Clara started her university career as a Theatre and Performance student at the University of Cape Town, but quickly realised that her true passion lay in biology. After returning to school to get her matric qualification in maths and science, she completed her undergraduate degree in marine biology and ecology and evolution, followed by an honours degree in marine biology at UCT. Her honours dissertation focussed on assessing indices of ecosystem condition in kelp forest ecosystems along the south-western coast of South Africa. This study combined recent and historic benthic community data to assess changes in ecosystem condition before and after the invasion of the West Coast rock lobster into the area known as ‘East of Cape Hangklip’. Although her main interests lie in temperate reef ecology, Clara hopes that she will be able to expand her studies to coral reef ecosystems in the future. In her free time she enjoys reading -particularly novels involving archaeological history and forensic biology - as well as scuba diving, snorkelling, hiking and rock climbing.
Changes in food-web structure and energy flow in kelp forest ecosystems on the south-west coast of South Africa following the invasion of Jasus lalandii. (Supervisors: Lynne Shannon, Laura Blamey)