Dates: 12 -15 April 2021
Location: Epupa Conservancy
A PhD Student travelled from Windhoek to the Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics, University of Pretoria during the last two week of October 2019, to carry out a DNA extraction experiment. The aim of the experiment was to extract DNA from soil samples, which will be sequenced to determine taxonomic and functional diversity of soil microbial communities in plant hummock and bare ground soils.
As part of the SCIONA Community Engagement activities, a SCIONA team embarked on a fieldtrip to conduct household surveys in Epupa and Okanguati conservancies on the 1st to the 14th of September 2019. The team camped in both Epupa and Okanguati.
A team of researchers and students travelled from Windhoek to the Skeleton Coast National Park during the first week of June 2019. The team went to collect the first set of litterbags that were deployed in the field end of March 2019. The aim of the experiment is to measure the rate of litter decomposition in a hyper-arid system. About 464 litterbags were deployed under different plant species canopies, with the purpose of collecting a set of two litterbags per shrub to determine the weight loss (which is litter decay rate) at an interval of 4 months.
A multidisciplinary SCIONA team travelled from Windhoek to Iona National Park in Angola during the second half of May 2019. Community workshops were held in and near the park: at Monte Negro near the border with Namibia, at Cambeno in the centre, and at Pediva just north of the park. The workshops aimed to engage local stakeholders in topics ranging from livelihoods to ecosystem management.
On 1 March 2019, after the first SCIONA Advisory Board Meeting, the Director for ISCED and the VC of NUST met to sign an additional addendum stating the dedication of both institutions for the SCIONA project and future engagements between the educational institutions. Professor Jose Luis Mateus Alexandre and Dr. Tjama Tjivikua signed the document and all involved are looking forward to the future collaborations.
On February 26, 2019 the first SCIONA Advisory Board Meeting was held at Kleines Heim Guesthouse in Windhoek, Namibia. Members from NUST, ISCED, EU delegation of Namibia, Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia and the Ministry of Environment in Angola were all present. The discussions focused around the outputs and activities of year one of the project, the management plans of Skeleton Coast National Park and Iona National Park, EU regulations on budgeting and reporting and finally the way forward for the project.
On 30 January 2019, two students from ISCED in Lubango, Angola arrived to begin their Masters of Natural Resource Management studies at NUST. Telmo Ernesto Meneses Antonio will be conducting research on the vegetation, including grasses, occurring in the SCIONA study area under the supervision of Dr. Vera De Cauwer. Milcíades Rafael Chicomo will be conducting research on the ungulates, occurring in the SCIONA study area under the supervision of Dr. Morgan Hauptfleisch. Both of them will be based in Windhoek, as well as Iona National Park for 2 years.