SA Women win Goldman Environmental Prize

Makoma Lekalakala and Liziwe McDaid
A win for Earthlife Africa's Makoma Lekalakala and Liziwe McDaid from the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment who successfully mobilise South Africans against the government’s secret R1-trillion nuclear deal.

Giraffes surprise biologists yet again

A group of juvenile giraffes. Photo: Zoe Muller
New research from the University of Bristol has highlighted how little we know about giraffe behaviour and ecology. It is commonly accepted that group sizes of animals increase when there is a risk of predation, since larger group sizes reduce the risk of individuals being killed, and there are 'many eyes' to spot any potential predation risk. Now, in the first study of its kind, Bristol PhD student Zoe Muller from the School of Biological Sciences has found that this is not true for giraffes, and that the size of giraffe groups is not influenced by the presence of predators. Zoe Muller said...

Metagenomics: how to uncover the unseen majority!

Metagenomics is just genomics, but a lot more of it all at once. The term is applied to research which focuses on many genomes at the same time, such as is typical in some sections of environmental study.

Huge parts of the world are drying up

The soils in large areas of the Southern Hemisphere, including major portions of Australia, Africa and South America, have been drying up in the past decade, a group of researchers conclude in the first major study to ever examine "evapotranspiration" on a global basis. Most climate models have suggested that evapotranspiration, which is the movement of water from the land to the atmosphere, would increase with global warming. The new research, published online in the journal Nature, found that's exactly what was happening from 1982 to the late 1990s. But in 1998, this significant increase in...

The DDT debacle

WHILE AN ESTIMATED 880 000 people – most of them young children – die each year of malaria in the developing world, we may underestimate the potential effects of continued DDT use on future generations. In South Africa, as in several other developing countries, the use of the powerful insecticide DDT is allowed for malaria control in high-risk areas such as KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. However, DDT is also one of the 'dirty dozen' synthetically-produced chemicals banned by the rest of the world, as well as an endocrine disrupting chemical – meaning it can mimic or antagonise the function of...


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