Why are we disinterested in animal invasions?

08 September 2017

Why are we disinterested in animal invasions?

Invasives in the Cape Discussion Group is a regular discussion group focussing on invasions that are happening within the fynbos. Hosted at the CIB (and usually led by John R. U. Wilson) the group consists of representatives from SANBI, City of Cape Town, CPUT, UWC, ARC, DAFF, DEA, CapeNature, and the CIB. 

Agreeing to cover for John while he was away, I posed the question: Why are we disinterested in animal invasions? The Cape is replete with animal species which we appear to ignore, or prefer not to think about. Can we define why so many animal invasions are not important to us - or define how and when we would definitely do something? This month's meeting will focus on the current suite of animal invasions in the Cape and ask which we should be doing more about.

Despite having a circulation list of 105 people, we were only 6 for the meeting (from left to right): Nitya Mohanty, Florencia Yannelli, Marike Louw, Phil McLean & Sarah Davies. 

Our numbers spoke volumes about the disinterest in invasive animals. 

Nevertheless, we made a list of Cape invasive animals and the reasons why they were not controlled or eradicated. Note that the list isn't exhaustive but gives some indications about why animals are so hard to tackle. First, control of many species were found to have ethical or economic conflicts (C). Invasions of many species were considered to be to far advanced to be feasible to control (F). Whether or not research was needed before a decision on control/eradication could be made (R). Lastly, many of the species are utilised, potentially causing further conflicts with their control.

  Lab  meetings  News

Fossil frog bone publicity

01 September 2017

Not just old bones

Publicity for Thalassa's publication about Ptychadena  fossils from Langabaanweg in the SANParks Times.

In this article, Thalassa explains about the significance of the finding of Ptychadena  bones from close to Cape Town in South Africa's winter rainfall zone. 

Read the original paper published in the South African Journal of Science here:

Matthews, T., Measey, G.J. & Roberts, D. (2016) Implications of a summer breeding frog from Langebaanweg (South Africa): regional climate evolution at 5.1 Mya. South African Journal of Science J Sci. 112(9/10): 20160070

  Frogs  News

Secrets of silent toads

01 August 2017

Shelley publishes on Rose's Mountain Toadlet's amazing reproduction

Few frogs come close to the amazing Rose's Mountain Toadlet. For most of the year they hide away, very rarely sited on their mountain tops. But on moonlit evenings in late August they emerge and go into a frenzy of breeding.

In this really nice paper, Shelley Edwards and co-authors describes what happens after the eggs are laid and the tadpoles quickly grow in their mountain puddle homes. 

This is an amazing natural history paper based on intensive surveys of two populations on the Cape peninsula.

Read all about it:

Edwards, S, Tolley, KA & Measey, GJ (2017) Habitat characteristics influence the breeding of Rose's dwarf mountain toadlet Capensibufo rosei (Anura: Bufonidae) Herpetological Journal27: 287-298. pdf

  Frogs  Lab  News

Nick's thesis all done!

01 July 2017

Congratulations to Nick (aka Wei Cheng Tan) on the submission of his thesis!

You may remember that some time back (it was 12 January 2017) we welcomed Nick to the MeaseyLab from Université de Poitiers to conduct his thesis work on South African agamas. Nick went back and worked very hard on the write up, finally submitting his thesis entitled: Is the radiation of South African agamids adaptive?

The thesis was supervised by Anthony Herrel, Didier Bouchon and John Measey. It makes great reading, and we really look forward to seeing the papers in press!

Fantastic work, Nick!

  Lab  News

A blast from the past

23 June 2017

A blast from the past: Western Leopard Toads and microsatellites

Stephen Doucette-Riise submitted his MSc thesis (Zoology, UCT) on Western Leopard Toads back in 2012 while I was working at SANBI. Stephen worked hard on trialing a number of microsatellite candidates to profile WLTs in the Overstrand area (Stanford to Aghulas). 

Despite completing his MSc, the microsatellite study wasn't finished as Stephen didn't have enough time to profile enough microsatellites for the project. Jessica da Silva recently stepped into the breach and produced this microsat note on the toad. 

da Silva, J.M., Feldheim, K.A., Measey, G.J., Doucett-Riise, S., Daniels, R.J., Chauke, L.F. & Tolley, K.A. (2017) Genetic diversity and differentiation of the Western Leopard Toad (Sclerophrys pantherina) based on mitochondrial and microsatellite markers. African Journal of Herpetology 66: 25-38 

  Frogs  News