|2014-03-09 ||Les Underhill |
|Citizen Science Week : Saturday 8 March to Sunday 16 March |
Ultimately, the goal of all the data collection by the ADU’s citizen scientists is to have an impact on biodiversity conservation. The wealth of data and information contributed by our citizen scientists, collated and curated at the ADU, and analysed by our students and staff and by many other people, has improved biodiversity conservation in southern Africa. Together we are making a difference!
Citizen Science Week celebrates the participation and involvement of citizen scientists in building our digital biodiversity databases, totalling some 18 million records. The objective of our "Citizen Science Week" is to give all citizen scientists a chance to become a community with the objective of collecting and submitting as much biodiversity data in digital format as we are able during the week. Citizen Science Week runs from Saturday 8 March to Sunday 16 March, so it includes two weekends.
We want to involve as many of our existing citizen scientists as possible. We want to recruit new people to our citizen science team. We want to collect as much biodiversity data as possible: so we will try to count the total number of records entering the various databases, and try to determine the total number of different species we record. We want to encourage Team Citizen Science.
We would be delighted if our citizen scientists participated in more than one project, and especially if they participated in one they had not been involved in before. So we want our bird atlasers to participate in LepiMAP, The Atlas of African Lepidoptera, our bird ringers to take pictures of weavers' nests for PHOWN, PHOtos of Weaver Nests, and our CAR counters to give bird atlasing a try, etc. We particularly want to grow awareness and participation in the growing family of virtual museums: see vmus.adu.org.za.
This is also a great opportunity to try to expand the citizen science team. The best way to do this is to invite someone new to join you atlasing, ringing, counting, virtual museuming. And to show them the project protocols – for example, exactly how to go about bird atlasing.
These celebrations honour you, the citizen scientist. Thank you for your on-going support from all of us at the ADU.
|2014-03-03 ||Megan Loftie-Eaton |
|We celebrate 70 000 Virtual Museum records |
We have hit 70000 records submitted to the Virtual Museum projects through the Virtual Museum website at vmus.adu.org.za – it is only two months back that we celebrated 60000! This amazing achievement is all thanks to YOU, the awesome ADU contributors and citizen scientists! We value each and every record and we appreciate your support beyond measure! WELL DONE!!!!
|2014-03-02 ||Les Underhill |
|SABAP2 up to the end of February, 2014 |
The end of February brings the curtain down on a mini-project that has been beavering away in the background. SummerMAP. During December, January and February we have quietly been accumulating the coverage displayed on this map. Do we have enough data to be able to make a statement about the distribution of species in the summer of 2013/14? There are certainly some areas, especially Gauteng, Kruger National Park and coastal KwaZulu-Natal, where we have extensive coverage. The analysts will have to tell us whether what we have achieved is good enough! Whatever they say, the coverage is remarkable; 2002 pentads visited, 3945 checklists submitted so far, nearly a quarter of a million records collected. From the start of the project in July 2007, it took until August 2008 to get coverage of the first 2000 pentads. Now we achieve in three months what took us 14 months at the start of SABAP2.
From March to May our miniproject is AutumnMAP. This represents our one and only opportunity to document the timing of departure of migrants on northward migration. One of the predictions of global climate change is that long-distance bird migrants will be impacted. SABAP2 is one of the best projects anywhere in the world to test these predictions. There are two reasons why we are in such a good position: (1) unlike most bird atlas projects, we collect data throughout the year, including the migration seasons; (2) we have the data collected during SABAP1 for comparison purposes. First analyses show that we are collecting sufficient data each year. We encourage atlasers to tackle all their pentads, several times, if possible, during the next three months. And to tackle them as if this was the start of the project!
From next Saturday 8 March to the following Sunday 16 March we celebrate “Citizen Science Week.” The dates are chosen to coincide with “Open Education Week.” This is a global event, see www.openeducationweek.org. The ADU is delighted to be able to make “Citizen Science Week” a component event of UCT’s Open Education Week. “Open Education” is primarily about “Sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built − sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education − Open Education seeks to scale up educational opportunities by taking advantage of the power of the internet, allowing rapid and essentially free dissemination, and enabling people around the world to access knowledge, connect and collaborate.” In real tangible ways, the ADU’s projects achieve precisely the goals of “Open Education.” We have never set out to make “Open Education” a primary goal of what we do, it is a delightful by-product.
The ADU Virtual Museum has had a brilliant start to the year. In January and February 8104 records were submitted, compared with 3937 in these two months last year. There is a great visual report on Virtual Museum progress in 2013 2013 Progress. And there are instructions on how to do submissions at How to submit.
|2014-02-25 ||Megan Loftie-Eaton |
|Sappi TREE TUESDAY! |
Sappi TREE TUESDAY!!!! The Scented-pod Thorn (Acacia nilotica subsp. kraussiana) or Lekkerruikpeul is a medium to large tree that can reach a height of 10 m. The crown is somewhat flattened or rounded, with a moderate density. The branches have a tendency to droop downwards if the crown is roundish. The bark is blackish grey or dark brown in mature trees and deeply grooved, with longitudinal fissures.
This tree occurs in a variety of woodland types, wooded grassland and scrub escarpment, forests and low-lying forest, in deep soil and along rivers. It is found in large areas of KwaZulu-Natal , Swaziland, eastern and northern Mpumalanga, the northern part of Gauteng, throughout Limpopo and the north-eastern part of the North-West. This subspecies occurs south of the Zambezi River.
The wood of this species is hard and reddish in colour and most of the browsers eat the leaves. It is used as firewood and for fencing posts. The bark exudes an edible gum and is used medicinally according to Van Wyk et al. (2000). The gum can also be used as glue. The Zulus take a decoction of the bark as a cough remedy. The Voortrekkers made ink and dyes from the pods (red, black and yellow). Other parts of the tree were used to treat eye diseases, or as a tranquillizer and even as an aphrodisiac. A root extract was used in the treatment of tuberculosis, impotence, diarrhoea, haemorrhages, toothache, dysentery and gonorrhoea. Extracts made from the leaves are used in the treatment of menstrual problems, eye infections, sores (specifically those caused by leprosy), ulcers, indigestion and haemorrhage.
References: Van Wyk, B., Van Wyk, P. & Van Wyk, B-E. 2000. Photographic guide to trees of southern Africa . Briza Publications, Pretoria. Venter, F. & Venter, J.A. 1990. Making the most of indigenous trees . Briza Publications, Pretoria.
|2014-02-25 ||Megan Loftie-Eaton |
|How To Create a Species List From the Virtual Museum Project Data |
Want to know how you can create a species list from the Virtual Museum projects?? Then take a look at this slideshow http://www.slideshare.net/meganloftieeaton/how-to-create-a-species-list