Bird and bat predation services in tropical forests and agroforestry landscapes

Understanding distribution patterns and multitrophic interactions is critical for managing bat- and bird-mediated ecosystem services such as the suppression of pest and non-pest arthropods. Despite the ecological and economic importance of bats and birds in tropical forests, agroforestry systems, and agricultural systems mixed with natural forest, a systematic review of their impact is still missing. […]

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Past, present, and future distribution of Afromontane rodents (Muridae: Otomys) reflect climate-change predicted biome changes

Climate change constitutes a potential threat to montane biodiversity, particularly in low-altitude, tropical mountains; however, few data exist for the Afromontane  taxa. In South Africa, the temperate grassland and fynbos  biomes are mostly associated with the Great Escarpment  and the high-lying central plateau. Varying contractions of the grassland and fynbos biomes are predicted under different […]

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Temporal changes in cranial size in South African vlei rats (Otomys): evidence for the ‘third universal response to warming’

Using museum collections and recently collected specimens we studied geographical and temporal (from 1906 to 2013) changes in skull size of two sibling species of rodents, Otomys auratus and O. angoniensis, in northern South Africa occupying distinct temperate grassland (O. auratus) and subtropical savanna (O. angoniensis) biomes. We hypothesised that cranial size should vary in […]

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Temporal Patterns of Ant Diversity across a Mountain with Climatically Contrasting Aspects in the Tropics of Africa

Factors that drive species richness over space and time are still poorly understood and are often context specific. Identifying these drivers for ant diversity has become particularly relevant within the context of contemporary global change events. We report on a long-term bi-annual (wet and dry seasons), standardized sampling of epigeal ants over a five year […]

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The Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, Mapungubwe Network newsletter article.

This article provides background to the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2009, becoming the sixth South African Biosphere Reserve and the third in Limpopo Province. Its primary aim is the conservation of the areas uniquely bio-diverse environment, while supporting and promoting much needed sustainable development.

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Survival rates and causes of mortality of leopards Panthera pardus in southern Africa

Estimation of survival rates is important for developing and evaluating conservation options for large carnivores. However, telemetry studies for large carnivores are often characterized by small sample sizes that limit meaningful conclusions. We used data from 10 published and 8 unpublished studies of leopards Panthera pardus in southern Africa to estimate survival rates and investigate […]

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Afromontane small mammals do not follow the hump-shaped rule: altitudinal variation in the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa.

Altitudinal transects of biodiversity are important to understanding macro-ecological patterns. Hump-shaped altitudinal profiles in species richness are a common pattern in terrestrial small-mammal communities studied previously mostly in New World mountain ranges. Based on capture–mark–recapture live-trapping conducted over four seasons (four nights per session) along an altitudinal transect from 1000 to 1747 m asl on […]

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Effects of aspect and altitude on scorpion diversity along an environmental gradient in the Soutpansberg, South Africa.

Landforms with steep environmental gradients provide natural laboratories for studying regional dynamics of diversity. The Soutpansberg range in South Africa presents contrasting habitats and climatic conditions on its northern and southern slopes. Scorpions are well adapted to arid environments, with greatest diversity in temperate deserts, but few studies have investigated the effects of aspect and […]

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Rodents of Sub-Saharan Africa: A Biogeographic and Taxonomic synthesis.

This comprehensive handbook covers all the rodents occurring in Southern, Central, East and West Africa, south of the Sahara. Genus and species accounts include diagnostic descriptions, systematics and taxonomy, biogeographical environment, fossil species, photographs of skull and mandible, illustrations of molar dentition, photographs of live animals, distribution maps and tables of standard museum measurements. Download […]

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Seed dispersal by South Africa’s only forest dwelling guenon, the samango monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis).

Primate seed dispersal in South African forests and its potential benefit to forest plants has not been extensively investigated. South African forests are inhabited by only one exclusively forest-dwelling,large-bodied,diurnal,frugivorous primate,the samango monkey (Cercopithecus mitis). Our study presents first insights into seed dispersal by samango monkeys in an Afromontane forest in their northernmost South African distribution.Through […]

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Conservation planning in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, Limpopo Province.

Poster presentation, 2014 Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice, 3-7 November 2014 Fern Hill Conference Centre, Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Vhembe Biosphere Reserve (VBR) was inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2009, becoming the sixth South African biosphere reserve and the third in Limpopo Province. […]

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The viability assessment of Microcystis aeruginosa cells after co-culturing with Bacillus mycoides B16 using flow cytometry.

Microcystis aeruginosa is the dominate cyanobacteria in freshwater bodies causing proliferation of toxic harmful algal blooms (HABs), worldwide. Thus a biological control method based on predatory bacteria is an alternative environmental solution to the control of these HABs, A Flow cytometric technique was used to assess the viability of Microcystis spp. cells after deliberate co-culturing […]

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Changes of Bat Activity, Species Richness, Diversity and Community Composition Over an Altitudinal Gradient in the Soutpansberg Range, South Africa.

Bats are important indicator species which can help in identifying areas where conservation efforts should be concentrated and whether these areas are affected by ongoing climate change. To elucidate factors limiting and influencing the elevational distribution of bats in a recognised biodiversity hotpot, the Soutpansberg mountain range (in Vhembe Biosphere Reserve) of northern South Africa, […]

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Seasonal patterns of habitat use by insectivorous bats in a subtropical African agro-ecosystem dominated by macadamia orchards.

We report on acoustic surveys of insectivorous bats conducted during seven months of the year using ANABAT recordings in two habitats (macadamia orchards and adjacent riparian bush) in a subtropical agroecosystem in northern South Africa. We defined two functional foraging groups of bats based on their echolocation calls: (i) open-air foragers (family Molossidae) having narrow-band, […]

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The use of the urogenital papillae of male feral African sharptooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus) as indicator of exposure to estrogenic chemicals in two polluted dams in an urban nature reserve, Gauteng, South Africa.

The African sharptooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus) is indigenous to South Africa where it is commonly found in calm waters such as lakes, streams, rivers, swamps and floodplains. The males of this gonochoristic species can be readily distinguished from females via a distinct elongated urogenital papilla with a pointed tip, located just behind the anus. This […]

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