Marion Holmes is a part time PhD student, with Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, and is supervised by Prof Eileen Campbell, Prof Maarten de Wit and Dr Jonathan Taylor.
Diatoms, a golden brown algae, are often used as bioindicators of water quality in a variety of aquatic habitats. Marion is interested in determining if diatoms that grow on the inside walls of the farm ‘dams’ (reservoirs) can be used as an indicator of the borehole water quality which is pumped into them. To do this, each borehole and reservoir have to be sampled 3 times at approximately 6 monthly intervals. The chemical analysis of the borehole water will be compared to the diatom species found in the sample to determine if there is a correlation.
Marion has visited Ganora 3 times since October 2015 to collect the samples and continues to complete sampling at the other sites. Diatom samples will then be processed and analysed.
The project forms part of the AEON Karoo Shale Gas Project.