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Dan graduates

30 March 2023

Graduation time for Dan

Dan van Blerk has been in the MeaseyLab since his Honours project in 2019 (see here), when he conducted a literature review on the impacts of invasive lizards around the world. In late 2019, Dan and I met with Olaf Weyl to plan Dan’s MSc fieldwork over the next two years. With all three of us filled with enthusiasm for the upcoming adventure and what it would achieve, we were about to find out that fate had other plans.

Very sadly, Olaf died later that same year, and subsequently did not get to participate in any of the plans. He is greatly missed, and we continue to remember his initial enthusiasm for the project. Happily, Josie Pegg was soon on hand to take over from the SAIAB side, and in doing so saved the project. However, just as we were about to deploy Dan into the streams of the Western Cape, we were hit by another big setback. The world suddenly shut down, and with it Dan was confined to quarters and we decided that we’d have to conduct at least one of his chapters as a literature review instead of in the field as planned.

During 2021, Dan managed to get two notes published on natural history observations that he’d made during his time in the MeaseyLab (van Blerk 2021 a,b).

Eventually, Dan did get out into the field and surveyed many locations in many streams for ghost frog tadpoles and invasive fish. The work was a real advance for conservation evidence in the impacts of invasive fish on these frogs. Dan presented his work in the Conservation Symposium (see here). We got used to seeing Dan presenting online and in person (see here and here). His findings have already been submitted to Aquatic Invasions, and we hope to announce publication of his chapter soon. Watch this space. Dan defended his MSc work in February this year (see here).

It was great having Dan in the lab, even if he didn’t spend much of the three years physically with us. We wish him all the best in his subsequent career and hope that he’ll keep in touch.

Read more:

van Blerk, D. (2023) The Impacts of Invasive Fish on Ghost Frog tadpoles. MSc thesis, Stellenbosch University.

Van Blerk, D., Reissig, J., Riley, J.L., Measey, J., Baxter-Gilbert, J. (2021) Observations of infanticide and cannibalism in four species of cordylid lizard (Squamata: Cordylidae) in captivity and the wild. Herpetology Notes 14: 725-729. pdf

Van Blerk, D., Measey, J., Baxter-Gilbert, J.H. (2021) Predation by a Brown Widow Spider, Latrodectus geometricus (Koch, 1841), on a Common Dwarf Gecko, Lygodactylus capensis (Smith, 1849), with a review of the herpetofaunal diet of Latrodectus spp. Herpetology Notes 14: 291-296. pdf

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