Distinguished Alumni Lecture: Unravelling the Okavango
Professor Terence McCarthy, an alumni of the Science Faculty at UCT, who is Professor Emeritus in the School of Geosciences at the University of Witwatersrand, will present the annual Distinguished Alumni Lecture, entitled, "Discovering the Okavango Delta".
By the late 1970’s, various government agencies had generated superb maps, aerial photographs and a huge body of hydrological, geological and climatic information on the Okavango Delta. However, little was known about the Okavango as an ecosystem. Over the past three decades, multidisciplinary research carried out by scientists from a number of national and international groups, has unravelled the workings of the Okavango ecosystem. This research effort has revealed that geology, hydrology, climate, water and air borne sediment, aquatic and terrestrial vegetation, and animals, particularly termites and hippos, collectively conspire to sustain the extremely dynamic yet robust Okavango ecosystem. The lecture will deal with the thinking that has driven the research, the successes and failures along the way, and difficulties and excitement of working in pristine Africa.
Professor Terence McCarthy is Professor Emeritus in the School of Geosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has wide-ranging interests spanning the many fields of geology and geochemistry and, in addition the more traditional fields of geology, has made important research contributions to the functioning of the Okavango Delta ecosystem and other southern African wetlands. He is author or co-author of four books and has published over 170 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. He is the winner of the Jubilee and Draper Medals of the Geological Society of South Africa and is a Fellow of the GSSA and the Royal Society of South Africa.