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Current Students

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Participants

Christel D. Hansen
Participation: 2011 – present
Place of Birth: Windhoek, Namibia
Nationality: South Africa

Thesis TitleOn high-altitude and -latitude diurnal frost environments

Research Interests: Cold-climate geomorphology, Antarctic landscapes and ecosystems, the Polar Regions, landscape and process studies, weathering and erosion, desert environmental studies, remote sensing, Geographical Information Systems, geostatistics and statistical analyses 

Fieldwork Experience:

Antarctica (Dronning Maud Land): 2010/11, 2011/12, 2013/14, 2014/15

Prince Edward Islands (Marion Island): 2014


Having grown up in the semi-arid country of Namibia I have always loved everything to do with the desert: the hot climate, extreme aridity, sparsity of plants and unique and fascinating landforms. My childhood piqued an interest in landforms and shapes found on the earth’s surface and what causes these landforms to look the way they do. I have carried this interest through to my university career and my research has taken me to the most fascinating places. I love the Antarctic, it is after all also a desert. I love everything about it, the fact it’s so isolated and difficult to get to, the fact that we know so little about it (making research there so exciting), and especially because the work there allows me to meet and collaborate with researchers from around the world.

Academic History:

2011 – 2012: Rhodes University (MSc) – Geography

2010: University of Pretoria (BScHons) – Environmental Analysis and Management

2007 – 2009: University of Pretoria (BSc) – Geoinformatics

E-Mail: g11h7349@campus.ru.ac.za  


Master of Science (MSc) Participants

Jenna T. Knox 

image_chParticipation2015 – present

Place of Birth: Durban, South Africa

Nationality: South Africa

Dissertation TitleAn investigation into chemical weathering on selected nunataks in western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

Research Interests:  Chemical weathering, periglacial landforms, erosion and water geochemistry in cold regions

Fieldwork Experience:

Antarctica (Dronning Maud Land): 2016/17


I am currently a second year Masters of Science student in Geography at Rhodes University under the supervision of Prof. Ian Meiklejohn. I have a passion for geomorphology and enjoy studying processes of weathering in periglacial regions. I have been interested in Antarctic research since my first year at Rhodes University and it is such an honour to be one of the students selected, for undertaking research on the continent. I hope to further enhance the understanding of chemical rock weathering in Western Dronning Maud Land, and document the influence this process has on cold region geomorphology.

Academic History:

2015: Rhodes University (BScHons) – Geography
2012 – 2014: Rhodes University (BSc) – Geography and Environmental Science

Tebogo C.Masebe
TebogoParticipation: 2015 – present
Place of Birth: Louis Trichardt, South Africa
Nationality: South Africa
Dissertation TitleFundamental atmospheric drivers that affect ground thermal regimes during an Austral summer in Western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

Research Interests: Cold-climate environments, extreme weather events, cold climate geomorphology, atmospheric processes

Fieldwork Experience:

Antarctica (Dronning Maud Land): 2016/17


Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by the natural world of science – from the universe to an atom. From looking up to the night sky to looking at my natural surroundings, I have always been filled with wonder. Being involved in the cold-climate geomorphology in Antarctica project is one way of satisfying my curiosity for the natural world, most especially because it is an area where knowledge is still limited. In addition, getting to explore new places in search of knowledge, especially Antarctica is very rewarding and exciting.

Academic History:

2015: Rhodes University (BScHons) – Geography
2011 – 2014: Rhodes University (BSc) – Geography and Chemistry
E-Mail g11m0853@campus.ru.ac.za


Jessica A. Rosenfels

Participation: 2014 – present
Place of Birth: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Nationality: South Africa

Dissertation Title: Observations on tafoni formation in western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

Research Interests: Cold-climate geomorphology, landscape studies, weathering, geology, biodiversity

Fieldwork Experience:

Antarctica (Dronning Maud Land): 2014/15, 2015/16

Prince Edward Islands (Marion Island): 2014


As a keen adventurist, I have always loved the outdoors and anything involving the natural world. High school stemmed a passion in geography and it is something I have continued to my university career. I got involved in this project as I am passionate about the work that they are doing and I hope that one day I can contribute my part. It has been a great adventure and a huge learning experience and it has only furthered my interest in physical geography.

Academic History:
2014: Rhodes University (BScHons) – Geography
2010 – 2013: Rhodes University (BSc) – Geography and Environmental Science
E-Mail: g10r1879@campus.ru.ac.za 

Nicola F. Wilmot

2015 – present
Place of Birth: Johannesburg, South Africa
Nationality: South Africa 

Dissertation TitleThe periglacial geomorphology of selected nunataks in Western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

Research Interests: Landforms, Geographical Information Systems, geomorphology, cold climates, human geography, biodiversity, weathering, animal geomorphology, anthropology, and biomimicry

Fieldwork Experience:

Antarctica (Western Dronning Maud Land): 2016/17


I have always loved being outdoors and being adventurous. I have been very fortunate to be able to travel to various places all over the world and that has really enhanced my passion for geography, as every new place I went there was something interesting and different about the landscape compared to South Africa. For example we went to Hawaii, it was so fascinating to see the lava flowing into the sea and creating land. The interest for Antarctica came about in my first year of studies at Rhodes University where Master and Honours students did a presentation about their research and I was hooked. I am proud to say that I am now doing my Masters on Antarctic research despite the fact that I have dyslexia and was written off as someone who would never past Matric. It just shows that with hard work, drive and dedication anything is possible espcially when you study something you love and are passionate in. Geography is my passion!

Academic History:

2015: Rhodes University (BAHons) – Geography
2012 – 2014: Rhodes University (BA) – Geography and Anthropology
E-Mail: g12W0239@campus.ru.ac.za

Rachel P. Ibbetson
Participation: 2017 – present=
Place of Birth: Bulwer, South Africa
Nationality: South Africa
Dissertation Title: The effects of fire frequency on vegetation health and invertebrate diversity in Giant’s Castle Game Reserve.

Research Interests: Biogeography, interactions between invertebrates and the earth’s surface, effects of human actions on landscapes and ecosystems, GIS and remote sensing applications

Fieldwork Experience:

Fieldwork has been a compulsory and necessary constituent of my academic career. Throughout my university career I was exposed to different methods of field work and data collection when on field trips for botany, entomology, and geography. I have collected data in riverine and terrestrial environments.

In 2014, I was the field assistant of Nicola Carruthers for her third-year botany project. Her research entailed the effects of bush encroachment on ungulate feeding habits in grasslands in the Eastern Cape. I sampled dung, plant composition, plant damage by ungulates, and plant biomass along transects and within quadrats.

My third-year entomology project required field work throughout the year of 2016. I carried out a preliminary study of herbivores associated with the alien invasive Robinia pseudoacacia under the supervision of Dr Grant Martin. I had three sample sites: Grahamstown, Adelaide, and Bedford in the Eastern Cape. I collected soil samples, tested seed viability, set up camera traps, noted data on leaf damage. Insect abundance, diversity and identification were determined. Some insect specimens were also reared in the laboratory as voucher specimens.


My first few years of life were spent in a little town called Bulwer, near the Drakensberg.  It was living at the base of Bulwer Mountain, hearing baboons call each other during the day while paragliders flew overhead. That germinated my appreciation of mountainous areas and their related ecosystems. Throughout school, my interests remained with the natural sciences, along with a great appreciation for the arts. My university career was inspired not only by my passions but also by my grandfather’s academic interest in geography. I am curious about the world in which we live and wish to add to scientific knowledge for the benefit of all. I was privileged to be taken under the supervision of Prof. Meiklejohn for my postgraduate studies this year to fulfil some of those goals. My interests have returned to the Drakensberg area once again as I investigate the effects of fire frequency on vegetation health and invertebrate diversity in Giant’s Castle Game Reserve.

Academic History:
2016: Rhodes University: BSc (Geography & Entomology)
2017: Rhodes University: BScHons (Geography)
E-Mail: g14i5652@campus.ru.ac.za

Bachelor of Science Honours (BScHons) Participants

There are no current BSCHons students studying under the project.

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