Graduation this year encompassed a range of highlights. Firstly, the official robing of Vice Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng by Chancellor Graça Machel on the 13th December 2018, and secondly, the renaming of the Jameson Memorial Hall to the Sarah Baartman Hall to reflect the history of the people of South Africa. Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) student Glynis Humphrey also graduated on the 14th December 2018 with her doctorate under the supervision of Associate Professor Gillson (PCU Deputy Director). Glynis was among 1885 graduates, 118 doctorates, and 780 Masters students who graduated from the University of Cape Town during six ceremonies this season.
On Monday, 3 December 2018, members of the Plant Conservation Unit team and associates gathered to have some lunch at the UCT Club at the University of Cape Town to celebrate a fun and successful year and to bid farewell to Samantha Venter and Sally Mashele. The PCU would like to extend its utmost appreciation and gratitude to Samantha Venter and Sally Mashele for playing such a significant role. We wish you all the best! Read the article to learn more.
On 30 November 2018, two Plant Conservation Unit PhD students, Wesley Bell and Gina Arena, participated in the Department of Biological Sciences Research Day for postgraduates held at Hlanganani Junction in the main library at the University of Cape Town #UCTBioDay2018. The mini-symposium was well-organised with a programme consisting of 19 oral and 6 poster presentations from the marine, botanical, zoological and ecological sciences. Read the full article to learn more!
A conference on the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation was recently held from 28-30 August 2018 at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town. The conference was hosted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and was organised in association with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. The Plant Conservation Unit’s PhD student Kirsti Nghidinwa was among the participants. read the full article to learn more!
The Plant Conservation Unit would like to give a warm welcome to Amy Hoffenberg who has recently joined us as an MSc Candidate in Conservation Biology under the supervision of A/Prof Lindsey Gillson and co-supervision of Cherié Forbes. Amy aims to investigate changes in water quality over time (centennial timescales) through fossil diatom analysis of sediment cores from an upland conservation site and an lowland agricultural site in the Cape Floristic Region with the goal of informing conservation and land-use management practices in the region. Welcome Amy!
In October 2018, the Plant Conservation Unit team including Timm Hoffman, Marianna Lot, Samantha Venter, Sally Mashele, Gina Arena, Wesley Bell, & Sonto Mtolo attended the Arid Zone Ecology Forum conference held in Robertson in the Western Cape. The team had a fantastic time - read the full article to learn more!
The Plant Conservation Unit is pleased to announce the publication of an exciting new paper by Michael Cramer, Simon Power, Anastas Belev, Lindsey Gillson, William Bond, Timm Hoffman and Lars Hedin in the journal Ecography. The article is titled, "Are forest-shrubland mosaics of the Cape Floristic Region an example of alternate stable states?” and was published online in September 2018. The abstract is provided but the full paper may be downloaded here.
On 4 August 2018, Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) Director, Prof. Timm Hoffman, and PCU research assistant, Sally Mashele, took Dr Kimberlie McCue and her husband, Michael, to visit the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden in Worcester, Western Cape. The team met with the curator, Werner Voigt and took a tour of the area. Overall it was a wonderful day! Read the full article to learn more.
On 10 September 2018, the Science Postgraduate Students Council and the Faculty of Science Committee on Postgraduate Affairs hosted the 11th Annual Science Symposium titled, ‘Communicate to Collaborate: Reaching scientists across all disciplines at the University of Cape Town'. For the first time in the symposium’s history students from Stellenbosch University were invited to contend in the event. Glynis Humphrey and Ruan De Wet from the Department of Biological Sciences presented at the event. Read the article to learn more!
On Monday 10 September 2018, the South African Astronomical Observatory hosted an introductory writing workshop facilitated by The Conversation - Africa in Cape Town. The workshop was centred on learning to write and improve one’s skills in communicating science for non-academic audiences. Plant Conservation Unit Ph.D. candidate, Glynis Humphrey, attended the event. Read her article to learn more.
In August 2018, Samantha Venter, a research assistant at the Plant Conservation Unit, travelled with some friends to Darling in the Western Cape to see the wildflowers. They first visited Waylands Wild Flower Reserve and then Tienie Versveld Reserve, both situated just outside of Darling. Read the full article to see some pics of the magnificent floral displays.
On 28 August 2018, ScienceLink hosted Alaina Levine at Codebridge in Cape Town. Plant Conservation Unit Ph.D. Candidate, Glynis Humphrey, attended the event along with other scientists and non-government organisations. Discussions were centred on strategies for targeting communication in different sectors in society. Overall it was an interesting and successful event. Read the article to learn more.