Page 59 - UCT Research Report 2011

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The Centre of Excellence (CoE) at the Percy FitzPatrick
Institute of African Ornithology (PFIAO) undertakes
scientific studies involving birds that contribute to
the theory and practice affecting the maintenance of
biological diversity and the sustained use of biological
resources. The centre continued to achieve its targeted
number and quality of scientific publications, with 79
papers published in peer-reviewed journals in 2011,
including 17 in journals with Science Citation impact
factor ratings of 3,5 or higher. Five contributions to
semi-technical books and 41 semi popular articles
were also published.
During 2011, the centre supported 12 postdoctoral
fellows, 21 PhD, 31 MSc and seven BSc Honours
students, of which 25 percent were black and 46 percent
were women. It was a record year with 26 postgraduate
students graduating in 2011 (seven PhD, one MSc, 11
MSc Conservation Biology, and seven BSc Honours).
The fifth Biodiversity Conservation Academy, hosted by
the national CoE for Invasion Biology and the PFIAO
CoE, was held in De Hoop Nature Reserve during
January 2011.The academy was attended by 11 students
from seven South African universities, and three interns
from the South African National Biodiversity Institute. All
14 students were black and nine were women. The aim
of the academy is to broaden the students’ knowledge
of the theory and practice of conservation in a South
African context and to encourage them to pursue
postgraduate studies in conservation biology.
A broad range of close collaborative working
relationships with scientific peers and a variety of
conservation NGOs and governmental organisations
exists both nationally and internationally. The CoE
continues to build much-needed African capacity in the
broad arena of biodiversity conservation. The CoE has
also been active in advising conservation organisations,
government departments and industry on a variety of
research projects. During 2011, CoE members served
on 16 journal editorial boards, reviewed at least 97
papers for 50 peer-reviewed journals, and sat on 35
advisory boards.
A highlight of the year was the visit by Sir David
Attenborough, who presented a Vice-Chancellor’s
Open Lecture during April as the final celebratory
event of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African
Ornithology’s 50
Director: Professor P. Hockey
climate change
PhD student Jess Shaw attaching a transmitter to a Ludwig’s Bustard in the Karoo (Photo: Ben Dilley).
Centre of excellence
associated with this theme
DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of
African Ornithology, Birds as Key to Biodiversity Conservation