Tony Verboom

Dr Tony Verboom is plant biologist whose research examines the ecology and evolution of the Greater Cape flora of South Africa. His research interests include diversification pattern and process, functional trait evolution, vegetation pattern and the assembly of communities and biotas. In addition, he actively researches the systematics and taxonomy of Cape plants, particularly in the families Asteraceae, Cyperaceae and Poaceae. Dr Verboom is based at the University of Cape Town, where he teaches a range of topics in ecology, evolution and systematics. To date he has authored or co-authored 64 journal articles and three book chapters, and he co-edited a multi-contributor book on the ecology and evolution of the Greater Cape biota

Alexandra D. Syphard

Dr. Syphard is a chief scientist at Sage Insurance Holdings LLC and serves as an affiliate of the Conservation Biology Institute and adjunct professor in Geography at San Diego State University. Alexandra is a research scientist who has spent more than two decades analyzing the ecological and social drivers and impacts of landscape change, particularly focusing on wildfire in Mediterranean ecosystems. Using a variety of mapping, statistical, and modeling approaches, Alexandra investigates how change has occurred in the past, how it is likely to occur in the future, and how different policy or management scenarios may impact ecological and social well-being. For the last decade, Alexandra has concentrated intensely on wildfire risk to communities and identifying the best approaches for balancing fire risk reduction with biodiversity conservation. Her research also focuses on the interactions among wildfire patterns, land use change and urban growth, climate change, vegetation dynamics and biodiversity, invasive species, and species’ range shifts.

Frank Schurr

Dr. Frank Schurr is an ecologist interested in the spatiotemporal dynamics of biodiversity. His research ranges from basic evolutionary ecology to applied conservation biology. A unifying theme is that he aims to improve the mechanistic understanding of biodiversity dynamics. To this end, he works on linking process-based models to experiments, field surveys and molecular data. While he worked on several Mediterranean-type ecosystems, a long-standing focus of his research is the South African Fynbos biome where he has studied Proteaceous shrubs for almost 20 years.

Janet Franklin

Dr. Janet Franklin is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Botany, University of California at Riverside where she has been since 2017. She was previously a Regent’s Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, as well as a Distinguished sustainability Scientist at Arizona State University where she was appointed in 2009. From 1988-2009 she was and Assistant, Associate and Full Professor on the faculties of Geography and Biology at San Diego State University. She received her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California – Santa Barbara in 1988. She specializes in Landscape Ecology, Global Change Biology, Conservation Biogeography, and Geographic Information Science. Franklin’s research is focused on in the patterns and dynamics of terrestrial (land) plant communities at the landscape scale. Her work addresses the impacts of human-caused landscape change on the environment.  Human land use — agriculture and urbanization — and other large-scale human impacts such as climate change, and the introduction of exotic species, often interact with natural disturbance regimes such as fire, flooding and hurricanes, to shape plant community dynamics in forests, shrublands, and other ecosystems. How resilient are ecological communities to these past, present and future impacts? She is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Ecological Society of America. She is an Associate Member, Centre for Coastal Paleoscience, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa. She has published over 150 refereed journal articles and has received research grants from NSF, NASA, the USDA Forest Service, and USGS. Her book Mapping Species Distributions: Spatial Inference and Prediction (Cambridge University Press) has been cited over 2000 times.

Wendy Foden

Wendy Foden is a conservation biologist who focuses on climate change adaptation. She led development of IUCN’s methodology for assessing climate change vulnerability of species, and its subsequent application to the world’s birds, amphibians, corals and lemurs. Dr Foden is based at South African National Parks where she leads the Cape Research Centre, a team carrying out applied research in Fynbos and Succulent Karoo biome parks. She is also preparing SANParks’ climate change preparedness strategy.  Dr Foden chairs the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Climate Change Specialist Group and recently won IUCN’s George Rabb award for her “innovative, dynamic and thoughtful leadership of SSC’s work on climate change”. She’s passionate about fostering conservation leadership, and continues her ongoing research on climate change impacts on Namib desert Quiver Trees.

Jaco Le Roux

Dr Jaco Le Roux is a plant biologist, broadly interested in the ecology and evolutionary biology of invasive species. His research traverses spatial and temporal scales, from studying the microevolutionary dynamics of populations to interpreting the biogeography of plant species. He also has a keen interest in understanding how plants interact with soil microbes. Over the last decade his group’s research in this field has focused on invasive Australian acacias (genus Acacia) and their symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Using this system, he aims to understand the role of mutualisms in facilitating the success of non-native legumes in Mediterranean-type ecosystems. His group also studies the impacts of invasive plants on native soil microbial communities and the consequences of these impacts for native plants. Dr Le Roux is affiliated with Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He is the author/co-author of 94 research papers and two book chapters.

Genevieve Pence

Dr. Genevieve Pence is a conservation planning, strategy and impact specialist based in Cape Town, South Africa. She spent the past 7 years working for CapeNature, the Western Cape’s provincial biodiversity authority, where she focused on developing biodiversity informants for land-use decision-making and protected area expansion. Using systematic conservation planning and spatial optimization tools, Genevieve creates user-friendly and cross-realm products for a range of purposes – from informing environmental authorisations to national strategic infrastructure projects. Her work and insights also inform biodiversity offset negotiations and protected area expansion planning. Gen continues to provide leadership, innovation and technical guidance within the field of biodiversity planning, and trains and coaches internationally in the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation.

Genevieve obtained an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and an undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont (USA). She grew up in the forests of Maine (USA) and worked for The Nature Conservancy as a conservation planner for five years before moving to South Africa where she has consulted extensively and worked in government as a biodiversity planning scientist. Gen has international experience in producing both spatial and strategic biodiversity plans, as well as facilitating planning processes – from project conception through monitoring and evaluation. She has consulted to TNC, WWF, Frankfort Zoologicial Society, Peace Parks Foundation, ICLEI, BirdLife South Africa, Conservation International, and the South African National Biodiversity Institute, among others. Gen and her husband designed and built their own low-carbon, off-the-grid home, where they currently live with their two daughters.

Roberto Salguero-Gómez

Dr. Salguero-Gómez is an associate professor in Ecology, a tutorial fellow and NERC independent research fellow at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. His research interests include:

  1. Demography: population responses to disturbances and climate change. Importance of buffering mechanisms for the maintenance of populations in stochastic environments. Demographic resilience. Transient dynamics
  2. Functional ecology: predictive power of functional traits for life history traits and population dynamics
  3. Ecophysiology and anatomy: Acquisition and allocation of belowground resources
  4. Biomolecular bases for the evolution and escape of senescence
  5. Comparative biology: macro-ecology, evolution of senescence, trait diversification, phylogenetic analyses
  6. Desert ecology: Non-linear effects of projected shifts in abiotic factors on biota
  7. Open-access, reproducible research
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