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Selala, MC (PhD)

Mapurunyane Callies Selala was born and grew up at Mamone village in Sekhukhune land, the Limpopo Province. He completed his B.Sc. Honours and M.Sc. degrees in Applied Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape in 2003 and 2008, respectively. He is the author/co-author of two research papers published in peer-review journals.

In his thesis, Evaluation of biotic succession in the Con Joubert Bird Sanctuary wetland after a vegetable oil spill, the promovenda studied wetland resilience after the largest ever reported vegetable oil spill in a freshwater wetland system. In the study, he conducted a pilot study to evaluate the bioremediation potential of fertilizer usage under post-spill conditions in the Con Joubert Bird Sanctuary wetland. He further investigated biotic diversity using bioindicators and molecular tools under post-spill conditions. This enabled him to determine the adverse effects of the vegetable oil spill and resilience of the wetland.

From the thesis several recommendations were made, including that biostimulation is the method of choice to improve microbial activity and vegetable oil degradation at contaminated sites if there is no danger of progressive eutrophication. A battery of bioassays and analyses of physicochemical conditions should be performed to assess prevailing post-spill wetland conditions. Noteworthy, the relationships between the oil spill and seasonal variability impacts on the planktonic phytoplankton community structure due to variation in water depth in the wetland which in turn impacts on wetland recovery. Also, the lack of pre-spill data of yearly variability of most wetland ecosystems under non-spill conditions is a limitation during the analysis of experimental data.

The information in this thesis represents the first report on monitoring of succession of biota in a freshwater wetland after a sunflower oil spill incident. Therefore, it is proposed that the data presented in this thesis can be used as a model for restoration purposes in the future for other freshwater wetland environments globally.

Thesis title:

Evaluation of biotic succession in the Con Joubert Bird Sanctuary wetland after a vegetable oil spill.

Supervisor: Dr PJ Oberholster
Co-supervisor: Dr JG Myburgh
External examiner: Prof O Buzhdygan (Chernivtsi National University, Ukraine)
External examiner: Prof MGN Ghobrial (Ministry of Scientific Research, Egypt)
External examiner: Prof WJ Luus-Powell (University of Limpopo)