Update by Marilize Greyling, project manager
The new year has kicked off with a bang promising a fruitful year for biodiversity surveys and research for the FBIP Waterberg project.
In the month of January, the project will see flora, arachnid, arthropod, mammal, and herpetology surveys.
The year kicked off with the project’s first dung beetle survey.
Dung beetles are vitally important to the health of our ecosystems as they break down and recycle dung into the soil, enabling the nutrients in the dung to cycle throughout the soil ecosystem.
The team is led by Dr. Werner Strumpher (Ditsong National Museum of Natural History), accompanied by Dr Gimo Daniel (National Museum Bloemfontein) and Jacomien Zaayman (UP MSc student focusing on dung beetle taxonomy).
Special conservation concern
The Waterberg Mountain Complex (WMC) in the Limpopo Province is currently the focus of a “multidisciplinary foundational baseline biodiversity data gathering project” after a University of Pretoria researcher was awarded Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP) funding to carry out the Large Project.
Prof Nigel Barker and his team were awarded the funding to carry out the work over a period of three years.
In his proposal for funding Barker said the WMC is a region of special conservation concern and despite being situated a mere 2 to 3 hours from Pretoria, where there is a hub of plant and animal biodiversity scientists, there has never been a comprehensive and structured survey of the region.
Dr Gimo Daniel perfecting the hole for Pitfall trap
Jacomien marking the site.
The Waterberg Research Conference takes place 23-25 January 2024
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