Doctoral students

Jordan-Laine Calder



Jordan-Laine Calder

Tel (W): 021 6503292
Cell: 083 275 6928


Jordan was born in Johannesburg but has spent most her life exploring the mountains and beaches of Cape Town where her fascination in the natural world was fostered by the peninsula’s wild wonders. In 2009 she enrolled at the University of Cape Town for a BSc in zoology and ecology followed by an honours degree in zoology. During these years she found herself traipsing through forests, fynbos and off-shore islands in search of some of South Africa’s most charismatic species such as the Cape Parrots of Hogsback and the African Penguins of Robben Island. While studying these endearing yet highly endangered species, Jordan realised that her true passion lay in conservation. This bought her to the next step in her academic career- a master’s degree in conservation biology through the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute at UCT. A project supervised by Prof Graeme Cumming on landscape ecology and animal movement in an urban ecosystem honed her investigative, analytical and writing skills.

After finishing her MSc Jordan took a break from university life. For six months she was based at Skukuza in the Kruger National Park where she worked as intern-coordinator and teaching assistant for the Organization of Tropical Studies. Although not technically in a university, this job still had an academic focus and involved working with foreign undergraduate students and local researchers on a diverse range of field biology projects.

Although it wasn’t easy to leave the bush, an exciting job opportunity drew her back to her mother city. A Cape Town production company, Homebrew films, hired her as a researcher/junior-director for a series of wildlife films. This job required a significant step away from science but allowed her to explore her creative side and acquire valuable skills in film-making.

But after years out of academia, her passion for conservation research out-competed the fun of film-making and she has returned to the FitzPatrick Institute. Jordan is now embarking on PhD on vulture conservation in southern Africa and will investigate the role that vulture restaurants play in supporting endangered vulture populations.


Investigating the viability and potential impact of vulture restaurants as a strategy to conserve South Africa’s plummeting vulture populations. Supervisors: Robert Thomson, Arjun Amar, Andrea Santangeli (University of Helsinki)

Peer-reviewed publications

Calder, J.L., Cumming, G.S., Maciejewski, K. & Oschadleus, H. D. 2015. Urban land use does not limit weaver bird movements between wetlands in Cape Town, South Africa. Biological Conservation187, 230-239. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.04.024