Speaker Profiles

Updated 28 February 2013

Speaker Profiles

Updated 28 February 2013

Beate Hölscher

Beate Hölscher is the Research Administrator at the South African Environmental Observation Network. She co-ordinates and manages the research projects and keeps her finger on the pulse of research activities, student opportunities and research grants. She previously worked for SANBI at the National Herbarium. She has a special interest in science communication.

Bettie de Kock

Bettie de Kock is the Manager of Library e-literacy at the Innovation and Technology Division, Department of Library Services at the University of Pretoria. Bettie specialize in information literacy and anti-plagiarism training. Her current research interest is the creation and development of serious 3D games for instruction purposes. Games are currently used as a library instruction tool.

Clement Cupido

Speaker profile pending

David Spurrett

Prof David Spurrett is a Professor of the School of Philosophy and Ethics, and Programme Director for Cognitive Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he received the Distinguished Teacher’s Award, and the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award. He also received the President’s Award from the National Research Foundation. He collaborates with researchers within and outside South Africa. His main research interest is the philosophy of science and human decision making. He has numerous scientific publications, and has co-authored several books.

David Ward

Professor Dave Ward is the Chair of Botany at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, his alma mater. He has taught at the University of British Columbia, Ben Gurion University (Associate Professor), and Stellenbosch University where he was the chair of Conservation Ecology. He has been affiliated with Tufts University, Boston, U.S.A., and Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany. His book “The Biology of Deserts” (Oxford University Press) has recently been released, and he has over 130 publications to his name. He is an experimental community biologist, and his principal research interest is bush encroachment.

Justin du Toit

Justin du Toit is a Production Scientist at the Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute. He has taught in the fields of agriculture and grassland science at the University of Fort Hare, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute. His current research interests are climate/grazing effects on vegetation change in the eastern Karoo, and how this affects production agriculture.

Liza von Staden

Speaker profile pending

Luthando Dziba

Dr Luthando Dziba is a Principal Scientist and Competency Area Manager: Ecosystem Services at the CSIR Natural Resources and the Environment Unit. He is responsible for research on impacts of climate change and land cover change on ecosystem services as well as mainstreaming of ecosystem services into planning and policy. He also manages three research groups that undertake cutting edge research on various aspects of ecosystem services science. Luthando has been a member of several South African delegations to the United Nations Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) as science advisor and chaired a working group on Administrative and Institutional Arrangements of the IPBES secretariat at the first IPBES plenary in Bonn in January 2013.

Susi Vetter

Dr Susi Vetter is a senior lecturer at Rhodes University. She studied at the University of Cape Town and did her PhD reserach on the ecological and social dimensions of land degradation. Her research interests are the dynamics of rangeland systems, with a particular interest on the interactions between humans and the environment in communal rangelands. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of Range & Forage Science.

Tony Palmer

Dr Tony Palmer leads a research group in the ARC-Animal Production Institute that focuses on using remote sensing to evaluate landscape water use. He has developed landscape analysis techniques which detect changes in natural rangeland (field survey, remote sensing, forage production modelling) and has defined new perspectives on rangeland condition assessment (e.g. using high resolution infra-red imagery). He was awarded a C2 rating by the National Research Foundation (NRF) for his research on the use of MODIS products to estimate landscape scale plant water use and net primary production.

Vanessa Anderson

Vanessa Anderson is a veterinary nurse, and worked at the Johannesburg Zoo in the zoo hospital for 4 years before moving to the NSPCA Animal Ethics Unit in May 2011. She has always been an animal lover, and animal enrichment and husbandry interests her immensely. The zoo environment is a wonderful way to gain exposure to a variety of species of animals, and this knowledge and experience stands her in good stead in the work done by the Animal Ethics Unit of the NSPCA. The use of animals in research and training has always been a thorny issue, and although the NSPCA would like to ultimately see this practice stopped, that is not going to happen overnight. They try to ensure and encourage, via the Animal Ethics Committees that they serve on, that the “Three R’s” are used in all the facilities they deal with in order to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals. Vanessa is currently focussing on alternatives to the use of live animals in research, testing, education and training.

Victoria Goodall

Victoria Goodall is a Data Scientist at the South African Environmental Observation Network. She focuses on data management processes and training, along with data analysis. Her current research interests are the statistical analyses of animal movement data collected using GPS collars and climate analyses. She previously worked in marketing in the automotive and market research sectors.

Wayne Truter

Dr Wayne Truter is currently employed by the University of Pretoria as a senior lecturer and researcher in the Department of Plant Production and Soil Science. His field of specialization is planted pastures, forage crops and the application thereof in land reclamation. He currently manages various research projects for the Pasture Seed Industry, Water Research Commission as well as land reclamation projects for the Coal Mining Research Association of the Chamber of Mines. He also heads the Land Rehabilitation Services Unit at the Business Division of the University of Pretoria. He is responsible for the undergraduate teaching of Pasture Management to Veterinary and Agricultural students. He also presents undergraduate courses in Environmental Resource Assessment and Monitoring, Turfgrass Management, Scientific Writing and Presentation Skills. Postgraduate training is also one of his responsibilities, where he currently supervises 16 students, both MSc and PhD, in the fields of planted pastures, irrigation of pastures, land reclamation and rangeland management.

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