Through this study, researchers learned that termites are pivotal when it comes to breaking down wood, contributing to the earth’s carbon cycle. They also discovered that termites are significantly sensitive to temperature and rainfall; this means that as temperatures rise, the insect’s role in wood decay will likely expand beyond the tropics.
Professor Mark Robertson is a lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria. He is interested in biological invasions, species distributions, community ecology and the role that invertebrates play in ecosystem processes.
Professor Catherine Parr has broad interests –her research combines community ecology, biodiversity conservation, disturbance ecology, ecosystem ecology and invasive species, with a particular focus on invertebrates. The driving force behind her research is a desire to understand how biodiversity is maintained and how its loss affects ecosystem structure and function. Apart from loving ecology, she has a particular fondness for Marmite, cricket, Tintin, and bright blue skies.
Katherine Bunney is a PhD candidate at the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria. Her study looks at the functional role of termites in savanna ecosystems.
University of Pretoria researchers find that the common ancestor of the approximately 100 species of Protea found in South Africa and Australia’s related macadamia nut trees (such as Macadamia integrifolia) and waratah (Telopea speciosissima) dates back to when dinosaurs went extinct.
University of Pretoria (UP) researchers are at the forefront of a very special first for South African plant sciences. They have unravelled the precise genetic make-up of the country’s national flower, the king protea (Protea cynaroides). It is the first plant that’s unique to South Africa – and the species-rich fynbos biome in particular – to have its entire genome sequenced in-depth.
With climate change said to be affecting the intensity of rainfall, experts at the University of Pretoria (UP) have investigated if there are observable changes in the probability of significant to extreme daily rainfall across South Africa.
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