C•I•B celebrates International Year of Biodiversity with lecture series

In celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity, the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (C·I·B) at Stellenbosch University is hosting a series of public lectures, starting on 18 August 2010, that will see a selection of local and international speakers take the stage on matters relating to biodiversity decline, climate change, invasive species and biosecurity.

The International Year of Biodiversity is an appropriate time to take stock of the state of the world’s wildlife, populations, species and habitats.

Prof Melodie McGeoch, an extraordinary professor in the SU Department of Botany and Zoology and a senior researcher at SANParks, along with C·I·B researcher Dr Dian Spear will introduce the series on Wednesday 18 August with a talk entitled “Bygone Biodiversity: the state of decline”.

They will reflect on whether recent conservation efforts, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, established in 1992 and now with over 190 countries as signatories, have been successful in halting biodiversity loss. The speakers will use the best available evidence, a series of indicators and global and South African anecdotes to answer these questions.

C·I·B director Prof Steven Chown will tackle the extensive and rapid occurrence of biodiversity changes in southern Africa on 15 September. Tim Low, an environmental writer from Australia and author of “Feral Future”, will address issues about climate change and invasive species in his talk on 5 October.

The lecture series is being held at the Wallenberg Centre in Stellenbosch, and commences at 18:00.

The public lecture series concludes on 18 November with a talk by Prof Richard Duncan, an expert in biosecurity in New Zealand. It will be held in the JC Gericke Library Auditorium, as part of the CIB’s annual research meeting, and starts at 09:00.

The first three lectures are being held at the Wallenberg Centre in Stellenbosch, and all commence at 18:00. For more information, or to RSVP, contact Ms Mathilda van der Vyver at (021) 808 2832 or mvdvyver@sun.ac.za.