Having grown up in the villages and townships of Zambia, Professor Kelly Chibale, Department of Chemistry, became well acquainted with the ravages of malaria at a young age. Now, inspired by a deep spirituality and a love of chemistry, his invaluable contribution to the ongoing battle against this disease – among others – has been awarded an A rating by the National Research Foundation.
Fear of heights, floods and being mistaken for a poacher punctuated Kate Carstens’ PhD fieldwork on the Southern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) in the Limpopo Valley and Lowveld regions.Carstens assessed the role of artificial nest boxes to boost breeding success, a tool for conserving these endangered birds. Carstens is graduating with a PhD in Conservation Biology, on 20 December 2017.
Atmospheric chemist Dr Katye Altieri, Department of Oceanography, will use her Claude Leon Merit Award, one of five awarded to UCT researchers in 2017, to teach oceanography and atmospheric science undergraduates the rudiments of conducting air quality analyses.
Despite a wealth of research on False Bay, little is known about the chemical make-up of its water, how this varies seasonally and how its vigorous circulation prevents stagnation. But a new study by Dr Sarah Fawcett, Department of Oceanography,on nitrogen pollution in the country’s biggest natural bay, hopes to change that.
If Europe is going to reap the benefits of conservation measures at home, its experts need an understanding of where “their” birds migrate to when they head off to Africa. Each year, birds migrate en masse from Europe in search of warmer climes for breeding. Many travel as far as Africa. But while their habits are carefully mapped at home, their breeding seasons don’t get as much attention. Professor Les Underhill from the Department of Biological Sciences at UC, explains why this leaves researchers and conservationists on the back foot, and how bird atlases can fill the gaps.
A recent paper published by UCT researchers Associate Professor Adam West and Professor William Bond, draws attention to the global phenomenon of invasive native plant species – and suggests ways of managing affected ecosystems in the future.
PhD candidate Megan Lukas from the Department of Environmental & Geographical Science, was one of 25 young scientists honoured with a Green Talents award at the International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development, which took place in Germany during October.
Over the past few months, UCT News has been reporting on the ongoing water crisis in Cape Town in its efforts to raise awareness of the drought and its very real consequences. UCT researchers have developed and tested a new logger system to keep a closer eye on the water levels in the dam on upper campus and other water systems.
UCT scientists are part of an international team that has revealed how canny baboons in Cape Town use a sit-and-wait tactic before raiding people’s homes for food. This has been shown by data gathered from bespoke baboon-tracking collars. Professor Justin O'Riain, Director of the Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa, is a co-author of the study published by Scientific Reports.
Dr Tshifhiwa Gift Mandiwana-Neudani, an ornithologist who first made her mark in the field at UCT’s FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, has debunked a centuries old belief about the evolution of a common gamebird, the francolin.
Cape Town has an innovative and progressive programme aimed at reducing negative interactions between white sharks and recreational water users - the Shark Spotter programme. Research by PhD student Tamlyn Engelbrecht, from the Department of Biological Sciences at UCT has just been published a paper in PLoS ONE which addresses the question of how this programme works effectively. The paper is also authored by Professor Justin O' Riain, Director of the Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa (iCWild), which is housed in the Department of Biological Sciences.
During the Early Jurassic, around 200 million years ago, small and agile two-legged carnivorous dinosaurs called theropods roamed the ancient landscapes. In southern Africa, we know of their existence from their rare body fossils but also, importantly, from their fossil footprints. Now a team from the Department of Geological Sciences at UCT led by Dr Lara Sciscio, has made a new discovery, which reveals unexpectedly that very large carnivorous dinosaurs with an estimated body length of between 8 to 9 meters (the size of a two story building) – lived in southern Africa too.