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A safari across the African savannah and into the Cape
Tue, 01 Jun 2021 - 20:00

As the continent prepares to draw the curtain on Africa Month, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Professor Muthama Muasya took to the virtual stage to present an inaugural lecture fitting for the time, and suited to the continent. The lecture, titled “Biodiversity studies in the Anthropocene: from species discovery in fragmented landscapes to unravelling the origin of iconic African flora” was hosted by UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng on Wednesday, 26 May. 

Orchid sexually exploits male beetles — a world-first from Africa
Thu, 27 May 2021 - 11:15

Dr Callan Cohen, a research associate of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, has discovered a world pollination first: an orchid that sexually exploits longhorn beetles. The near-extinct Disa forficaria, known from a single remaining plant in the mountains near Cape Town, mimics a female beetle so convincingly that the male beetle mates with the flower, thus pollinating it.

Science and the making of My Octopus Teacher
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 - 14:00

The news that My Octopus Teacher had won an Oscar for the Best Documentary at the 93rd Academy Awards was met with elation in the Cape Peninsula’s Deep South where naturalist, film-maker and co-star Craig Foster lives and freedives. But underpinning the film was his relationship with two University of Cape Town (UCT) marine biologists, Foster’s science and marine tracking mentors:  fellow seashore explorer Emeritus Professor Charles Griffiths and alumnis Dr Jannes Landschoff, who was scientific advisor on the movie.

Train researchers for big science in oceanography
Wed, 21 Apr 2021 - 15:00

Oceanography’s first woman head of department Professor Isabelle Ansorge delivered her inaugural lecture on 14 April. Titled “Teaching the many (50) shades of blue – while the world is changing its shade”, the presentation was the first in the Vice-Chancellor’s Inaugural Lecture programme for 2021.

COVID-19: UCT math modeller makes her mark
Mon, 19 Apr 2021 - 13:00

In January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) invited the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Dr Sheetal Silal to join an international taskforce of mathematical modellers to study the dynamics of a novel coronavirus outbreak in China. Little did she know the impact this would have on her life and career. 

Archaeology is first science department with black staff majority
Mon, 12 Apr 2021 - 15:15

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Department of Archaeology has marked a major milestone by becoming the first department in the Faculty of Science with a black staff majority. This follows the appointments of alumni Dr Vuyiswa Lupuwana and Dr Yonatan Sahle.

SA must harness the power of human and veterinary medicine before the next deadly virus strikes
Mon, 12 Apr 2021 - 09:45

A One Health approach to vaccine development has many strengths, including for health and food security on the continent. But this country needs to boost its capacity now, write Professor Ed Rybicki and Professor Anna-Lise Williamson from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Baptiste Dungu, the chief executive of Onderstepoort Biological Products.

Ancient southern Kalahari was more important to human evolution than previously thought
Mon, 05 Apr 2021 - 19:30

University of Cape Town (UCT) researchers are among an international team of researchers who studied and described a new archaeological site, Ga-Mohana Hill, and found evidence for complex symbolic behaviours 105 000 years ago.

Uncovering the mysteries of manta ray communication
Wed, 31 Mar 2021 - 13:00

Based on brain-to-body size ratio, manta rays could be considered the most intelligent fish species in the ocean. But does their behaviour confirm this physiological hypothesis? A collaborative study conducted by researchers at the University of Cape Town (UCT), Macquarie University, the University of Papua and the Marine Megafauna Foundation suggests that the answer to this question may lie in the devil fish’s horns.

Domesticated sheep reached southern Africa over 2000 years ago – new finding
Fri, 26 Mar 2021 - 12:30

Professor Judith Sealy and colleagues have recently had a paper published in Scientific Reports which reports on a critically important development in southern African history – the beginnings of farming in south-western South Africa, where there was pre-colonial stock farming but not crop farming. 

New equipment to bolster SA’s ability to perform cutting-edge astronomy research
Fri, 26 Mar 2021 - 12:30

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has approved the funding of R35 million for the Hydrogen Intensity and Real-time Analysis eXperiment (HIRAX) which will be built as a guest instrument on the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (SARAO) site in the Karoo. This follows an intensive and rigorous review process involving international experts. 

Prestigious award proves UCT’s Rosalie Tostevin rocks
Fri, 26 Mar 2021 - 11:00

Dr Rosalie Tostevin, who heads up the Ancient Life and Environments (ALE) Lab in the Department of Geological Sciences, is the latest University of Cape Town (UCT) researcher to be awarded a prestigious P-rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF), proving that this geologist does indeed rock.