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The multi-institutional team of scientists working on the unique Benthic Trawl Experiment, have this week concluded their third annual sampling expedition to the offshore trawl closure area on the west coast. The team undertook photographic transects on the seafloor together with physical samples of sediment and infauna in trawled and untrawled areas. The aim of this 5-year experiment is to assess benthic ecosystem recovery following cessation of trawling, in support of MSC eco-certification held by South Africa’s trawl fishery. Partners in this project include the South African Deep Sea Trawl Industry, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, University of Cape Town, South African National Biodiverisity Institute and the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON). Dr Charles von der Meden reports that a highlight of the expedition was the success of what is thought to be one of the deepest underwater research photographic surveys yet made in South Africa. SAEON’s Ski-Monkey III deep-sea camera system recorded images of the seabed at a depth of 645m.
Reforestation of grasslands to help fix atmospheric CO2 may sound logical - but is it really? The Cape Times' published this article in summarising last week's scientific paper by SAEON Chief Scientist, William Bond, in the highly rated journal Science.
NEWS UPDATE: SAEON launches new study on climate change impacts in SA
The Launch of "Change is in the Air" at the Science Forum of South Africa on 09 December 2015 was action-packed and a roaring success. Speakers addressed topics from the basics of climate change, the impact of rising CO2 on plants, the evidence of vegetation changes over the past 100 years, and the potential impacts on farming, water resources and rural livelihoods, to what local management tools are available for managing the loss of grasslands and savannas. The team's radical views and the dramatic movie raised a lively response from the floor. Adaptation would mean knowing what we want - but do we?
The speakers: Prof. Wlliam Bond (SAEON), Dr Nicola Stevens (Stellenbosch University), Prof. Guy Midgley (Stellenbosch University), Prof. Timm Hoffman (University of Cape Town), Dr Luthando Dziba (CSIR) and Mr Peter Lukey from Department Environmental Affairs(DEA).
Top left: Johan Pauw, Managing Director for SAEON and Mr Leluma Matooane of DST having a serious discussion.
- Click here to watch the "Change is in the Air" video on youtube
- Click here to download the booklet "Change is in the Air"
NEWS UPDATE: What do the rainfall figures from SAEON weather station reveal
Rainfall figures from a weather station at 1214m above sea level on a Western Cape mountain are worrying, but is it proof of climate change? Is the Western Cape heading for water outages? Read the evidence and arguments: Anatomy of a drought.
By now most people in South Africa will have heard warnings of drought in both the summer and winter rainfall regions for the period 2015-2016. With this in mind, would you consider consecutive monthly rainfall totals of 193, 299 and 416 mm for May?
It is well established that overgrazing and veldfires can drastically change the state of natural vegetation. But what about the individual and combined influences of global climate change and rising atmospheric CO2 levels? SAEON and collaborators will launch "Change is in the Air" during the first Science Forum of South Africa, organised for 8-9 December 2015 in Pretoria by the Department of Science and Technology. Be the first to hear, see and debate the latest evidence and theories about large-scale changes in the landscape of South Africa.
SAEON TO LAUNCH "CHANGE IS IN THE AIR" Booklet at CSIR International Convention Centre (CSIR ICC)
SCIENCE FORUM South Africa
What does all this mean for environmental policy?
NEWS UPDATE: DST Chief Director and his colleague visit SAEON's Ndlovu node
SAEON Ndlovu Node in Phalaborwa enjoyed a visit by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) when Dr Yonah Seleti, Chief Director: Global Change and his colleague Kgoale Mphahlele spent 2 intensive days to learn first-hand about the node's strategies and activities.
Here (pictured) they are at the Haenertsburg grassland study site, where the Node is recording changes in the vegetation as a consequence of different fire regimes.
NEWS UPDATE: Read SAEON's highlights in the NRF 2014/15 Annual report
Scroll down and click through to read the NRF 2014-15 Annual Report and see SAEON's highlights on p. 36.
NEWS UPDATE: SAEON develop SA Spatial Data Infrastructure portal
SA Spatial Data Infrastructure portal - developed by SAEON for search and discovery, making spatial data accessible.
The NSIF has procured the services of the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) to host the South African Spatial Data Infrastructure's (SASDI), Electronic Metadata Catalogue (EMC) for a period of three years. This includes hosting, maintenance, support, capacity building and system enhancements.