One thousand ziplocked bags of soil from ten countries will form the basis of the first large-scale survey of the microbial life hidden underground in sub-Saharan Africa. The leaders of the African soil microbiology project hope that the data will one day help to drive better agricultural practices and to protect ecosystems and crops in the face of climate change.
When climate change kills off the Western Cape’s indigenous fynbos species, what will fill its place? asks Jasper Slingsby, a biodiversity scientist at the South African Environmental Observation Network.
“To borrow from the physicists, ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ — all indications are that the winners from climate change in the Cape are invasive species like the pines, eucalypts and wattles,” he says.
The African elephant is one of the continent’s best studied animals. However, conservation efforts have been based on flawed data.
New research out of the University of Pretoria has, for the first time, shown how many elephants there should be in an ecosystem, rather than how many there actually are. And the numbers are not pretty.
“Scientists know very little about the plants and animals in the Karoo, and there is an urgent need to document the indigenous species found in this important part of South Africa,” says the Karoo BioGaps Project, a citizen science initiative which aims to document the Karoo’s natural resources.