Members of the Plant Conservation Unit along with several other arid zone ecologists attended the Arid Zone Ecology Forum's annual conference in May 2017 at Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute near Middelburg in the Eastern Cape. This year's conference focused on change and innovation in the arid zone with talks on Karoo Shale Gas Development, the Karoo BioGaps project, long-term projects and socio-ecological studies. Overall it was a fun and successful event!
Estelle Razanatsoa, PhD Candidate at the Plant Conservation Unit, recently attended the Young Scientists Meeting and the Open Science Meeting held in Spain from 7-14 May 2017. The meetings were organised by Past Global Changes (PAGES) and the Quaternary Terrestrial Environments group (Pyrenean Institute of Ecology-CSIC). The PCU would like to congratulate Estelle for receiving a prize for being one of the best oral presentations during the Young Scientists Meeting! Read Estelle's article to learn more!
Over the weekend, a group of Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) postgraduate students and staff attended the first-ever PCU popular writing retreat, held at Rainbow Glen self-catering cottages in the peaceful town of Montagu in the Western Cape. The aim of the retreat was for each attendee to produce a product (written/ drawn/ recorded etc.) that effectively communicates their research to the public. The importance of communicating our science more generally emerged during the five-year review of the PCU held in November 2016. Our writing retreat was an attempt to address this need. Read the article to learn more!
The University of Cape Town held this year's annual Open Day from 10 AM - 3 PM on Saturday 22 April 2017. The Plant Conservation Unit team got involved in the event and helped out at the Department of Biological Sciences stand in Jameson Hall alongside other Departments that fall under the Faculty of Science. Overall it was a fantastic day and we look forward to getting involved again next year. Read the full article to learn more about the day.
We would like to give a warm welcome to Gina Arena who has recently joined us as a PhD Candidate in rangeland ecology under the co-supervision of Prof. Timm Hoffman (PCU), Helga van der Merwe (SAEON and PCU Honorary Research Associate) and Tim O’Connor (SAEON). Gina's research will focus on the long-term vegetation change on rangelands influenced by historical and current land use practices and climate change in the Eastern Cape’s Nama Karoo-Grasslands biome interface. Read the full article to learn more about her. Welcome Gina!
We would like to give a warm welcome to Wesley Bell who has recently joined us as a PhD Candidate in conservation ecology under the supervision of Prof. M. Timm Hoffman. Wesley's research will focus on the threats and opportunities posed by land degradation in Namaqualand. Read the full article to learn more about him. Welcome Wesley!
The Plant Conservation Unit is pleased to announce the publication of an exciting new paper by Claire Davis, Timm Hoffman and Wesley Roberts in the South African Journal of Botany. The article is titled, "Long-term trends in vegetation phenology and productivity over Namaqualand using the GIMMS AVHRR NDVI3g data from 1982 to 2011”. The abstract is provided but the full paper may be downloaded here.
Sophia Klaase passed away on 9 March 2017 in an Upington hospital at the age of 35. Sophia (or Vytjie as she was more widely known) comes from the Namaqualand village of Paulshoek in the Leliefontein communal area and was well known to the Plant Conservation Unit. She documented village life over nearly two decades, exhibited her work at the District Six Museum in Cape Town and recently published a book called, ‘Hanging on a Wire: Photographs by Sophia Klaase'. Read the tribute written by Timm Hoffman to learn more about Sophia's life and works.
Abraham Dabengwa and Glynis Humphrey, PhD candidates at the Plant Conservation Unit, recently presented their research results at the SANParks 15th Annual Savanna Science Network Meeting in Skukuza, Kruger National Park. The meeting hosted by SANParks Scientific Services is the most important annual meeting as it presents an exciting opportunity for researchers to share ideas, their research findings and provides a platform for dialogue between scientists. Read Glynis's article to learn more about the conference.
Plant Conservation Unit Masters student, Hana Petersen, and her co-supervisor, Sam Jack, spent another week sampling sites in the Eastern Karoo last week. She last visited her study in September 2016. Read Hana's article to learn more!
The Animal Demography Unit hosted their 24th Citizen Scientist Day at Pretoria National Botanical Gardens, Gauteng on Saturday 25 February 2017. It was a wonderful day with a variety of talks on citizen science projects, including rePhotoSA, followed by a workshop led by Peter Greaves on how to upload photos to The Virtual Museum.
The Plant Conservation Unit is pleased to announce the publication of an exciting new paper by Heidi Hirsch, Laure Gallien, Fiona A. C. Impson, Catharina Kleinjan, David M. Richardson and Johannes J. Le Roux in Biological Invasions. The article is titled, "Unresolved native range taxonomy complicates inferences in invasion ecology: Acacia dealbata Link as an example” The abstract is provided but the full paper may be downloaded here.