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Africa scholarship recipients

Below is the list of 2021 scholarship recipients.

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Linus Ajikah Awardee 2021

Linus Ajikah holds a PhD in applied Botany with a specialization in Palynology from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is a lecturer in the Department of Plant and Ecological Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria. His research interest focuses on the Palynology of Holocene sediments from around the coastal environments of Southwestern Nigeria. One of the most challenging coastal environments in Nigeria that has received much anthropogenic disturbance due to its central location as the most urbanized region in Nigeria. He investigates and examines severe changes in vegetation and infers climate through time, due to population increase and associated anthropogenic activities which have often resulted in the degradation and loss of vegetation. Dr. Ajikah also monitors, measure, and count weekly/monthly allergenic prevalence of airborne pollen and spores in the atmosphere with detailed climatic data. This weekly information about some allergenic airborne bioaerosols helps allergy sufferers to identify plants tending to produce allergenic pollen in their environment and adopt prophylactic measures. The research also assists health care providers in making clinical diagnoses and decisions. He has published articles in both areas.
His current research on palynological and paleoenvironmental modelling of climate and land cover changes around the Lagos coastal environment in the Holocene earned him the PAGES mobility grant to visit Central Analytical Facility (CAF) Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch Cape town South Africa for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of pollen grains.

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Abraham Dabengwa Awardee 2021

Abraham is an ecologist pursuing postdoc at Genus at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is also a research associate at the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences. His research is aimed at understanding Late Quaternary ecological dynamics of grass-dominated biome responses to climate, fire, large mammalian grazers, and humans in central highlands of South Africa. Abraham is exploring the sensitivity and value of plant functional trait responses over long timescales to changing climate and contrasting consumers (i.e., fires and grazers). This multiple-proxy palaeoecological work involves the analysis of sedimentary charcoal, fossil dung fungal spores, grass phytoliths, re-analysis of pollen data, and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry. He joined the PAGES Inter-Africa Mobility Research Fellowship Program with the intention of performing robust analyses of modern and ancient sedimentary charcoal to narrow the origins of burned biomass, infer changes in spatial scaling based on charcoal profiles, quantify the effect of grazing and trampling on charcoal signals, and review the usefulness of charcoal elongation ratios. This work is pursued with Dr Jemma Finch Professor Sally Archibald and Professor Marion Bamford. Apart from science, Abraham enjoys reading, hiking, running, theater, and dabbling with art.

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Ekoko Eric Africa Awardee 2021

Dr Bokanda Ekoko Eric is a senior lecturer in the department of geology of the University of Buea, Cameroon. He obtained his PhD from the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon in the field of Sedimentology and petroleum Geology. His research interest ranged within the field of clastic and carbonate sedimentology. He has published many articles related to sedimentary basin, few related to petroleum source rock evaluation of black shales, origin of paleofluid within carbonate formation and Alluvial rutile origin.
His current research on paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the Cameroon sector of West Africa using mangrove swamp sediments earned him the PAGES mobility grant in which he will be working with his Mentor, Professor Fulvio Franchi in the Geological laboratory of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST).

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 Omuombo PAGES Awardee 2021

Christine holds a PhD in Quaternary Geology and is a lecturer at The Technical University of Kenya. She is an Affiliate researcher at Earth Sciences Department, National Museums of Kenya and the Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation University of Nairobi. Her research interest centers on understanding the responses of water bodies (Lakes, Rivers and Oceans) and their catchments to past climate and environmental changes using multiple biogeochemical proxies. Christine recently obtained a sediment core from the Lamu area along the Kenyan coast. During her PAGES – IAI fellowship she will partner with Dr. Vincent Hare of the Stable Light Isotope Laboratory, University of Cape Town. This visit will enable her carry out elemental and stable isotope analyses (δ13C and δ15N) on samples from the core to determine the likely sources of the organic material during different periods of sea level fluctuations. It is her hope that this work will highlight the paleoecological and fluvial dynamics during the Late Holocene from the East African Coast. This work is in the broader context of understanding the palaeocology of Mangroves off the Kenyan coast in collaboration with Prof. Daniel Olago, Dr. David Williamson and Prof. Rob Marchant.