rousseau, A.L., Lemmerer, A., Fernandes, M.A., Johnson, M.M. and de Koning, C.B. (2016). Novel methodology for the synthesis of the benzo[b]phenanthridine and 6H-dibenzo[c,h]chromen-6-one skeletons. Reactions of 2-naphthylbenzylamines and 2-naphthylbenzyl alcohols. Tetrahedron 72: 8417-8427.

Reynolds, C. and Cumming, G.S. 2016. Seed traits and bird species influence the dispersal parameters of wetland plants. Freshwater Biology  61: 349-361.

Reynolds, C. and Cumming, G.S. 2016. Seed dispersal of waterbirds in southern Africa: comparing the roles of ectozoochory and endozoochory. Freshwater Biology

Reynolds, C. & Cumming, G.S. 2016. Defining functional groups using dietary data: Quantitative comparison suggests functional classification for seed-dispersing waterfowl. Basic and Applied Ecology, 17:333-343.


Cumming, G.S., Abolnik, C., Caron, A., Gaidet, N., Grewar, J., Hellard, E., Henry, D. A. and Reynolds, C.  2015. A review of regional variation in avian influenza dynamics: insights from a social-ecological systems perspective. Landscape Ecology 30: 963-985.

Reynolds, C. and Cumming, G.S. 2015. The role of waterbirds in the dispersal of freshwater cladocera and bryozoa in southern Africa. African Zoology 50: 307-311.

Reynolds, C., Miranda, N.A.F. and Cumming, G.S. 2015. The role of waterbirds in the dispersal of aquatic alien and invasive species. Diversity and Distributions 21: 744-754


Reynolds, C. and Symes, C.S. 2013. Vegetation structural heterogeneity enhances bird diversity in grassland. African Zoology 48: 228-239.


Reynolds, C., de Koning, C.B., Pelly, S.C., van Otterlo, W.A.L. and Bode, M.L. 2012. In search of a treatment for HIV – current therapies and the role of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Chemical Society Reviews 41: 4657–4670.

Reynolds, C. and Byrne, M.J. 2012. Alternative reproductive tactics in an African dung beetle, Circellium bacchus (Scarabeidae). Journal of Insect Behaviour 26:440-452.