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  • Writer's pictureKrista N Oswald

Welcome to the jungle

First blog post of my first website attempt... So first off (another first!) I'll start with a brief overview of my research. And it's not so much a jungle as a beautiful scrubby semi-arid mountain (the opposite of a jungle). But that doesn't sound quite as good:)

In my MSc, I studied rockjumper thermal physiology

in the hopes of determining why populations are declining specifically in areas with strong warming trends, but I found no evidence that poor physiological tolerance to heat is involved in their sensitivity to habitat warming. I also looked at their cold tolerance to better understand how they survived the colder parts of winter. In the image to the right you can see a male Cape rockjumper puffed up to keep warm while we tested his cold physiology. A GoPro with live-feed let me continuously monitor him, and I checked his body temperature every few minutes to

make sure he was alright.


For my PhD I intend to investigate other aspects of how rockjumpers respond to climate, to see how both current climate warming, as well as past paleo-climatic events, have shaped the habitat for Cape rockjumpers (pictured left).

I will examine current gene-flow across their range, past genetic separation from their sister-species (the Drakensberg rockjumper, pictured right).

I will also look at behavioural and reproductive changes on days with varying temperatures.

Hatch day! Rockjumpers always seem to lay 2 eggs, but they don't always both hatch.

Baby bums:) Cape rockjumper nestlings at about 4-5 days old.

A fledgling popping up to say "hello".

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