UCT PhD graduate Zander Venter (image below) and former Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) research assistant, Samantha Venter, attended the Geo for Good Summit in Sunnyvale California from 16 – 19 September 2019. This year, the summit combined the Earth Engine User Summit and Earth Outreach’s Geo for Good User Summit to "bring together the Earth Engine and Earth Outreach communities to one larger event where scientists, non-profits and change-makers can learn from each other and potentially collaborate on projects for positive impact for our planet and its inhabitants."
Several Namibian botanists recently visited Lubango in southern Angola to explore opportunities for collaboration with the Herbarium of Lubango and tertiary institutions, as part of the Bio-Bridge Initiative of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The co-ordinator of the project, Plant Conservation Unit PhD student Kirsti Nghidinwa, was part of the trip. Apart from institutional visits, the visitors welcomed the chance to botanise around Lubango. Despite the generally dry condition of the veld at that time of the year, Angola’s remarkable botanical diversity nevertheless had something in store for the southern neighbours, who filled up SD cards with photos of breath-taking scenery and plants.
Last month, Estelle Razanatsoa, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Plant Conservation Unit (PCU), along with Glynis Humphrey (Postdoctoral Research Fellow) and Tsilavo Razafimanantsoa (PhD student), spent time in Madagascar to attend the 56th annual meeting of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) and to conduct fieldwork in the Northwest of the island.
Plant Conservation Unit research assistant, Hana Petersen, presented the rePhotoSA project, which she coordinates, at the Biodiversity Information Management and Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (BIM-FBIP) joint forum on 19 – 22 August 2019. The forum focused largely on biodiversity open data supporting open science, technology and innovation, following the recent white paper on Science, Technology and Innovation. Several key sessions explored regional biodiversity information efforts in Africa, biodiversity information management priorities in museums and herbaria, and innovative tools and applications to support research and development. The rePhotoSA project fell within the latter session, and was well-received by the audience, resulting in interesting discussion and brainstorming as to how historical photographs can be used in other spheres of research.