|Researchers international leaders in satellite tracking in the wildlife environment |
Ground-breaking research has attracted international media attention to Francois Deacon, lecturer and researcher in the Department Animal, Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the UFS, and Prof Nico Smit, from the same department. They are the first researchers in the world to equip giraffes with GPS collars, and to conduct research on this initiative. They have been joined by Hennie Butler from the Department of Zoology as well as Free State Nature Conservation to further this research.
“Satellite tracking is proving to be extremely valuable in the wildlife environment. The unit is based on a mobile global two-way communication platform, utilising two-way data satellite communication, complete with GPS systems.
“It allows us to track animals day and night, while we monitor their movements remotely from the computer. We can even communicate with the animals, calling up their positions or changing the tracking schedules. Read more.
Water research aids decision making on national level
With water being a valuable and scarce resource in the central regions of South Africa, it is no wonder that the UFS has large interdisciplinary research projects focusing on the conservation of water, as well as the sustainable use of this essential element.
The hydropedology research of Prof Pieter le Roux from the Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences and his team at the UFS focuses on blue water. Blue water is of critical importance to global health as it is cleared by the soil and stored underground for slow release in marshes, rivers, and deep groundwater. The release of this water bridges the droughts between showers and rain seasons and can stretch over several months and even years. The principles established by Prof Le Roux, now finds application in ecohydrology, urban hydrology, forestry hydrology, and hydrological modelling.
The Department of Agricultural Economics is busy with three research projects for the Water Research Commission of South Africa, with an estimated total budget of R7 million. Prof Henry Jordaan from this department is conducting research on the water footprint of selected field and forage crops, and the food products derived from these crops. Prof Bennie Grové focuses on economically optimising water and electricity use in irrigated agriculture. Read more.
Qwaqwa Campus launches transdisciplinary Afromontane Research Unit
The Qwaqwa Campus will play a crucial role in fostering research in the under-researched area of the montane communities. This was revealed during the launch of the Afromontane Research Unit (ARU), the UFS flagship transdisciplinary research programme.
“This flagship programme has been in the making for about four years as our Qwaqwa Campus is set in a very interesting, unique, and mountainous place. The programme gained the momentum when the National Research Foundation (NRF) challenged each university to come up with their own single niche research area that would give them a unique research identity,” Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research, said during the launch.
”The Unit will develop the campus’s research capacity as we have already seen a huge increase in the research outputs by Qwaqwa staff. The campus already has seven scholars in the Vice-Chancellor's Prestige Scholars Programme (PSP), and there is notable excitement here. The Afromontane Research Unit will add to that research excitement as well,” she added. Read more
UFS venture cleans up acid mine drainage
South Africa is one of the most important mining countries in the world, beginning in the 1870s. Although the mining industry has been responsible for significant development and employment, it pollutes the environment and waters sources. Through the joint effort of a well-known mining company, the University of the Free State, and the Technology Innovation Agency (UFS/TIA) SAENSE Group, a new treatment for Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) has been developed.
The system treats the major contaminants found in acid mining wastewater effectively. Read more
Last updated: 12 August 2015 13:56