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Home What are we about? The science behind Iimbovane
The science behind Iimbovane
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The science behind Iimbovane Print
The Iimbovane Project hinges on monitoring ant diversity (variety of different kinds of ants) in different natural and modified (developed or transformed) landscapes, investigating how ant groupings change in space (between places) and over time (between seasons and years). Ants are collected twice per year using pitfall traps. Trapping takes place in March/April and October/November each year, periods during which ants are most active. The data collected will be used to get a general picture of ant species composition in the different biomes of the Western Cape Province (e.g. Nama karoo, fynbos, succulent karoo). This study will run for 10 years. 

Where we work
Transects of natural (undisturbed) sites have been established within the fynbos and karoo biomes to examine the effects of different rainfall patterns within each biome. This is because rainfall, in general decreases from west to east as one moves across South Africa from the fynbos into the karoo. The effects of additional habitat variables (e.g. temperature and vegetation structure that may differ from one sampling site to another) on ant diversity will also be assessed. The effects of disturbance on ant species composition will be assessed by sampling ants in both pristine and disturbed sites in different habitat types using a paired design. This means that there will be one site that has been disturbed in one way or another and very close by to this there will be a site with natural vegetation that has not been disturbed (known as control sites). Disturbed sites were mostly selected near schools that are participating in the project. Control sites, with the vegetation typical for the area, have been selected in nature reserves. Additional undisturbed sites that are positioned between the paired sites were selected to get a better coverage of the province and better representation of some typical habitat types.

Convention on Biological Diversity
This project will deal with several areas of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which South Africa is a signatory. These areas include Identification and Monitoring, In situ Conservation, and Research and Training. In South Africa's second report to the CBD it is made clear that insects are still poorly monitored in South Africa. Ants, which are being used in this project, have been successfully used in biodiversity monitoring programmes and as indicators of environmental change in many studies worldwide.