SAAB Webinar Programme 2021

20 January:   Dr. Blair Cowie (saab Bronze medal winner 2021):

Famine Weed: Understanding the invasion and controls

Recording available here:

27 January:  Prof. Timm HofFman (SAAB silver medal winner 2021):

Rethinking catastrophe. Historical trajectories and modelled future vegetation change in southern Africa.

Recording available here:

17 February:  Zaynab Shaik (SAAb best young scientist awardee 2020):

Unravelling the evolution of the Cape flora’s endless forms most beautiful: a next-gen approach.

Recording available here:

17 March: 

To be confirmed.

21 April:  Prof. Bob Scholes:

Taking an ecosystems view.

The science of ecology has always sat rather uncomfortably between the academic disciplines of botany, zoology, microbiology, geography, but the way the Earth System works is no respecter of university structures. The environmental challenges of the 21st century have forced both science and policy to raise their focus from the particular to the systemic, but very frequently our student training equips us inadequately for this change in perspective. What are the essential tools and concepts that have emerged over the past three decades that could help us to avoid dysfunctional futures?

Recording available here:

19 May:  Prof. Serban Proches:  

Webinar postponed to 26 May 2021 as it clash with a webinar from Prof William Bond at 17h00 on 19 May 2021. (Title: Beyond the forest edge: understanding open ecosystems)

Link to join Prof Bond’s webinar:

Prof. Serban Proches: 26 May 2021

Link to join zoom webinar:

Meeting ID: 934 1274 8395
Passcode: 847910

Global plant geography: Diversity patterns, kingdoms and biomes

The speaker explores our understanding of global patterns in the distribution of vascular plants, including aspects such as global hotspots of species, taxic and phylogenetic diversity, the delimitation of biomes and floral kingdoms, and the distinction between the two. The account covers historical and contemporary approaches, including some of speaker’s own contributions.

About the speaker: Prof. Şerban Procheş (UKZN)

Şerban Procheş is Professor of Biogeography at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus. He hails from Bucharest, Romania, where he did his undergraduate and Masters studies, following on with a PhD at UKZN.  Prof Procheş is particularly interested in ecological and evolutionary drivers of biogeography. He has explored such patterns across different taxa for South Africa with a special interest in the Cape Flora, but has also included other regions, both locally and globally. He has also published conceptual and applied research dealing with alien invasive plants. 

23 June:  Prof. Dr. Jake Alexander:  

Plant range expansions in mountains.

Dr. Alexander will be presenting research on non-native species from the MIREN network ( and on native species responding to changing climate. 


Drakensberg confetti: what drives flower colour variation in a mountain endemic?


Plant – pollinator interactions… Title to be confirmed


Can genomics predict population vulnerability to maladaptation under environmental change? Concepts, case studies, and cautions

Save the following dates – speakers to be confirmed

21 July

15 September