Ms Marizanne Jones
Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
My Honours degree was focussed on mycology, under the supervision of Dr Neriman Yilmaz-Visagie. I worked on the fungal diversity found in the soil of the Namibian desert fairy circles to compare the species within the circles, as well as between the circles. The study aimed at expanding our knowledge on the fungal species found in the circles, as well as discovering possible novel species of fungi in the soil.
My current Masters project is supervised by Dr Michelle Schröder and co-supervised by Prof. Brett Hurley and Prof. Bernard Slippers. The project is focussed on the Eucalyptus snout beetle, Gonipterus sp. n. 2 and the possible use of the entomopathogen Beauveria bassiana as a natural biocontrol alternative. My project will focus on the diversity of entomopathogens (specifically Beauveria spp) isolated from Gonipterus that have been collected in forestry plantations in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. In addition, we will investigate the environmental effects that could possibly influence the diversity and virulence of various Beauveria bassiana strains and their use as biological control agents. Furthermore, we want to test that these possible strains of Beauveria bassiana will not negatively impact the current biocontrol agent, Anaphes nitens.