Dr Lovanomenjanahary MARLINE (Madagascar)

Lova is working in a field that links plant biology, ecology and conservation. She has been focusing her research on bryophytes, a poorly studied group of plant in tropical ecosystems.

PhD in Biological Sciences

Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Research focus: diversity and distribution of bryophyte in Madagascar, plant ecology, taxonomy, and biodiversity conservation

Bryophytes are a difficult group of plant and, consequently, poorly known in Africa and neighbouring islands. However, their maintenance in ecosystems is of prime interest for tropical forests where they play a key part in nutrients cycling and water retention. The study of bryophytes (as of other small organisms) is, consequently, of particular interest and of great need to better understand tropical forest functioning in a changing environment.

Lova’s aim is to raise awareness on the significance of bryophytes as a bioindicator of environmental changes and their use for conservation planning.

CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2014):

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Research focus: understanding the factors affecting the diversity and distribution of bryophytes in Madagascar under a changing environment

Breaking new scientific ground in her study of the bryophytes of Madagascar, Lovanomenjanahary Marline is committed to investigating these plants as sensitive bio indicators of climate change.

As one of the first scientists to make a comprehensive study of the bryophytes of Madagascar, Lovanomenjanahary, who also goes by Lova, is a pioneering botanist. Her native country is considered one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world and is a priority area for conservation. Lova’s PhD research project will not only significantly enhance the body of knowledge on tropical bryophytes but also explore innovative new uses for the study of these plants. An example of this, as she explains, is “the importance of bryophytes within the ecosystem as important bio indicators of climate change and their use as models in the design of new protected areas”.

The research has three concrete over-arching aims for guiding sustainable development, which Lova characterises using bryophytes in the following ways: “as a model to better understand the accumulation of species richness in a hotspot of biodiversity; as an indicator species to predict the migration of climatically sensitive ecosystems through the community’s response to climate change; and as a basis for new approaches to conservation planning of tropical forest systems”.

Lova’s ambition is to continue her work in tropical bryology as a full-time researcher at the post-doctoral level. Through this, she hopes to expand the knowledge base as scientific progress in its own right and to continue her study of bryology in the context of climate change solutions.

The jury was impressed with Lova’s academic record – she has shown great initiative and broken new ground in the study of tropical bryology in Madagascar, working under difficult research conditions and being awarded with both national and international scholarships. They believe that participating in the Green Talents forum will help her expand her scientific network and present the emerging results of this new area of botany to the international scientific community.