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Indibano 2011 focuses on long-term multi-disciplinary research

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Twenty-two postgraduate students representing ten different academic institutions attended the 4th Indibano of the SAEON Graduate Student Network.

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Members of the GSN Committee with the winners of the best presentations. Back row, from left: Martin Baloyi, Caswell Munyai, Dirk Snyman and Ander De Lecea. Front row, from left: Paula Pattrick, Nicholas Moyo (winner of the People’s Choice Award), Ancois de Villiers (winner of the Best Presentation Award) and Rachel Cooper.

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Delegates were given a guided tour of the Addo Elephant National Park, which encompasses five of South Africa’s nine biomes (Picture: Ander De Lecea)

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Indibano delegates view the National Fish Collection at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (Picture: Ander De Lecea)

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Indibano 2011 workshop material.

- Paula Pattrick, GSN Committee Member

Twenty-two postgraduate students representing ten different academic institutions convened at Assegai Trails in the Eastern Cape to attend the 4th Indibano of the SAEON Graduate Student Network (GSN).

Funded by SAEON, Indibano 2011 was geared to expose postgraduate students to multi-disciplinary research, ecological research, long-term monitoring, the statistical R-environment and scientific presentations.

On arrival in Port Elizabeth, delegates travelled to Assegai Trails, an idyllic location with access to numerous hiking trails and offering a rich diversity of flora and fauna.

The Indibano was opened by Dr Tommy Bornman, Manager of SAEON’s Elwandle Node. Shaun Deyzel, Data and Research Co-ordinator of Elwandle Node’s sentinel site presented work on long-term multi-disciplinary research -- the theme of this year’s Indibano.

Top student presentations

The second day of the Indibano provided an opportunity for delegates to present their own research, with Professor Tris Wooldridge from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University adjudicating.

Ancois de Villiers from the Faculty of Agri-sciences at the University of Stellenbosch won the prize for the best presentation for her talk entitled Holistic Management: Considering ”wholes within wholes” in rangelands.

A “People’s Choice Award” -- for the best presentation voted for by the delegates -- was awarded to Nicholas Moyo from the University of KwaZulu-Natal whose talk was entitled Seasonal variation of surface energy fluxes above a mixed species and spatially homogeneous grassland.

That evening, guest speaker Professor Martin Villet from Rhodes University provided a fascinating talk on Entomology.

On the third day, delegates were given a guided tour of the Addo Elephant National Park, which encompasses five of South Africa’s nine biomes. In the afternoon Indibano delegates were given the opportunity to observe the National Fish Collection at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and were given a tour of the SAEON Elwandle Node premises in Grahamstown.

Later that evening, special guest speaker Professor Charlie Shackleton, Head of the Department of Environmental Science at Rhodes University gave a motivating and inspirational presentation.

On the fourth day, Dr Dawit Yemane from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries gave students an opportunity to hone their statistical skills with a pertinent workshop on the Statistical Program R. That evening Professor Graham Kerley, Director of the Centre for African Conservation Ecology at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University provided delegates with more insight into multi-disciplinary work.

Exposure to leading researchers

The 2011 Indibano was an excellent opportunity for a limited number of GSN members to interact with leading researchers in a wide diversity of scientific and social fields, and to gain experience in long-term environmental observation.

On behalf of all the Indibano participants, the members of the GSN Committee would like to thank SAEON for sponsoring this workshop. We would also like to thank Beate Hölscher, Dr Amani Saidi and Eva Mudau, the SAEON supporting staff, for assisting with the logistics.

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