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Sedge (Cyperaceae) Genera of Africa and Madagascar
by Jane Browning and Paul Goetghebeur
Sedges (of the plant family Cyperaceae) can appear seemingly insignificant. On closer inspection, however, their hidden, complex and remarkable constructive design is revealed.
Over the past months we have been undergoing in-depth technical work behind the scenes of iSpot updating the technology this will help to ensure that the service we provide has a sustainable future. With the first phase of this work almost done we will be introducing changes to the site in the coming weeks and months. We will be providing regular updates, revised Help Sections and FAQs to inform and guide you through this process so do look out for this; but we need your help too. The most important thing we need you to do now is to check and make sure that the email address you have linked with your account / profile is up-to-date.
If you are able to devote a few hours over the weekend - or perhaps the next - to testing the new site, please contact me urgently. Numbers will be limited to a handful of testers, so please only respond if you have plenty of time and are willing to try and break iSpot. Clearly you will need lots of iSpot knowledge, so only users with over 1000 observations are eligible, unless you can make a very good case otherwise.
Details are still sketchy ...
We intend doing an iSpot course at Graaff Reinet on Tuesday 23 May. Please diarize!
This will follow after the Arid Zone Ecology Forum (16-18 May) in Middleburg the week before and a week of Bioblitzing afterwards.
More about AZEF here: http://azef.co.za/index.php if you are interested.
If you are interested in helping with bioblitzes (they are rather hectic) please contact Gigi
Bee Line : Solo Art Exhibition
by award winning sculptor : Jenny Cullinan
In support of the protection of Wild Bees.
Refer to www.ujubee.com for more information.
Jenny devotes this exhibition to raising awareness and support for the ongoing research and conservation work that she and Karin Sternberg of UJUBEE conduct.
Due to essential network maintenance, iSpot will be unavailable between 22:00 (GMT/UTC) Saturday 8th April and 10:00 (GMT/UTC) Monday 10th April, 2017. We do apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Please note that because of the recent impact of spam on the site, as a precautionary measure, we have temporarily disabled new accounts. Therefore if you try to register and have difficulties doing so, please try again later.
Please note the Open University is upgrading its servers and iSpot will be down while that is being done. If all goes well it will be only a few hours.
The new scheduled time is 11pm 8th Saturday to 11am Monday 11th ZA time.
Apologies: please plan accordingly.
As you may have noticed, iSpot was unavailable on and off periodically from Thursday evening, March 16th to Saturday March 18th 2017. We have been dealing with an influx of spam on the site and have had to take the site offline as needed as a precautionary measure to manage this. We are monitoring the situation so please do bear with us as we work to resolve it. We apologise for any inconvenience this may be cause.
Come and learn how to use iSpot to record your biodiversity.
This is part of the BioGaps project, do document the wildlife of the Nama Karoo..
Attendance is Free; please RSVP to confirm numbers.
What is an ecosystem? What is co-evolution? How do species interact with their habitat? How do we preserve ecosystems? These are some of the questions posed and answered in The Open University's MOOC (Massive Open Online Course): Introduction to Ecosystems. This free course runs for six weeks. If you are interested, read on to find out more.
The SA Agriculture Department has confirmed the presence of the Fall Armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda in South Africa. Taxonomists ID'd the beast a few weeks ago, but the department waited for DNA tests to confirm the identity before releasing the news.
Meanwhile, the beasts have been reported from Limpopo, North West and Free State, suggesting that it has been present for quite a while.
The Fall Armyworm occurs naturally in North and South America, It probably originated from imported material to central Africa, perhaps from Brazil.
Our long awaited Ant Book is out!
R50 discount still applies: merely post an Ant observation on iSpot to be eligible!
Order your copy now.
Only R245 to iSpotters!
Offer valid until 18 March 2017 (& until further notice)
IN THE POST. IF YOU DONT HAVE AN ORDER, THEN ORDER NOW: YOU ARE MISSING OUT!!!
Request for assistance in determining the distribution and prevalence of an the Silky Oak Grevillea robusta
We are assessing the invasive potential of the Silky Oak in South Africa.
In order to assess the appropriate categorization of the Silky Oak we need detailed information on its current distribution. We would like your help please.
The 2016 Cederberg Adventure is Underway: and done!
Please vote for the best pictures!
Please help with IDs ...
Some Projects you may be interested in:
Please vote for this months Observations.
The latest votes can be seen here: http://www.ispotnature.org/observation-of-the-month
And also add nominations for the curent month.
Past notes here:
The latest votes can be seen here: http://www.ispotnature.org/observation-of-the-month
I need to collect fresh samples of African Ixodes, and if possible include some specimens from outside of Africa. The genus is in need of a modern treatment. So I will look into a revision/key as well as their phylogenetics/evolution and distribution modeling, niche characterisation etc...
This is a call for all botanists whom appreciate the importance of improved knowledge of species of Orobanche and also of locations of multiple populations in their region, and who may be willing to make population samples to contribute to our work and/or will know others who may do the same for us.
Please help us collect Orobanche material for DNA analysis. Our local coordinator is Suzaan Kritzinger-Klopper
More details at: http://www.ispotnature.org/projects/orobanche
First detection of Tuta absoluta in South Africa -
At our Mozambican border.
Host plants such as Solanum lycopersicum (Tomatoes), Solanum melongena (Eggplant) and Solanum tuberosum (Potato), may be affected.
Also now detected in Namibia.
Please join us for a bioblitz* at Papenkuils wetland (https://goo.gl/maps/rzE2f4vBaPk) on Saturday, 15 October from 9.00 to 15.00.
The Papenkuils wetland is one of the largest wetlands along the Breede River system (872 ha) with valuable functions as a wetland, including its endangered vegetation type (Breede Alluvium Fynbos), making it an irreplaceable ecological cornerstone to conservation efforts in the Western Cape. In 2014, Dr. D. Kotze found up to 7 IUCN red-listed plant species in the wetland, and since then we have been wondering what else we could find there.
It’s not too late to save UK nature but we must act now - that is the conclusion from a coalition of more than 50 leading wildlife and research organisations, including iSpotnature.org, who are behind the State of Nature 2016 report.
Please post your pictures: we will summarize on 16 October (period extended because of baglogs)
WESSA is celebrating its 90th year of contributing to the conservation of our biodiversity heritage!
In celebration we are requesting 90 minutes of connecting with nature.
Our Fynbos is under threat again.
This time not from Urban Expansion, Agriculture or Alien Invasive Plants.
This time is is from Dogwalkers!!!
Please help us save our Critically Endangered Cape Flats Fynbos - with over 110 threatened and conservation Concern Red List Species - from an initiative by some elite Tokaaiers who want to walk their dogs in a pine plantation due to be harvested and restored back to Fynbos.
Please sign up here:
But please do so in an informed manner.
We are busy with a major dictionary update, and would appreciate help.
The following groups are ready for comment:
* Amphibians v1
* Birds v1
* Fish v1
* Mammals v1
* Reptiles v1
We need the following please:
Please remember to keep an eye out for exciting observations that you think should be observation of the year or of the month. If you nominate exciting pictures/ observations/ discoveries then others will be more aware of them
Why not bookmark the page: http://www.ispotnature.org/observation-of-the-month - this changes every month for the current nominations!
So please nominate observations for July now - click http://www.ispotnature.org/observation-of-the-month
And you have a week to vote for June. Make your votes for June here: http://www.ispotnature.org/node/807271
The Winter Longhorn Beetle (see here) was first identified by Dr. K. Adlbauer in 2012 from examples housed in the Transvaal Museum. It is known to occur in the Pretoria North and Hartebeespoort (Sarkiesnek) areas. Now also Mpumalanga - Presidentsrus based on previous location data and our observations.
We have revamped our southern African tags a little: mostly tidying up extraneous tags.
Unfortunately we do share tags with other communities, so it is not possible to tidy them up a lot, so there will always be similar and confusing tags around. We just have to live with this: provided you remember or check which are our tags, the tagging system is incredibly useful and powerful.
Statistics has been updated with the latest Badge information for iSpot
If you would like to see anything added to the statistics page, please request it.
We had to do some necessary site maintenance this morning so you may have noticed that iSpotnature.org was off-line for an hour or so.
This was part of the regular maintenance which is important to keep the site running.
Thanks again for your patience.
The iSpot Team
Join scientists on a BioBlitz on Saturday 16 April to discover, identify and record the unique Karoo plants and animals
Scientists know very little about the plants and animals in the Karoo. And there is an urgent need to document the indigenous Karoo flora and fauna. This information will support responsible decision making around the question of shale gas and other infrastructure development in the area.
The Minister of Environmental Affairs has published (on 3 February 2016) the draft notices and regulations to declare a network of 22 new proposed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This will create 70 000 km2 of marine protected areas, bringing to 5% the ocean protected within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Guttural Toad has just been recorded at Noordhoek. This is a major jump out of its Constantia focus of invasion into one of the core breeding areas of the Western Leopard Toad.
This follows a similar jump to Kirstenbosch in 2013.
The saltational spread is surmised to be due to the nursery industry with toads riding in pot plants.
Please keep a lookout and ear up for Guttural Toads and if you detect any within Cape Town, please contact the NCC immediately at 021 702 2884; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; WhatsApp: Richard on 082 849 6611, or Jonathan on 072 037 3034
The year 2015 looks like it will go down as the warmest on record and there are predictions that 2016 will be even warmer due to the effects of El Niño and climate change. It’s already the beginning of February, have you noticed any effects on our wildlife?
The iSpot Team has been busy developing our plans for 2016, while at the same time reviewing and reflecting on iSpot activity last year. What were your favourite observations of 2015?
As you may have noticed, iSpot was unavailable from Friday evening, January 15th to this morning, Monday, January 18. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
We dealt with an influx of spam on the site on Friday and decided to take the site offline as a precautionary measure as there appeared to be a threat of a large scale spam attack over the weekend. The team has carried out some work to reduce the risk of a similar attack in the future.
There is a big shake up in toad names just published. See http://www.ispotnature.org/dictionary_updates?page=5#comment-392865
This affects the genus Amietophrynus and all species will change to Sclerophrys, so all the IDs will change. Species names stay the same (except end in ~a instead of ~us), with the exception of Amietophrynus rangeri, which is now Sclerophrys capensis.
The observation of the year 2015 is: Insect attached to Painted Reed Frog - http://www.ispotnature.org/node/631799
A superb observation with all sorts of implications and followup. A superb illustration of amateur observation, sleuthing and dedication. Definitely a highlight of 2015!!
Following on requests, we present some new statistics for iSpot southern Africa.
see it here: http://www.ispotnature.org/communities/southern-africa/Stats%20update#co... and the following comments.
If you have any queries you would like to address please ask on the forum page.
Our Bayesian Keys are again online.
However, some updates appear not to have been included. I also cannot update them or fix them for the foreseeable future: sorry.
The keys can be seen here:
or more friendly page is:
A brief summary
ANTS - NOT WORKING. http://www.ispotnature.org/webkeys-za/keyintroduction.jsp?selectedKey=we...
Ant Course Workshop
Ant Course is a workshop designed primarily for systematists, ecologists, behaviorists, conservation biologists, and other biologists whose research responsibilities require a greater understanding of ant taxonomy and field research techniques. Emphasis is on the evolution, classification, and identification of ant genera.