Jenicca Poongavanan


Jenicca is originally from Mauritius, an island found on the east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. She started with a Bachelor’s degree in South Africa at the Nelson Mandela University, then made her way to the University of Cape Town for a Masters in Ecological Statistics where she joined the SEEC - Centre for Statistics in Ecology, Environment and Conservation: a research group within the Department of Statistical Sciences at the University of Cape Town. She then switched to behavior ecology and is now busy working on a second Master’s in Interdisciplinary Ecology (2019) from the University of Florida. Her work focuses on seabirds movement ecology, specifically on how environmental gradients shape seabirds spatial behavior.

More details on my past research projects can be found below.

Reseach Experience

2017-2018 Master Thesis at University of Cape Town (Cape Town, South Africa)
Subject Modelling the Range-wide Density Patterns of the Arthroleptella lightfooti using acoustic Monitoring Data
Supervisors Prof. Res Altwegg, Dr. Ian Durbach and Dr. John Measey
Description Species distributions are often limited by environmental factors and according to the abundant-center hypothesis, abundance should be highest where the environment is most favourable for the species. So, do the same environmental factors determine occurrence and abundance patterns inside the range? This question is examined using Arthroleptella lightfooti, a species of frog endemic to the mountains of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.
2016 Bachelor Thesis at Nelson Mandela University (Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
Subject Uncovering the latent movement states and predicting kill-sites of lions using Hidden Markov models
Supervisors Dr. Victoria Goodall
Description The objectives of this project were to evaluate whether HMMs can predict observer-confirmed kill sites from GPS lion relocation data and also provide additional insight into lion behavior.


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