John Day 2.15
Eleanor grew up in Cape Town where she spent her youth scrambling through the fynbos and rolling around the beach. At the end of her matric year, she was convinced that she would study astrophysics, but after an adventurous gap year, most of which was spent outdoors, she decided to rather pursue a career in the biological sciences. She hasn’t looked back, and has since completed her BSc majoring in Applied Biology and Ecology & Evolution (2016) and BSc (Hons) (2017) at UCT. Her Honours project investigated how land use change in and around the town of Phalaborwa near Kruger National Park affected patterns of avian taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity.
In 2015, during her second year of undergraduate studies, she became involved with a long-term monitoring project looking at plastic pollution at Muizenberg beach, run by The Beach Co-op and Prof. Peter Ryan. It was through this that she became interested in studying plastic pollution, and in 2018 she started her MSc dissertation on plastic pollution in the rivers of South Africa. The project will include a full-scale analysis of the plastic load of the Gariep and Vaal Rivers, a study on the seasonal fluctuations of plastic in the Black River close to Cape Town as well as an investigation into the plastic load of the top 20 largest estuaries in South Africa. Her dissertation will be supervised by Prof. Peter Ryan.
Are South Africa's rivers acting as sources of plastic pollution into the marine environment? Supervisor: Prof. Peter Ryan