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SAEON in the media

By Staff Writer
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An article titled Float your kid’s boat and help clean up oceans, published in The Herald during National Marine Week, highlighted the marine plastic pollution crisis. The article cites Professor Tommy Bornman, manager of SAEON’s Elwandle Coastal Node, on the “harsh realities of plastic in our oceans”. Prof Bornman said the node had recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in the UK to develop a Commonwealth Litter Programme laboratory – one of only four in different partner countries around the world. "It will be here on the NMU Ocean Sciences Campus and it will enable scientists to analyse water, sediment and tissue for microplastics," he said.



The following SAEON scientists were contributing authors to the National Biodiversity Assessment: Jasper Slingsby (terrestrial), Lara Atkinson and Grant van der Heever (marine), and Tommy Bornman (marine and coastal). This latest four-year study by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) was released on October 3.

An article on some of the findings of the study, One in seven plants and animals in SA threatened with extinction, was published by GroundUp on October 8, and syndicated to Sowetan Live and Times Live (published on October 9). The article cites Dr Slingsby in reference to a previous article on invasive species.


A paper setting out research priorities for the Cape Floristic Region was published in the South African Journal of Science. The paper was co-authored by Dr Nicky Allsopp, manager of SAEON's Fynbos Node, Dr Jasper Slingsby of SAEON and the University of Cape Town, and Prof Karen Esler of Stellenbosch University. An article on some of the findings of the study, Environment: joint effort call, was published in Cape Times on 23 October, as well as on the Stellenbosch University website.


Between 2014 and 2018, a multidisciplinary team of scientists, including several scientists from SAEON, gathered a treasure trove of images of the Karbonkel trawl grounds. The five-year Benthic Trawl Experiment took place on the South African research vessel Ellen Khuzwayo.

The experiment was implemented through a partnership between the South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association, SAEON, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, the University of Cape Town and the South African National Biodiversity Institute. The goal of the collaboration is to obtain a scientific understanding of the environmental impacts of hake trawling in South Africa.

What the camera saw, is a photo essay about the Benthic Trawl Experiment.


What are the Habitat Needs of the Critically Endangered Riverine Rabbit?, an article written by SAEON intern Gina Yang, was published in Prince Albert Friend newspaper of October 2019.

Called by the mountains, an article describing exciting plant finds on Griqualand West’s mountains, was published in Veld & Flora of September 2019. The author, Nanette van Staden, states that Griqualand West has become an important research priority area for studies by SAEON, among other research institutions.


The second week of October marks National Marine Week, which is aimed at raising awareness around the importance of the world's oceans. Scientists and exhibitors at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth hosted several schools to educate pupils about pollution.

The world produces about 335 million tonnes of plastic every year. Only fourteen per cent of this is recycled. Watch this SABC Digital News video – National Marine Week | Saving our oceans from plastic pollution – for important messages from SAEON staff and other participants.


SAEON showcased its work during an exhibition at the launch of National Science Week in Kimberley. Watch a video of the launch and SAEON's exhibition that was aired on SABC 2 News.


Eskom Science Expo award for Ntsika learner, was published in Grocotts Mail on October 11. It highlights the achievements of local learner Lindelihle Manyati, who won a bronze medal and a SAEON Special Award at the 2019 Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair.


An article titled Youngsters win big in Kimberly, was published in Phalaborwa Herald of October 11. SAEON's annual Science Engagement Symposium brings together top performing learners from various schools in SAEON's science education programmes. Three local learners represented SAEON's Ndlovu Node at the symposium. The Ndlovu Node is based at the Phalaborwa Gate of the Kruger National Park. Local learner Tsundzuka Mnisi won the award for best presenter in the Terrestrial category.

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