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NEWS UPDATE: Is sea level rise threatening ecologically important salt marshes in South African estuaries?               Salt marsh RSET

MSc student Athi Mfikili (right) and intern Reanetsi Pohlo measuring sediment elevation with a Rod Set Elevation Table in the Swartkops River estuary
Salt marshes are highly productive and biologically diverse coastal wetlands that are threatened by rising sea-level. Salt marsh habitats within the Swartkops Estuary were examined to determine their structure along an elevation gradient and how this structure has changed over the past seven decades, what the primary drivers of this structure were and whether the salt marsh surface is stable, rising or declining relative to current and future sea-level rise. (Read more here...)


NEWS UPDATE: Getting global change directions from CompassbergArid Lands Compassberg

 By Tshililo Ramaswiela and Joh Henschel, SAEON Arid Lands Node.

 Exciting: Tshililo installed a network of temperature i-buttons on and around the CompassbergWith CO2 and temperatures going up, which way will rainfall go? And what about species that are fine-tuned to conditions of these three factors? To try to get directions, the SAEON Arid Lands team first set out to the Compassberg in 2014. (Read more here...



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...


NEWS UPDATE: Sharing best practices in bringing the oceans into the classroom


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...


NEWS UPDATE: Scientists working on Benthic Trawl Experiment conclude their 3rd annual sampling expedition

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.

eNews image
Top: The team before departure on January 25th. From left, Ryan Palmer (SAIAB), Kerry Sink and Marilize Franken (SANBI), Karen Tunley (UCT), Xolani Methu (DAFF), Charles von der Meden (SAEON) and Chief scientist, Colin Attwood (UCT). Photo credit Claire Attwood.
Bottom left: A small rat tail (Lucigadus ori) swimming above the sandy seafloor, with starfish (Crossaster penicillatus) and a fine grey cerianthid anemone at 398m depth.
Bottom right: A jackopever rests on the seabed, again with starfish, Crossaster penicillatus.

NEWS UPDATE: New tree plantations may threaten ancient grasslands

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.

New tree plantations may threaten ancient grasslands

 Click here to view full size image and read full article.


Read more updates here...

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