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.
Plant Conservation Unit Masters student Olli Hyvärinen together with his supervisor, Timm Hoffman, recently visited Asante Sana Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape to collect data on vegetation types and cover from 23 to 27 October 2017. Olli is researching long-term vegetation change and its implications on reserve management. This was Olli's first time visiting a game reserve. Not only did he learn a lot about the vegetation types of the area but he also got to meet some great people and saw some fantastic wildlife. Read Olli's article to learn more!
Plant Conservation Unit PhD student, Wesley Bell, returned to Namaqualand during September and October 2017 to collect data for his research into land degradation. Although Wesley managed to collect a good amount of data while visiting some extraordinary landscapes, the overriding influence of the drought was always at the forefront of his mind. In this article, Wesley highlights the plight of farmers during the drought, please read the full article to learn more.
The Plant Conservation Unit was sad to learn of the passing of botanist Dr Graham Williamson, who passed away peacefully at his home in Cape Town on 12 October 2017. He was an inspiring and passionate man who will be sorely missed. Read the article to learn more about his life and his contribution to the botanical field.
The Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) would like to give a warm welcome to Tamryn Hamilton who has joined the PCU team for the next three months while she works in the palaeo-lab under the guidance of A/Prof. Lindsey Gillson. Tamryn has just begun her Masters at the University of Witwatersrand under the supervision of Prof. Sally Archibald (Wits University) and Stephan Woodborne (iThemba Laboratories). The team is collaborating with Lindsey Gillson and Glynis Humphrey (PCU PhD Candidate). Tamryn says that she is looking forward to her time here at the University of Cape Town and the possibilities it will bring. Welcome Tamryn!
On Friday 6 October 2017, Plant Conservation Unit Masters student, Hana Petersen, delved into her ‘dark past’, presenting her research on a bat species at the Southern African Bat Research Conference (SABRC 2017), held at Kirstenbosch Gardens last week. Hana’s presentation titled, “A first glance at the social vocal and behavioural repertoire of Geoffroy's horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus clivosus”, detailed the findings of her Honours thesis looking at the social calls of R. clivosus in captivity. Read the article to learn more!
The Plant Conservation Unit would like to give a warm welcome to Olli Hyvärinen who has recently joined us as an MSc Candidate in conservation biology under the supervision of Prof. M. Timm Hoffman and co-supervision of Dr Chevonne Reynolds (The Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology). Olli's research will focus on monitoring long-term vegetation change in the Asante Sana Game Reserve, Eastern Cape between 1984 and 2017. Read the article to learn more. Welcome Olli!