About

I am currently a Claude Leon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Animal Demography Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town. I also help direct the Mogalakwena Research Centre, which I founded with Dr Elbe Coetsee in 2006.

Prior to my current position, I was an NRF (South African National Research Foundation) Scarce Skills Postdoctoral Fellow based at the Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

I obtained my PhD and my MSc from Virginia Tech in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. I obtained my BSc in Forestry (Nature Conservation) from Stellenbosch University.

My research questions have focused on the spatial dynamics of relatedness, philopatry and dispersal, on foraging and habitat ecology, and recently on disease ecology – integrating foraging theory, physiological ecology and disease dynamics. In the future, I hope to dip a toe into fitness theory, particularly, relationships between long-term fitness and short-term proxies such as LRS. I like to use an array of tools, assays, and statistics. I relish a good deal of coding in spatial and quantitative pursuits.

I try to not discriminate against frequentists, Bayesians or IT proponents – we all have our poison – but I do lean Bayesian and IT when appropriate.

I’ve worked on various systems (bacteria, arthropods, mollusks, birds, mammals) in diverse locations (Alaska, Delaware, Virginia, in the USA; Tanzania; Botswana; South Africa). This has been through my own projects or as a technician or project manager helping others. I started a research facility at a reserve in South Africa, where I also worked as the activities manager and as a guide for a tourist lodge. I’ve had fun (and hard work) volunteering as branch chairperson for BirdLife Botswana for a few years.

I am a christian and an ecologist. I dabble in birding, running, photography, and design. I’m passionate about conservation and teaching people. I enjoy outdoor recreation, especially backpacking and canoeing in wilderness areas.

Contact information

Feel free to email me at pnlaver (at) gmail (dot) com

You can also connect with me through various academic media

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