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Helga van Coller

Helga van Coller
South African Environmental Observation Network-Ndlovu Node

Ph.D. Environmental Sciences (Botany)
Postdoctoral fellow at South African Environmental Observation Network–Ndlovu Node

About

15
Publications
2,471
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77
Citations
Introduction
Additional affiliations
January 2018 - present
North-West University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • For my Post-Doc I am interested in the community ecology of herbaceous vegetation of a nutrient-rich semi-arid sodic savanna, following both above-and belowground appraoches.
January 2015 - June 2015
North-West University
Position
  • Practical Demonstrator
January 2014 - November 2017
North-West University
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
January 2014 - November 2017
North-West University
Field of study
  • Community ecology of herbaceous vegetation
January 2012 - November 2013
North-West University
Field of study
  • Herbaceous vegetation dynamics and ecology
January 2011 - November 2011
North-West University
Field of study
  • Herbaceous vegetation dynamics

Publications

Publications (15)
Article
Full-text available
Various factors lead to increased woody species density, biomass and cover (so-called ‘bush encroachment’) that influence ecosystem functioning and services in semi-arid rangelands. Ultimately, bush encroachment has adverse effects on human livelihoods. An increased understanding of ecosystem functioning in bush-encroached rangelands could contribu...
Conference Paper
Decomposition is a major determinant of terrestrial nutrient cycling and therefore an important regulator of ecosystem structure and function. It has been widely documented that large mammalian herbivores (LMH) act as a significant driver of changes to aboveground structure and modifications to edaphic properties. Little is known about the role of...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Increased frequency and intensity of droughts related to climate change are predicted to induce pressure on herbaceous communities. Considering that forbs contribute significantly to savanna ecosystem resilience, we investigated forb communities of a protected semi-arid savanna during an extensive drought. Objective: We identified droug...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Increased frequency and intensity of droughts related to climate change are predicted to induce pressure on herbaceous communities. Considering that forbs contribute significantly to savanna ecosystem resilience, we investigated forb communities of a protected semi-arid savanna during an extensive drought.Objective: We identified drough...
Article
Attempts to obtain standardised decomposition data to determine potential drivers of carbon release have evolved from the use of cotton strips and standardised leaf litter mixtures to the most recent Tea Bag Index (TBI). The TBI is an internationally standardised method to collect comparable, globally distributed data on decomposition rate and litt...
Article
Full-text available
Projected increases in the frequency and severity of drought events are expected to impose changes in the ecology of native forb communities in semi-arid ecosystems. We examined the state of forb communities during, and directly after an extreme drought event across two contrasting land-use types, which included a protected area (high diversity of...
Article
Full-text available
Rainfall and herbivory shape savannah herbaceous communities, but these disturbances are being altered globally. To assess potential consequences of such alterations, we evaluated herbivore effects on species and functional diversity during an episodic drought in a sodic savannah using data collected from long‐term herbivore exclosures in the Kruge...
Presentation
Full-text available
This presentation was presented by me at The 17th Annual Savanna Science Networking Meeting, hosted by SANParks' Scientific Services from 3 - 7 March 2019 in the Mdluli Conference Centre, Skukuza.
Article
Full-text available
Long-term herbaceous vegetation data collected from herbivore and fire exclusion treatments in a nutrient-rich system in the Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa were used to compare the response patterns of forbs and grasses to varying rainfall conditions. Palatable annual forbs consistently dominated over palatable annual grasses, whereas unp...
Thesis
Full-text available
Ecological conservation of savanna ecosystems is dependent upon interactive mechanisms involving bottom-up drivers such as nutrient availability, and top-down controls relating to fire, herbivory and water availability at various spatial scales. Alterations in diverse savanna herbivore communities, suppression of natural fire regimes and increased...
Research
Full-text available
Understanding relationships between large herbivores and plant species diversity in dynamic riparian zones, and more specifically sodic zones, is critical to biodiversity conservation. Sodic patches form an integral part of savanna ecosystems because of the ecosystem services and functions they provide, i.e. accumulation of nutrients, provision of...
Article
Full-text available
The hump-back relationship between species diversity and productivity predicts highest species richness at intermediate levels of biomass, and low species numbers in least and most productive habitats. Sodic patches of semi-arid savannas are considered ‘nutrient hotspots’ by producing high-quality forage. The impact of biomass reduction (due to ove...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding relationships between large herbivores and plant species diversity in dynamic riparian zones is critical to biodiversity conservation. The Nkuhlu exclosures in the Kruger National Park (KNP) provided opportunity to investigate spatial heterogeneity patterns within riparian zones, as well as how these patterns are affected by fire and...
Article
Full-text available
Die groot vloede wat in die jaar 2000 in die Kruger Nasionale Park plaasgevind het, het dierivieroewerplantegroei versteur. Dit het die geleentheid gebied om heinings op te rig langsdie Sabierivier om herbivore uit sekere gebiede uit te sluit en sodoende die herstel van die rivieroewerekosisteme te monitor.
Article
The study was conducted in the North-West University Botanical Gardens where all 18 ponds provide habitat for the river frogs. A total of 117 river frogs were marked with pit-tags. Their movements in the garden, between and within ponds were monitored over a period of 12 months. Results showed that river frogs are active throughout the year and tha...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
To improve the scientific understanding of Ecosystem Resilience through the application of forb ecology research in tropical and subtropical grassy ecosystems