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Postdoctoral Fellows 2021

Dr Mesmin Awo

Research interest:   Impact of Benguela Niños and Congo River on the marine ecosystem and ocean salinity.
Advisor:  A/Prof Mathieu Rouault (NRF SARCHI CHAIR, UCT)
Affiliation: Nansen-Tutu Centre, UCT





Dr Abdoul Chama

Research interests: Applied mathematics, finite element, computational electromagnetics 
Advisor: A/Prof Marcello Vichi (MARIS, UCT)
Affiliation: Dept. of Oceanography, UCT





Dr Subhra Dey

Research interests: Physical and biogeochemical oceanography, numerical ocean modeling and coupling with a biogeochemical component. The current project I am working on is the humpback whales in a changing climate.
Advisor: A/Prof Marcello Vichi (MARIS, UCT)
Affiliation: Marine Antarctic Research centre for Innovation and Sustainability (MARIS), UCT




Dr Giles Fearon

Research interests: Coastal and ocean numerical modelling, with over 10 years' experience in both industry and research contexts. Industry experience includes hydrodynamic modelling of coastal and ocean processes, wave modelling, dispersion modelling of discharges into the marine environment (e.g. outfalls, dredge plumes and oil spills), tropical cyclone modelling, coastal flooding risk assessments and sediment transport modelling. In 2020 my recently completed PhD used models to study the influence of the land-sea breeze on the dynamics of coastal upwelling systems, while my current postdoc position is aimed at understanding the biological response to these small scale and high frequency coastal processes. I am particularly interested in the development of operational coastal forecast systems, and hope to pursue this interest in future.
Advisor: A/Prof Marcello Vichi (MARIS, UCT)
Affiliation: MARIS, UCT


Dr Lisl Lain

Research interests: Optical Oceanography: both satellite and in situ. Main area of specialisation is in bio-optical modelling of phytoplankton, and in particular the development and application of the UCT-CSIR Equivalent Algal Populations model of two-layered spheres. The model reveals the fundamental role of phytoplankton backscatter in ocean optics, with associated implications for the accurate detection of Phytoplankton Functional Types from satellite radiometry. An additional area of interest is in radiative transfer modelling using Hydrolight, with a view to understanding the light field as observed by radiometric sensors (i.e. ocean colour). Current research activities: development and application of the EAP model in the S. Ocean, and to African coastal and shelf seas using Sentinel-3 satellite data.
Advisor: A/Prof Marcello Vichi (MARIS, UCT) Dr Sandy Thomalla and Dr Stewart Bernard (CSIR)
Affiliation: MARIS, UCT and CSIR  


Dr Alice Lebehot

Research interests: By reconciling in-situ biogeochemical properties with Earth System Models data, her research broadly aims at understanding the variability of the ocean CO2 sink, and the drivers of this change. She is particularly interested in the mechanisms involved in the sub-seasonal CO2 ocean variability in the Southern Ocean, using high-resolution observations (gliders) and model outputs. Beside her research, she provides logistical and technical support, as Chapter Scientist, for the Carbon and Biogeochemical Feedbacks chapter (Chapter 5; WG1) of the next IPCC (AR6).
Advisor: A/Prof Marcello Vichi (MARIS, UCT) and Dr Pedro Monteiro(CSIR)
Affiliation: MaRIS, UCT and SOCCO-CSIR 



Dr Georges-Noel Longandjo

Research interests: Dr Georges-Noel Longandjo recently completed his PhD working on drivers of Central Africa rainfall annual cycle and variability. His research addresses fundamental questions in atmospheric and climate dynamics, land-ocean interactions, the water cycle, and past & future climate change
Advisor: A/Prof Mathieu Rouault (UCT)
Affiliation: Nansen Tutu Center for Marine Environmental Research, UCT




Dr Thulwaneng Mashifane

Research interests: Current research focuses on improving biogeochemical representation in ocean models; understanding biogeochemical cycles; and generation of greenhouse gases in the ocean.
Advisor: A/Prof Marcello Vichi(MARIS, UCT)  and Dr Sandy Thomalla(SOCCO-CSIR)
Affiliation: MARIS, UCT and SOCCO-CSIR



Dr Daneeja Mawren

Research interests: Understanding climate variability in the tropical Indian Ocean (with a focus over the Seychelles-Chagos Thermocline Ridge) - Role of upper-ocean dynamics in climate variability - Tropical cyclones and climate - Ocean modelling - Tropical ocean-atmosphere interaction
Advisor: Prof Chris Reason(UCT) and Prof Juliet Hermes(SAEON)
Affiliation: Dept. of Oceanography, UCT and SAEON



Dr Ramontsheng Rapolaki

Research interests: Severe weather and moisture transport, climate change/variability, atmosphere modelling. Current project: Severe weather and convection over southern Africa
Advisor: Prof Chris Reason(UCT) and Prof Juliet Hermes (SAEON)
Affiliation: Dept. of Oceanography, UCT and SAEON





Dr Sandi Smart

Research interests: Specialize in using the modern ocean as a window into Earth’s past and future climates. In my research, I use the chemical composition of ocean water and biological materials (recent and fossil) to tackle questions relating to climate change and ocean acidification. My expertise includes stable isotope analysis, paleo-proxy development, and high-resolution mapping of biominerals.
Advisor:  Dr Sarah Fawcett(UCT)
Affiliation: Dept of Oceanography, UCT and adjunct faculty at the University of Alabama