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City hosts biodiversity symposium

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“As the symposium progressed over the years, research from other parts of the Province has also been included.”

Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE FIFTEENTH annual Kimberley Biodiversity Research Symposium will take place today in the Lady Oppenheimer Hall at the McGregor Museum.

A total of 65 students, professors, researchers and biodiversity specialists are expected to attend the symposium, where they will share their research and outcomes with the focus on the Northern Cape region.

Head of the McGregor Museum Zoology Department, Beryl Wilson, said yesterday that the Kimberley Biodiversity Research Symposium (KBRS) was initiated 15 years ago by the Research and Development Support Sub-programme of the Department of Environment and Nature Conservation (DENC).

“The KBRS is currently still driven by DENC in collaboration with other institutions, including the South African National Parks (SANParks), the McGregor Museum, the Arid Node of the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) and the Sol Plaatje University (SPU).

“The purpose of initiating the KBRS is to provide local and other scientists, researchers and students the opportunity to share their biodiversity research results and experiences regarding biodiversity research being conducted in the greater Kimberley area.

“As the symposium progressed over the years, research from other parts of the Province has also been included.”

Wilson pointed out that the KBRS also provided the opportunity for permit issuing authorities, such as DENC and SANParks, as well as other institutions, to liaise with attendees regarding their research projects and to provide inputs which may assist them with their research.

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Marumo Setlhare from the South African Weather Service.

Among the topics that will be presented at the seminar are:

The changing sizes of critically endangered white-backed vulture breeding colonies around Kimberley;

The impact of alluvial diamond mining on the macroinvertebrate structure in the Lower Vaal River;

Effective capture and collaring of giraffe;

Successful semen collection from free-ranging giraffe;

Seabird breeding populations decrease along the arid coastline of South Africa’s Northern Cape Province;

Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens subsp. procumbens) resource assessment surveys for John Taolo Gaetsewe (JTG) district;

Alien invasive species management at the Kimberley Airport, with a focus on cacti;

Cactus Invasion Alert: SANBI eradication targets in the Northern Cape and the effectiveness of the selected Integrated Control Method;

Restoration initiatives within SANParks (Mokala National Park);

Vegetation monitoring on the Kolomela mine (Kumba Iron Ore), Postmasburg;

The effect of drought on canopy mortality in succulent Karoo plant communities;

The influence of phenology on browse availability for game species in a semi-arid environment of the Northern Cape;

Herbaceous species diversity and productivity-diversity relationships of montane plant communities in Griqualand West;

From conservation dream to conservation reality: the process for reviewing land for inclusion into the Northern Cape protected area estate;

Effect of translocations on the faecal glucocorticoid;

Developing a non-invasive Body Condition Scoring for giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) by monitoring some factors influencing the score;

Objective calculation of a resilience score using ungulates, plants and soils as indicators;

Aggregations of African black oystercatchers (Haematopus moquini) in remote coastal areas of the Northern Cape and;

An ecological study of Tarchonanthus camphoratus (Camphor bush) in the Northern Cape.

The presentation will be followed by the student award ceremony and a special session entitled SACNASP CPD system demystified by Johan van Schalkwyk.