Natasha Palesa Mothapo
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Natasha is the highly energetic ant lady of the lab. She studies the invasion biology of the Argentine ant in the Cape Floristic Region, a biodiversity hotspot. Her academic career started with a physiological study on an invasive slug found on the sub-Antarctic Marion Island, she then moved over to the Wossler lab where she completed both her MSc and PhD on the behavioural ecology of Argentine ant, as well as the community wide impacts this ant has on the Fynbos. Her postdoc project is looking at how the combined effects of interspecific competition and carbohydrate resource availability give the invasive Argentine ant leverage in displacing native ant species and facilitating their spread into pristine environments.
Natasha loves working with people and engages regularly with both undergraduate and postgraduate students, which comes naturally to her because she is highly sociable, approachable and has a smile for everyone. She has passion for Ballroom and Salsa dancing. When not chasing ants, she generally spends time playing in the park with her two most favourite people in the world, practicing her culinary skills, cuddled with a good book or just hanging with friends over a nice glass of vino and a cheese platter.