Gabriella LeightonRhodes University | RU · Department of Zoology and Entomology
Currently looking for post-doctoral opportunities
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Recently awarded a PhD from Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, for thesis investigating the effect of urbanisation on the foraging ecology of caracal on the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. Currently completing a Post-Doctoral fellowship at Rhodes University using stable isotope analysis to explore caracal foraging ecology and potential marine subsidies. Interests in urban ecology, ecotoxicology and carnivore conservation.
May 2018 - March 2020
Summary: 1. Describing spatial patterns of phenotypic traits can be important for evolutionary and ecological studies. However, traditional approaches, such as fieldwork, can be time-consuming and expensive. Information technologies, such as Internet search engines, could facilitate the collection of these data. Google Images is one such technology...
Sustainable offtake of any threatened species and objective monitoring thereof relies on data-driven and well-managed harvest quotas and permit compliance. We used web-sourced images of African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) trophy hunts to determine whether online photographs could assist in monitoring and documenting trophy hunting in Africa. O...
Wildlife around cities bioaccumulate multiple harmful environmental pollutants associated with human activities. Exposure severity can vary based on foraging behaviour and habitat use, which can be examined to elucidate exposure pathways. Carnivores can play vital roles in ecosystem stability but are particularly vulnerable to bioaccumulation of po...
Urbanisation and habitat loss are major threats to wildlife populations globally. Understanding how species respond to anthropogenic changes is therefore crucial to mitigating threats and developing conservation management strategies. We examined the habitat use of five fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus) in Sri Lanka’s capital city, Colombo, a...
As natural habitat is progressively transformed, effective wildlife conservation relies on understanding the phenotypic traits that allow select species to persist outside of protected areas. Through behavioural flexibility such species may trade off abundant resources with risks, both real and perceived. As highly adaptable meso-carnivores, caraca...
Urbanisation radically changes habitats and alters available resources. Populations of large, highly mobile species are often extirpated at the urban-wildland interface, while species like mesocarnivores may thrive by capitalising on changes in prey abundance. We investigated the diet of the caracal (Caracal caracal), a medium-sized felid inhabitin...
The Publisher would like to correct the introduced formatting errors on the caption of Figure 1 and in the data in Table 2.
Poster presentation on early, preliminary data on diet of caracals on the Cape Peninsula, Cape Town, South Africa
We are very interested in harnessing open-access online resources to corroborate existing ecological tools/studies, thereby making them more efficient or streamlined. In addition, we hope to harness these meta-analytical approaches to explore new ecological questions/hypotheses on a previously unattainable scale using passive data collection by really passionate citizen scientists.
1. Establish baseline information about the caracal population on the Cape Peninsula, South Africa: population size, health of individuals, and the distribution of caracals across the Cape Peninsula. 2. Evaluate the effects of urbanization on the behaviour, movement patterns, diet, and genetic health of caracals in the Cape Peninsula. 3. Assess threats to survival for caracals on the Cape Peninsula and potentially beyond to other parts of South Africa.