As with most people on the CB course, Belinda has had a life-long love for and fascination with natural ecosystems, and a desire to protect their fauna and flora. Unsurprisingly, this led her to an undergraduate degree with majors in both Zoology and Environmental and Geographical Sciences; followed by an Honours degree in Zoology at UCT. Since then she has worked as a freshwater biologist, predominantly in the Freshwater Research Unit within the Zoology Department and later as an associate of the Freshwater Research group. Her career has been varied and has included aspects of taxonomy (the identification of aquatic macroinvertebrates), teaching (as both a Teaching Assistant and a part-time lecturer at UCT), research, the writing and editing of reports and scientific papers, as well as project management. She has been either principal researcher or co-researcher on a number of both WWF (Table Mountain Fund) and Water Research Council-funded projects and, whilst not managing any consultancies projects, she has also worked for a number of freshwater specialist consultants in research, fieldwork and taxonomic roles. Increasingly over the past few years, her passion for conservation has become a desire to be more involved in the field and to make a real difference in the preservation of both our natural systems and outstanding biodiversity. This has been fuelled by the realisation, predominantly through interactions with managers and decision-makers, that whilst there are many excellent people within the field of conservation, many of the decisions that are made are either not research-based, or are poorly informed or politically motivated. It is with this passionate, if somewhat idealistic mindset, together with a great enthusiasm to be a part of an internationally renowned Masters course, that she has joined the 2016 class. She also has keen interests in environmental education, writing of popular articles, painting, illustrating and wildlife photography and has been a regular contributor to Envirokids (a childrens’ magazine published by WESSA) for a number of years.
Changes in the abundance and distribution of Afro-Palaearctic migrants and ecologically matched resident species; with special reference to their climate change vulnerability. (Supervisors: Arjun Amar, Wendy Foden, Simon Butler)