The EucXylo Team is going from strength to strength in 2021: our numbers are growing – with the addition of two new students, and a new member of staff – and the increasingly-instrumented trees that make up our flagship ‘phenomenological trial’ are too!
EucXylo was happy to welcome our newest Ph.D. candidate, Mr Mpilo Khumalo earlier this year. Mpilo recently completed his M.Sc. in Ecosystems Ecology at the University of the Witwatersrand. In his M.Sc., he quantified the amount of carbon dioxide that is being released by trees in savanna ecosystems under the supervision of Professor Bob Scholes. Mpilo has expertise in ecophysiology (understanding of the interactions between biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems) and biogeochemistry (understanding of the recycling of elements like C, N, H2O by ecosystems) at various scales (from cells-to-ecosystems-to-global scales). He joined the team in March 2021, and his Ph.D. will be a fine-detailed study of various factors and processes that influence the variation in wood properties of Eucalyptus trees. Currently he is busy installing various equipment that will produce a wealth of high-quality data, and he is also writing up his Ph.D. proposal.
We were also happy to welcome our newest M.Sc. candidate, Ms Yenziwe Mbuyisa. Yenziwe is a Rhodes alumnus, with an Honours degree in Environmental Science. She has a background in restoration ecology and paleoecology, using dendrochronology as a tool of inferring past climates. She has recently developed an interest in using stable isotope signals in trees to track the impact of climate change on plant physiology. Yenziwe is in the process of finalising her project proposal: she is looking forward to investigating the effects of temperature on water use efficiency, and how it correlates to the carbon isotope signal. This will likely be a comparative study between two Myrtaceae species, one native to South Africa – Syzyguim guineense – along with the Australian Eucalyptus grandis.
Our team is also enriched by the arrival of Mrs Liesel Strauss as a Project Administrator. She obtained a B.Com(Acc) degree at the University of the Western Cape, and has worked in the Higher Education environment for 15 years at all the universities in the Western Cape, and will be a great support to the team going forward.
To learn more about the EucXylo team, have a look at our ‘team’ page.