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Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Research Grant shortlist announced

The five finalists who are in line to win this year’s $150 000 USD Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Research Grant have been selected.

Here are the top five JWO Research Grant finalists for 2023

Dr Lovanomenjanahary Marline

Mosses and liverworts prefer to hang out in cool places, and for Dr Lovanomenjanahary Marline, they are cool to study because they can tell her things about how clean the air is.

Marline is a Malagasy researcher who was shortlisted for the JWO Research Grant for her proposal entitled “Bioindicators of biodiversity, air quality and climate change: leveraging non-charismatic groups, bryophytes and lichens, in the tropical Afro-Malagasy Region.” Read more…

Dr Shannon Conradie

Dr Shannon Conradie wants to know how hot is too hot for animals to carry on as normal. She was shortlisted for the JWO Research Grant for her proposal entitled “Linking physics and biology to inform wildlife conservation under global change: an interdisciplinary approach”.

Her  current research interests “focus on modelling the biological limitations of species distribution and ultimately survival in arid to semi-arid systems”, and her current research “explores survival and reproduction of desert birds under extreme environmental conditions through modelling the risk of lethal dehydration and / or hyperthermia, and the sublethal fitness costs of behavioural decisions under current and likely future conditions.” Read more…

Dr Mohamed Henriques

Dr Mohamed Henriques looks at the world through birds’ eyes. He believes that “migratory birds connect the world at different levels, linking ecosystems, sites, habitats, and cultures”, and he was shortlisted for the JWO Research Grant for his proposal entitled “Migrant shorebirds as sentinels of local ecological changes in key African wetlands with global”. He hopes to learn how local changes in West Africa “cascade through to the whole flyway by measuring changes in migration timing and pattern implications”. Read more…

Dr Yolandi Schoeman

Dr Yolandi Schoeman believes that is possible to engineer natural systems back to health.

An ecological engineer by training, she has been shortlisted for the JWO Research Grant for her proposal entitled ‘BioCredits: Regenerating Africa’s Landscape bio-intelligently’, and aims to “develop an impactful biodiversity credit system for sustainable development, by incentivising sustainable land use, and ecosystem and landscape regeneration.” She says the system will “revolutionise African conservation, promoting biodiversity, ecosystem health, and sustainable development”, as well as “benefit communities and nature, and offering social and economic advantages through sustainable practices. Read more…

Dr Matthew Burnett

Dr Matthew Burnett is worried about the fish, but more importantly about what lives off fish and what binds them all together.

Burnett has been shortlisted for the JWO Research Grant for his proposal entitled “Fishers, fish, and fish-eating waterbirds – interactions that can meet the sustainability goals for floodplains” and will focus on the Upper Zambezi River Basin.

With a Ph.D. in ecology, Burnett says his “passion for African wildlife has always been realised through the local communities that live alongside it. As such my focus has been on freshwater ecosystems, in particular freshwater fishes and fisheries.” Read more…

The JWO Research Grant was established to honour the late Mrs Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer and continue her extensive contribution to and passion for Africa, the environment and science. The annual grant supports an early career scientist in research which addresses a real-world or African issue of current and future importance.

The top three JWO finalists will be announced on 31 August, and the winner will be announced at the 12th Oppenheimer Research Conference set to take place from the 4th – 6th of October 2023, at the Randjesfontein Cricket Pavilion in Johannesburg. To keep up to date with OGRC News, sign up here to the OGRC Newsletter.

Yves Vanderhaeghen

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