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Jessica da Silva

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    My deep interest in the biological sciences stems from this understanding. It has shaped my pursuit in uncovering the story - the truth - about organisms’ interactions with each other and their environment to better assist in the conservation of biodiversity. My pursuit has taken me through parts of Africa, Asia, and North America where I have examined various aspects of organismal evolution and conservation. It was during these experiences that I realised that if the conservation of populations, species, and/or ecosystems is to be adequately accomplished, more comprehensive, multi-faceted, studies looking at the patterns and processes of diversity are required. This understanding has led me to my current research interests, which involve integrating taxonomic, molecular, ecological, physiological and spatial information. Each component provides key clues to deciphering the adaptive and evolutionary potential of organisms, which is essential for their conservation. I am particularly interested in population-level studies that incorporate the above to look at migration and gene flow across varying landscapes, especially in problematic taxa where there is discordance between morphology and genetics. South Africa is a model setting for such studies given the presence of both pristine and disturbed (both natural and anthropogenic) habitats. I have worked on a variety of taxonomic groups, including insects, fish, and plants; however, my recent focus is reptiles, specifically dwarf chameleons (Bradypodion). I am currently a doctoral candidate at Stellenbosch University, affiliated with the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

    Recent publications

    • Does diet drive the evolution of head shape and bite force in chameleons of the genus Bradypodion?

      • Dollion A
      • Measey G
      • Cornette R
      • et al.
    • A molecular phylogeny of the African plated lizards, genus gerrhosaurus wiegmann, 1828 (squamata: Gerrhosauridae), with the description of two new genera

      • Bates M
      • Tolley K
      • Edwards S
      • et al.


    PhD candidate

    Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University

    April 2009 - July 2012(3 years)


    Percy FitzPatrick Institute Of African Ornithology, University Of Cape Town

    January 2004 - March 2005(a year)

    Other profiles

    Co-authors (44)

    • Mariette Brand
    • Shelley Edwards
    • Lisa Nupen
    • Mandy Mason