Frogs go astro

16 November 2017

Meeting of astrophysics and frogs

It was great to meet up with physicists Ninan Sajeeth Philip (St. Thomas College) and Ashish Mahabal (CalTech). Although our 'big data' is not nearly as big as theirs, it'll be great to explore how our areas of research overlap. 

Looking forward to getting your great minds working on our little frog problems!

  Lab  meetings

CIB Annual Research Meeting - Natasha takes a prize

10 November 2017

The 13th Annual Research Meeting of the CIB - Congratulations Natasha!

The 13th Annual Research Meeting of the CIB took place at Stellenbosch University Thursday and Friday.

Presentations were made by Nitya, Natasha and Marike.

From top right:

1. The judges receive their thank you presents from Dave Richardson: Piero Genovesi, Laura Meyerson, Petr Pyšek & Tim Blackburn.

2. Marike answers a question from the audience (and who was part of the winning pod)

3. Natasha gives the talk that won her best runner up for a PhD presentation

4. Nitya wows the audience with the size of his bullfrog. 

Well done to the whole lab who put on a magnificent set of froggy presentations. Especially well done to Natasha!

  aSCR  Frogs  Lab  meetings  prizes  Xenopus

Invasion syndromes workshop

08 November 2017

Working hard at the invasive syndromes workshop

Three days of talking about invasive syndromes was hard work for all involved, set in fantastic surroundings. 

The guest list read like a who's who in invasion biology. Most important were the rising stars many of whom have received training from the CIB. In years to come, we expect that the most well known invasion biologists will be the freshest of faces here.

Thanks to Ana Novoa and all at the CIB who worked so hard to make this event possible. Additional thanks to all who came from far and wide to participate in what was a fascinating workshop. 

Watch this space to see a link to the forthcoming publication on invasion syndromes...


Talk for University of Mauritius

18 October 2017

Nice turnout for talk on invasive frogs at University of Mauritius

I gave a talk to the conservation class of Prof. Vincent Florens at the University of Mauritius, together with other luminaries who pitched. Using amphibians as an example of how to score impacts for invasive species. There were a lot of agreeing nods and understanding here when talking about invasive species. They have so so many and see the impacts daily. 

Watch out for a detailed blog on the Mauritius trip coming soon...

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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.

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