Doctoral students

Vonica Perold

Vonica Perold
MSc (Pretoria)


Vonica completed her tertiary studies at the University of Pretoria which included a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (2006), BSc in Plant Science (2009), BSc Honours in Wildlife Management (2010) and an MSc in Zoology (2016). Her MSc thesis investigated the effects of future climate change on vertebrates along an altitudinal gradient at Mariepskop Mountain, with a special focus on the Drakensberg Crag Lizard. Vonica has a wealth of field work experience including spending a year on sub-Antarctic Marion Island (2014 - 2015, M71) as a seabird researcher for the FitzPatrick Institute. From August 2016 - January 2019, Vonica was appointed at the Fitz as a project coordinator to facilitate research programmes aimed at assessing the environmental impacts of industrial-scale solar electricity generation in southern Africa. The project delivered original scientific publications, which included monitoring and mitigation guidelines for future solar energy developments. During this time, she also contributed to various other projects like sampling plastic pollution on the second International Indian Ocean Expedition and the SEAmester II and III research voyages. This work fuelled her research interest in the field of marine plastic pollution, forming the foundation of her PhD. Her research interest lies in understanding the dynamics of marine plastic pollution and the role of seabirds in this intricate system.

Temporal and spatial heterogeneity in marine plastic pollution: seabirds, neuston nets and beach litter (Supervisor: Peter Ryan)



Jeal, C., Perold, V., Ralston-Paton, S. and Ryan, P.G. 2019. Impacts of a concentrated solar power trough facility on birds and other wildlife in South Africa. Ostrich (In Press, accepted manuscript).

Visser, E., Perold, V., Ralston-Paton, S., Cardenal, A.C. and Ryan, P.G. 2018. Assessing the impacts of a utility-scale photovoltaic solar energy facility on birds in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Renewable Energy 133: 1285-1294. Link to article


Ryan, P.G., Perold, V., Osborne, A. and Moloney, C.L. 2018. Consistent patterns of debris on South African beaches indicate that industrial pellets and other mesoplastic items mostly derive from local sources. Environmental Pollution 238: 1008-1016. Link to article


Dilley, B.J., Schoombie, S., Stevens, K., Davies, D., Perold, V., Osborne, A., Schoombie, J., Brink, C.W., Carpenter-Kling, T. and Ryan, P.G. 2017.  Mouse predation affects breeding success of burrow-nesting petrels at sub-Antarctic Marion Island. Antarctic Science 30: 93-104. Link to article


Ryan, P.G., Cole, G., Spiby, K., Nel, R., Osborne, A. and Perold, V. 2016. Impacts of plastic ingestion on post-hatchling loggerhead turtles off South Africa. Marine Pollution Bulletin 107: 155-160. Link to article

Perold, V. 2016. The effect of long-term climate change on the vertebrate fauna of Mariepskop, South Africa. MSc Thesis, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Link to Thesis


Ryan, P.G., Ferreira, C., Perold, V., Osborne, A. and Jones, C.W. 2015. Failure to launch: evidence of protracted parental care in albatrosses. Seabird 28: 48-51. Link to article