Jess is from New Delhi, India, but her father’s career as a diplomat has taken her around the world. She has lived in Tanzania, England, India and Egypt. When her dad was posted to Johannesburg, she fell in love with South Africa, where she has now lived for eight years. Travelling and seeing the world has played a major role in shaping her passion for the natural world, but also exposed her to the conflicts between development and conservation. Cape Town has been the perfect setting for honing these interests and she obtained her undergraduate degree in Applied Biology and Environmental and Geographical Sciences at UCT, then went on to do Honours in Environmental and Geographical Sciences. She is interested in protected areas, wildlife management, citizen science, restoration ecology, climate change mitigation and sustainability. Most recently she has developed a keen interest in urban ecology and bringing nature back into cities. Her Honours thesis explored the relevance of the Liesbeek River for bird communities in suburban Cape Town, and examined the importance of preserving and connecting urban green spaces to sustain rich biodiversity communities. In her spare time, Jess enjoys bird-watching, hiking, gardening and music.
Street-wise: does prey abundance buffer Sparrowhawks (Accipiter melanoleucus) from the negative health impacts of urbanisation? Supervisor: Arjun Amar