New Biodiversity Research Project Launches in South Africa

New Biodiversity Research Project Launches in South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa – A new biodiversity research project called BioSCape will be launched in the Western Cape, South Africa, on Tuesday, 17 October. The project will link data collected from satellites and airplanes with field observations to better understand the biodiversity of the Greater Cape Floristic Region and nature’s contributions to people.

The project, which was initiated in 2021, will run until 2024 with the majority of data collection occurring from mid-October to mid-December 2023 to coincide with the aerial surveys conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aircraft and instrument teams. The aircraft will take to the sky in Cape Town from Tuesday. The airborne data will be accompanied by a vast range of biodiversity-related field observations from vegetation surveys, measures of plant and water spectral reflectance, phytoplankton samples, recordings of bird and frog calls and environmental DNA.

“BioSCape is a unique and exciting project that will help reveal new insights about the biodiversity of one of the most diverse regions on Earth and provide new tools for mapping and monitoring it,” said Dr Jasper Slingsby, the South African Lead Scientist and Lecturer at the University of Cape Town. “This information will be essential for supporting effective biodiversity conservation and management strategies for the region.”

“BioSCape will also benefit the world by improving our understanding of biodiversity and facilitate the development of new technologies to monitor and manage nature’s contributions to people, as well as help us to better understand the impacts of climate change on biodiversity,” adds Dr Slingsby.

“The National Research Foundation, through its South African Environmental Observation Network (NRF-SAEON) business unit, is proud to be a leading partner in BioSCape,” said Dr Mary-Jane Bopape, NRF-SAEON Managing Director. “This cutting-edge project is a testament to the world-class biodiversity research that is being conducted in South Africa. We are committed to contributing to the collection of data and using the information generated by BioSCape to inform environmental management decisions in the region. An added benefit for us during the main collection period is that the NRF-SAEON Graduate Student Indibano will host some of the BioScape scientists as keynote speakers and workshop presenters, which will serve as a valuable platform for networking, knowledge exchange, and insights into cutting-edge research and tools.”

BioSCape is a collaborative project that brings together scientists from around the world to study the biodiversity of the Greater Cape Floristic Region. The project is committed to capacity building and education in South Africa, and it is expected to benefit the world by improving our understanding of biodiversity and developing new technologies for monitoring and managing nature’s contributions to people. Read more at

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