Courtney Klink

MSc Candidate

I am a Biodiversity and Ecology honours student for Stellenbosch University’s Botany and Zoology department. I hold an Advanced Diploma in Nature Conservation (Cum laude) from Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Throughout my tertiary education I have dipped my toes in a multitude of biological aspects, such as within entomology, ornithology and most currently botany. Whilst doing so, I fell head over heels in love with nature conservation, which I express through sharing natures narrative through social media and photography.

My honours research project is focused on understanding the thermal ecology of annual daisies. The work is of interest due to the lack of thermal ecological work on a spring flowering system of unique daisies, specifically the Dimorphotheca sinuate-pluvialis complex. Usually, this type of work has been explored within winter flowering systems, alpine or high-altitude areas. Given the flowering displays when temperatures are relatively low, and the northward orientation shifts of the daisy capitula and high prevalence of dark centred flowers, there is potential for floral temperature regulation being a key aspect for floral reproduction. Thus, I will be using experiments to explore the temperature differences of floral appendage structures in relation to their colouration, structure, orientation, and thermal contribution of specific floral parts. Additionally, I shall be studying daisy communities in-field to correlate thermal microenvironments to pollinator interactions. On the premise that they may utilize different floral parts under differing ambient temperatures to gain thermal rewards in addition to other rewards.