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The SeaKeys project is a large collaborative three year marine research project (2013-2016) involving 30 team members from more than 17 different organisations led by Dr Kerry Sink from the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI): Marine Program. The project aims to collate, increase and disseminate marine biodiversity information and support the application of this knowledge in monitoring, decision making and maintaining benefits from marine biodiversity for South Africans. This research project is funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa through the Foundational Biodiversity Information (FBI) Programme. The SeaKeys Project is the first large collaborative program funded through the FBI programme.
In addressing the objectives of the SeaKeys project, a Monitoring Working Group led by SAEON’s Dr Lara Atkinson, aimed to collate and summarise marine monitoring initiatives underway in South Africa and advise on monitoring priorities and gaps. A SeaKeys Monitoring Workshop was held in November 2015 at SANBI, Kirstenbosch. The final product of the SeaKeys Monitoring Working Group culminated in a detailed report and an online GIS project providing an overview of existing marine monitoring intitiatives in South Africa. And a gap analysis. The final report, spatial layers and metadata can be downloaded from the SANBI website. Click Here to read more...
NEWS UPDATE: Do You Have A Track Record In Ecological Economic Modelling?
Then consider the call for a new Chair in Integrated Ecological Economic Modelling at SAEON as part of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARCHI). This Chair is mandated to advance environmental futures research through the qualitative and quantitative analysis and modelling of large-scale enviro-socio-economic frameworks and data across SAEON domains and nodes, and through which national environmental policy and management can be informed.
The call can be downloaded here and the specifics are on page 19.
NEWS UPDATE: SAEON eNews among top six in South African Publication Forum Awards
For the fourth year running, SAEON eNews was among the top six electronic newsletters in the ‘Best Electronic Publication’ category of the SA Publication Forum Awards.
The publication received a Certificate of Merit for scoring more than 80% in writing, communication and design.
The judges’ comments were as follows:
- Image: The newsletter projects a positive image of SAEON and is very much attuned with its readership.
- Objectives and target audience: The objectives are clearly evident and the publication’s layout and content support these objectives. Everything (language, communication and design) in the publication supports the fact that the editor is in tune with her audience.
- Substance, newsworthiness and viewpoints: Well done on this score. The publication lends itself to increasing depth of knowledge amongst its readers.
- Language usage and editing: Good use of language. The sentences are short and to the point.
- Headlines, captions and introductions: The intros are short to the point - very functional. Functional headlines and creative to boot.
- Accessibility and navigation: The navigation works well and the publication is accessible to the target audience.
- General comments: Well done on a publication that admirably meets the needs of its target audience.
The competition organisers remarked: “This year we received the most entries ever in the SA Publication Forum’s 15 years of existence. The publication industry is growing and competition is fierce among industry players.”
NEWS UPDATE: Dr Joh Henschel Awarded NRF Rating
Happy as a Karoo Lark: Joh Henschel of the Arid Lands Node was recently awarded a C1-rating by NRF.
In 2013 Dr. Henschel returned from Namibia to join the SAEON Arid Lands Node in Kimberley as node manager. Since then he has thrown his full weight into the research of the arid lands, and this is now aptly rewarded. Being awarded a C1 rating signifies an established researcher who, on the basis of the high quality and impact of his/her recent research has considerable international recognition and who has substantially advanced knowledge and understanding in his research field.
Dr Joh Henschel has a wide area of expertise, from marine biology to hyena behaviour and community ecology. But his real interest is in arid environments and in spiders (arachnology). He is also an excellent popular science writer and has published a book of short articles and a poetry volume relating the marvels of life in the arid environments.
We congratulate Dr Henschel on this recognition!
Hot off the press: SAEON Highlight report 2011-2015
SAEON has recently published its highlight report for 2011 to 2015.
Click here to download the web version of the report.
For a low resolution of the report click here.
NEWS UPDATE: Joining Forces With Other Global Environmental Research Organisations And Networks… Towards An ILTER Network Of Networks
Day 2 of the Open Science Meeting focused on exploring opportunities for collaboration and investigating global environmental data requirements with the following global research organisations. (Read More Here)
NEWS UPDATE: First Ever ILTER Open Science Meeting Off To An Exciting Start
Three hundred delegates from countries as far afield as China, Japan, India, Mexico, Austria , Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal and the United States converged on Skukuza in the Kruger National Park on Monday 10 October 2016 to share their research in 160 presentations, reinforcing the International Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) Network’s status as an internationally acknowledged research network. (Read More Here)
NEWS UPDATE:Signing Contract For Constructing Of New SAEON National Office
Back Row (L-R): Floris Van der Walt and Theo Jongwana (SAEON Office Manager). Front Row (L-R): Lawrence Matsena, Johan Pauw (SAEON Managing Director) and Thapelo Shai (Shaicon Construction Managing Director)
Signing contract for constructing of new SAEON National Office in Colbyn Pretoria with Olivehill Architects & Shaicon. The construction is expected to start next month (October 2016)
NEWS UPDATE: The Pans Are Wet - A Recce Delight
Kans Se Vloer, a non-perennial pan along the R357 west of Brandvlei was wet after recent rains
By Betsie Milne
Isolated, shallow depressions colloquially known as pans, vloere or kolke are prominent features in arid regions and it is therefore not surprising that the Karoo landscape of the Northern Cape Province are peppered with them. Most are endorheic in nature and due to their natural hydrological functioning they are subjected to complete desiccation during the dry season, which can last for decades. When it rains enough for these features to hold water, dormant aquatic organisms respond and scientists delight in a wetland resurrection! (Click here to read more)
NEWS UPDATE: Summary Programme of 1st ILTER Open Science Meeting on the 9th-13th October at Kruger National Park
NEWS UPDATE: Jane Lubchenco visits SAEON as US Special Envoy for the Ocean
Prof Jane Lubchenco and staff from the USA Embassy in South Africa thoroughly enjoyed their short cruise out on Algoa Bay in the company of SAEON Elwandle Node
President Barack Obama's Special Envoy for the Ocean, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, and her entourage were taken out to sea by SAEON Elwandle Node for a quick 2 hour trip to the western sector of Algoa Bay, onboard SAIAB's uKwabelana. Dr. Lubchenco is a world-renowned scientist of distinctive achievements in the academia, conservation, science, government. She is the former Administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), former US Under-Secretary for Oceans and the Atmosphere Affairs, and former president of ICSU and of AAAS. (Read More...)
NEWS UPDATE: Is sea level rise threatening ecologically important salt marshes in South African estuaries?
NEWS UPDATE: Getting global change directions
By Tshililo Ramaswiela and Joh Henschel, SAEON Arid Lands Node.
By Jethan d'Hotman
Leg 1 of the Agulhas System Climate Array (ASCA) cruise began on the 6th of April and almost immediately we sailed through rough seas for the next 2 days. However when mooring operations began the conditions had improved and the work commenced in relatively flat seas. (Read more here...)
NEWS UPDATE: SAEON assists South Africa in gearing up for the oceans economy
On 29 January 2016, the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, launched the South African Marine Research and Exploration Forum (SAMREF) at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. The forum is a joint initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Offshore Petroleum Association of South Africa (OPASA). The minister signed a memorandum of understanding with OPASA Chairperson Mr Sean Lunn to establish the forum. Read more...
In January, four members of SAEON’s Education Outreach team participated in the 2016 Marine and Coastal Educators Network (MCEN) National Conference, which was held at Habonim Campsite in Hermanus. MCEN is a network of educators who teach children and adults about marine and coastal environmental issues. These educators are either from the formal education sector (schools and universities) across South Africa, or from the informal education sector (aquariums, zoos and government). Read more here...
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.