It is a humbling experience to acknowledge those people who have, mostly out of kindness, helped along the journey of my PhD. I am indebted to so many for encouragement and support.
My sincerest thanks are extended to my project supervisor and mentor, Professor Mary Scholes, for her encouragement and guidance. Eskom and SASOL are acknowledged for their bursary and investment in the research. The National Research Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation and the University of the Witwatersrand are thanked for their post-graduate bursary support. The Eskom-SASOL Impacts Working group is acknowledged for their direction and feedback.
My research committee in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, Professors Graham Alexander and David Mycock (as chairmen), Dr Barend Erasmus, Dr Chris Herold and Dr Kristy Ross (as committee members), are thanked for their interest and valuable comments on the research. The reviewers of the three manuscripts submitted to journals are thanked for the constructive advice improving the quality of the manuscripts and this thesis.
Several people helped with: the collection of samples, analyses in the laboratory, the preparation of maps, providing advice for statistical analyses and they are all thanked for their contributions. Special mention goes to the support staff of the School of APES, Allison, Chris, Ewa, James, Jason, Kim, Lawrence, Leanne, Lydia, Rori, Ryan, Rob and Stephen C. for help in the field and lab, Stephen W. for assistance with some of the images, Cristy for proof-reading a draft of the thesis. Thanks also to Mr Joseph Mathai for statistical analyses, Prof Edward Witkowski for statistical advice and Ms Jolene Fisher for GIS and statistical advice. Dr Adri Kotze and team at BEM Labs (Pty) Ltd are thanked for their efficient service and prompt response to queries. My heart-felt thanks to Dr Nina Snyman for the private, hands-on tutorials in using ArcGIS. I am grateful to Super Group Limited for assistance with printing copies of the thesis.
To my many friends and family, you should know that your support and encouragement was worth more than I can express on paper.
Thank you Jenny and Meg for breakfasts, tea-breaks and advice – you were always there with a word of encouragement or listening ear.
To Carl – thank you for your enthusiasm, pride and curiosity to share my map of the world.
Mom and Bridget, you knew it would be a long and sometimes bumpy road, but encouraged and supported me along the way. Thank you.
To dad who was often in my thoughts on this journey – you are missed.