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Research Assistant

Sam Jack

MSc (Cape Town)

PCU Research Assistant (2011-2017)
Email:
jamsack@gmail.com

 

 


 

Sam's broader research interests lie in the fields of spatial ecology and environmental change, with a specific focus on vegetation change, indicator species and long term monitoring. He is interested in understanding both the rates and causes of change and in using this knowledge to inform evidenced-based conservation. He also has a keen interest in developing methods and techniques that make it easier for conservationists and land managers to establish and maintain their own monitoring programmes. When not out in the field gathering data, Sam relishes adventurous pursuits like hiking, rock climbing, kloofing, kayaking and mountain biking.


Chilly start to the day on a recent fieldwork trip to the Drakensberg

To date Sam has co-supervised eight student projects, two of which were recently awarded a first (BSc Hons) and a distinction (MSc), respectively (see table below). He has also provided intensive field support to several students at varying degree levels, as well as research associates and senior academics. His plans for the remainder of the year involves ongoing supervision and support for three student projects, a publication and book chapter and further building the Unit’s repeat photo database.

As of September 2017, Sam is taking a year-long sabbatical from work to attempt a long-held dream to cycle across the African continent. He is keeping a photo-journal while he travels, which you can view here. We will be following Sam closely on his travels and wish him all the best!

Published Research Papers

  1. Rohde RF, Hoffman MT, Durbach I, Venter Z and Jack S In Press. Vegetation and climate change in the Pro-Namib and Namib Desert based on repeat photography: Insights into climate trends. Journal of Arid Environments
  2. McAuliffe JR, Hoffman MT,  McFadden LD, Jack S, Bell W and King MP In Press. Landscape patterning created by the southern harvester termite, Microhodotermes viator: Spatial dispersion of colonies and alteration of soils. Journal of Arid Environments
  3. McAuliffe JR, Hoffman MT,  McFadden LD, Bell W,  Jack S, King MP and Nixon V In Press. Whether or not heuweltjies: Context-dependent ecosystem engineering by the southern harvester termite, Microhodotermes viator. Journal of Arid Environments
  4. Tokura W, Jack SL, Anderson T and Hoffman MT 2018. Long-term variability in vegetation productivity in relation to rainfall, herbivory and fire in Tswalu Kalahari Reserve. Koedoe: African Protected Area Conservation and Science 60(1) a1473. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v60i1.1473.
  5. Diamond RE and Jack S 2018. Evaporation and abstraction determined from stable isotopes during normal flow on the Gariep River, South Africa. Journal of Hydrology 559: 569-584. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.02.059
  6. White JDM, Jack SL, Hoffman MT, Puttick J, Bonora D, Visser V and February EC 2016. Collapse of an iconic conifer: long-term changes in the demography of Widdringtonia cedarbergensis using repeat photography. BMC Ecology 16: 53. DOI: 10.1186/s12898-016-0108-6.
  7. Okubamichael DY, Jack S, De Wet Bösenberg J, Hoffman MT and Donaldson JS 2016. Repeat photography confirms alarming decline in South African cycads. Biodivers Conserv 25: 2153. DOI:10.1007/s10531-016-1183-x.
  8. Jack SL, Hoffman MT, Rohde RF and Durbach I 2016. Climate change sentinel or false prophet? The case of Aloe dichotoma.  Diversity Distrib.. DOI:10.1111/ddi.12438.
  9. Jack SL, Hoffman MT, Rohde RF, Durbach I and Archibald M 2014. Blow me down! A new perspective on Aloe dichotoma mortality as a result of windthrow. BMC Ecology 14:7 DOI: 10.1186/1472-6785/14/7.
  10. Gillson, L., T. P. Dawson, S. Jack, and M. A. McGeoch. 2013. Accommodating climate change contingencies in conservation strategy. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 28:135-142.

Published Scientific Reports

  1. Jack SL, Nicolson G and Durbach I 2016. Upper Olifants River survey: An assessment of woody riparian and alien vegetation. Plant Conservation Unit, University of Cape Town, Cape Town. 14pp.
  2. Jack SL and Nicolson G 2015. Twenty-four rivers: A basic vegetation survey.
  3. Diamond RE and Jack SL 2014. Evaporation and abstraction on the Gariep River, South Africa. Unpublished manuscript. Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town. 17pp.
  4. Jack SL and Els Y 2013. Final report on the Gariep mega-transect diatom data collection project. Plant Conservation Unit, University of Cape Town, Cape Town. See also www.senu2sea.wordpress.com).

Popular Articles and Professional Communications

  1. Okubamichael D, Jack S, de wet Bosenberg J, Hoffman MT and Donaldson JS 2016 Repeat photography confirms alarming decline in South African cycads. Veld & Flora December 2016.

Conference Attendance

  1. October 2015 SAEON GFW Drakensberg Global Change Monitoring Platform Symposium, Pietermaritzburg. Changes in abundance and distribution of Protea caffra in the central and northern Drakensberg as a consequence of climate and land use change.
  2. November 2012 1st National Global Change Conference, Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, Gauteng. Is Aloe dichotoma a suitable sentinel for climate change in southern Africa?
  3. October 2012 Arid Zone Ecology Forum, Worcester. Blow me down! A new perspective on Aloe dichotoma mortality as a result of windthrow. (Best speaker award)
  4. October 2011 Arid Zone Ecology Forum, Nieuwoudtville. Aloe dichotoma and southern African climate change: Sentinel or False Prophet?
  5. September 2011 Post Graduate Science Symposium, UCT, Cape Town. Aloe dichotoma and southern African climate change: Sentinel or False Prophet? (Poster presentation – Best poster award)
  6. August 2009 World Congress of Environmental History, Copenhagen. Historical climate change in southern Africa as inferred from the population dynamics of Aloe dichotoma, a long-lived desert succulent tree.

Student Supervision and Assistance

Name

Research Topic

Graduation Date

Supervisor(s)

MSc (Course work & dissertation)

 

 

 

Hana Petersen

An environmental gradient analysis of the vegetation types of the Upper Karoo Hardeveld

2017

Todd, Hoffman & Jack

Wataru Tokura

Understanding changes in plant productivity using EVI satellite data in Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

2016

Hoffman, Jack & Anderson

Kirsten Gallaher

The influence of rainfall seasonality and climate change on the demography of Aloe dichotoma, a long-lived succulent tree from semi-arid southern Africa

2014

Hoffman, Jack & Rebelo (SANBI)

BSc(Honours)

 

 

 

Tara van Ryneveld

Assessing the role of disease, drought and fire-induced canopy dieback in the critically endangered conifer: Widdringtonia cedarbergensis

2018

Hoffman, February, Hulbert, White & Jack

Daniel Poultney

Changes in density and distribution of Protea caffra in the central and northern Drakensberg Reserve as a consequence of climate and land use change

2014

Hoffman, February, Rebelo (SANBI), Puttick & Jack

Nicola Kuhn

 Long-term (1973-2013) vegetation change in the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area

2013

Hoffman & Jack

Justin van Blerk

A simulated history of Aloe dichotoma recruitment and its link to rainfall: Insights from an isolated population near Kenhardt

2013

Hoffman & Jack

Joseph White

Analysis of long-term changes in populations of the Clanwilliam Cedar (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis) using repeat photography

2013

Hoffman, Jack & February

Fieldwork and other assistance

 

 

 

Kirsti Nghidinwa (PhD)

Legends of Namaqualand: Population ecology and extinction risk of Halfmens (Pachypodium namaquanum) in the Lower Orange River Valley.

2019

Hoffman

Cherie Forbes (PhD)

A long-term palaeoecological perspective on natural resource management in the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area

2019

Gillson & Hoffman

Petra Holden (PhD)

A social-ecological approach to understanding drivers and effects of conservation in mountain catchments important for water supply in South Africa

2017

Hoffman et al.

Randal Josephs (MSc)

Holocene climate change and the population history of Aloidendron pillansii

2017

Hedderson & Hoffman

Desale Okubamichael (Post-doctoral Fellow)

Historical repeat photography of Cycad populations and vegetation change

2014-16

Donaldson (SANBI) & Hoffman