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!
On Saturday 16 September 2017, members of the Plant Conservation Unit team, Gina Arena, Samantha Venter and Zander Venter attended the 100th anniversary of the popular annual Darling Wildflower Show. The show was organised by The Darling Wildflower Society and was held at the Darling Golf Club from 14 - 17 September 2017. This year’s centenary show focused on the Wildflower Society’s development over the last 100 years as well as the Herbarium project. Read the full article to learn more!
On 20-23 August 2017, Cherié Forbes, a doctoral candidate at the Plant Conservation Unit, participated in the 4th triennial Resilience 2017 Conference based in Stockholm, Sweden. Cherié’s poster presentation showcased preliminary pollen and charcoal findings from her PhD research. She was one of ca. 1000 international conference delegates of which ca. 100 were PhD and early career researches from 22 different countries worldwide. This Conference was co-hosted by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Resilience Alliance. Read the article written by Cherié to learn more!
On Monday 11 September 2017, Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) Honourary Research Associate Dr Rick Rohde attended SCOLMA’s annual conference at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. This year’s theme was, ‘Document to Digital: how does digitisation aid African research?' Rick collaborated with Samantha Venter (rePhotoSA project coordinator) and PCU Director, Prof. Timm Hoffman to present on, ‘Repeat landscape photography, historical ecology and the wonder of digital archives’. Overall, Rick found the conference to be thought-provoking and a great success. Read the article to learn more!
In August, Plant Conservation Unit PhD student, Wesley Bell, and Timm Hoffman spent a few days in Namaqualand. Timm is contributing to an initiative by the Wilderness Foundation to develop grazing guidelines for the region and, since Wesley is conducting his PhD on Land Degradation in Namaqualand, he tagged along to learn more about how the vegetation is managed and to meet some of the people working in the region. Read the full article to learn more!