... furthering our knowledge, understanding and
management of the interactions between humans and their
social, biological and physical life-support
Welcome to the EGS Department
What's going on in our urban ecology group?
MSc student, Penelope Waller, chats to Rose Newton of Kew Gardens' Millennium Seedbank about her restoration field trials.
X-ray tests of seed from Salvia Africana.
Our urban ecology group have been busy. We have a number of graduate
projects underway, and these range from exploring the ecological
aspects of restoration in degraded urban sites to unpacking access
and use of urban green space in the city. The postgraduate urban
ecology class recently went on a field trip as part of their
course. The purpose of the fieldtrip is to stimulate research
ideas, which they then present to the class following which, on the
basis of an election, they carry out one of the proposed projects.
This collection of photographs here gives some insights to what
they have been up to.
X-ray tests of seed from Salvia Africana (right) show the percentage
viability, which can point to likely germination in restoration
efforts. This information, collected as part of Penelope Waller's
research project, is useful in guiding restoration ecologists to
which species are good to use in restoration studies, and in
highlighting shortfalls between viability and germination that need
to be explained by other factors such as poor or incorrect
MSc Student, Oliver Cowan, explored the potential of existing
seedbanks in the degraded Peninsula Shale Renosterveld for use in
kick-starting restoration. He applied an off-site burn treatment to
some of his soil samples to see if this aided germination of a
wider range of indigenous species (below right).
To assist MSc student Penelope Waller in the time consuming task of
seed collection for her restoration trials, we ran a seed
collection training workshop, under the guidance of Carly Cowell
from SANPARKS. Here two of the attendees test their skills in
sourcing and bagging seed for cleaning, treatment, and sowing in
the field trials.
Application of off-site burn treatment to soil samples by
MSc Student, Oliver Cowan.
Stacy-Ann Michaels of the Edith Stephens Nature Reserve gives an
animated description of some of the challenges of urban
conservation adjacent to an informal settlement to our urban
We hosted an exciting workshop of African urban ecologists to gather
issues and views on urban ecology in Africa to inform the African
Assessment component of the UN Habitat Cities and Biodiversity
Blessing Mutiti (SANPARKS) and Robyn Dreyer, Honours student in EGS
in 2012, weigh rodents trapped as part of a study to understand
small mammal population dynamics in the degraded Peninsula Shale