The South African National Biodiversity Institute and partners (including the Plant Conservation Unit, Cape Citizen Science and others) held a Citizen Science Fair at The Old Mutual Conference and Exhibition Centre at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens over the weekend (14-15 April 2018). Hundreds of citizen scientists attended the Saturday event, which had a fantastic line-up of talks, display stands and interactive workshops on a variety of citizen science projects, including rePhotoSA. The citizen science fair was aligned with international citizen science day organised on the same day. Read the article to learn more about this exciting event!
Plant Conservation Unit BSc Honours students Nina Zizzamia, Tara Nair Van Ryneveld and Sally Mashele were among thousands of students who graduated in April 2018 from the University of Cape Town. Nina, and Tara (in absentia), graduated on 4 April 2018 and Sally graduated on 6 April 2018. We would like to congratulate these students on their hard work and dedication to their projects. You have all worked so hard and we wish you every success for the future. Many thanks to colleagues and their institutions who helped to co-supervise these projects. Read the full article to learn more.
The Plant Conservation Unit would like to give a warm welcome to Sonto Mtolo who has recently joined us as an intern under the DST-NRF programme. Sonto will be working with Samantha Venter and Prof. M. Timm Hoffman and will largely assist in processing historical photographic collections and with our citizen science project, rePhotoSA. Welcome Sonto!
On 27 February 2018, Cherié Forbes, a doctoral candidate at the Plant Conservation Unit at the University of Cape Town (UCT), attended the Western Cape Climate Change Response Forum: An initiative under Provincial Strategic Goal 4. The meeting was co-hosted by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and the African Climate and Development Initiative based at UCT. Read the full article to learn more about the workshop. Article and images supplied by Cherié Forbes.
“Hanging on a Wire: Photographs by Sophia Klaase” was shortlisted for, and subsequently won, the 2018 Humanities and Social Sciences Award for Best Non-Fiction Edited Volume. The awards were held at the John Kani Theatre at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg on 15 March 2018. Congratulations to the editors, Rick Rohde and Siona O’Connell, as well as to the photographer Sophia Klaase (“Vytjie”), who sadly passed away at the beginning of 2017.
Petra Holden, who recently completed her PhD at the Plant Conservation Unit, along with five other PhD students from the global north and south reflects on what it means to do transdisciplinary PhD research in an exciting new blog series called, "Transdisciplinary PhD Journeys". "Reflecting on the challenge of the ‘transdisciplinary triple jump’" is the first post in the series, which will run for the next six months.
The Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) would like to congratulate Tsilavo Razafimanantsoa on the upgrade of his M.Sc. to a Ph.D., which was officially approved in November 2017. Tsilavo joined the PCU in 2016 as an M.Sc. Candidate in Palaeoecology and Ecosystem-based Adaptation under the co-supervision of A/Prof Lindsey Gillson (PCU) and Emeritus Professor William Bond in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cape Town. Read the article to learn more!
On Friday 8 December 2017, the Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) celebrated a successful year with a relaxed afternoon braai in Lakeside with PCU staff, students and collaborators. We were especially glad to welcome John Watermeyer who actively contributes to our citizen science project, rePhotoSA; as well as PCU research associate Peter Carrick. Read the full article to learn more!
The Plant Conservation Unit is pleased to announce the publication of an exciting new paper by several international authors and Lindsey Gillson in the journal Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. The article is titled, "Interconnected place-based social–ecological research can inform global sustainability” and was published online in December 2017. The abstract is provided but the full paper may be downloaded here.
On 22-23 November 2017, four members of the Plant Conservation Unit participated in a mini conference at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Stellenbosch University. The aim of the conference was to connect postgraduate students from three different fields of interest namely social sciences, anthropology and natural sciences. The mini conference provided a good opportunity for inter-disciplinary conversations and potential future collaborations, which may hopefully produce research that both conserves the biodiversity of an area while promoting sustainable livelihoods for the people living in those areas. Read the full article to learn more.
The Plant Conservation Unit is pleased to announce the publication of an exciting new paper by James MacPherson, Lindsey Gillson and Timm Hoffman in The Holocene. The article is titled, "Climatic buffering and anthropogenic degradation of a Mediterranean-type shrubland refugium at its semi-arid boundary, South Africa” and was published online in October 2017. The abstract is provided but the full paper may be downloaded here.
Sophia Klaase (1982-2017), also known as Vytjie, was a local photographer from the village of Paulshoek in Namaqualand and was well known to the Plant Conservation Unit. Under the leadership and guidance of Rick Rohde and Timm Hoffman, she produced a body of work of over 1,500 photographs which documented village life in Paulshoek over nearly two decades. Many of her photographs are currently being exhibited at Otterbein University in the USA. Read the full article to learn more.