Friday, June 19, 2015

BIM Honours Assignments for 2015

Hi BIM Honours Students

Welcome to the BIM Honours Blog 2015.

On this blog we will put up notification of what we expect you will be doing and what we expect you to prepare for when we meet.

We will be meeting all day on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and  have a presentation of your rsearch proposal on  a Friday.  The venue will be the GIS Lab.

The First week is devoted to planning the laboratory experiments to test the validity of our ecological niche models, then  we will run the course for four weeks  The last two weeks are for preparation of the final research paper so there will not be any lectures during that period.

Note that many of the posts in this blog will refer to the main BIM Honours Blog which you can regard as a general course resource while these posting on FaceBook will contain the details and dates specific to 2015.

There is a main blog with overall course structure and links are here and will contain all the main resources for the Biodiversity Information Management BIM Honours Course as delivered in 2015.

In the next few FaceBook postings I will put up details of what you must prepare for assignments for 2015 and general project resources.

The main difference this year is we will have a more aquatic focus and will  examine the invasive potential of freshwater fish  species.  Invasive freshwater fish species represent a massive management problem and our expensive to eradicate.  

Here is the list of assignments which will be expected to complete for this course. The list includes a short description, percentage of the total course mark and  the deadline for each assignment.

Your final and main assignment (summative assessment) will be a research paper on the invasive potential of a species of your choice.

You will naturally be getting more information about these assignments and what is expected of you as the course develops.

Formative Assessment

Assignment 1: Electronic Concept Map linking a glossary for terms specific to Biodiversity Information Management
10% of total mark
End of the sixth week of the course

Assignment 2: Data Portal review e.g., Fishbase, Algae base, etc
10% of total mark
Friday end of second week

Assignment 3: Using the Biodiversity GIS Information portal for Landuse Decision Support
10% of total mark
Friday end of third week

Assignment 4: Presentation of Expert System for your chosen invasive fish species
10% of total mark
Friday end of fourth week

Summative Assessment

Assignment 5: Present Research proposal - Species Invasive Potentail
20% of total mark
Friday end of fifth week

Assignment 6: Research paper on the invasive potential of your chosen species
40% of total mark
At the end of the course

Information on the Project
You will develop Ecological Niche Models and test  them with fish at different thermal limits of  a bio-climatic envelope in our labs.  Each student will select a live-breeder for the main study and an egg layer for the second species.  
Live bearers:

Guppies, Poecilia reticulata (they are breeding in the one tank at 27C)
Mollies, Poecilia sphenops
Platies, Xiphophorus maculatus
Swordtails, Xiphophorus helleri
Endler's livebearer, Poecilia wingei

On Friday's class you were allocated one of these

Mosquito fish Gambusia affinis are also in this group but they are already on the banned list.  Doug will run this in class for you.

I will discuss taxonomic issues  using the Cherry shrimps Neocaridina heteropoda (they are breeding in the one tank at 27C) and why ornamentals (plants and fish) are a major management issue.

We need to set three tanks up for each species at 18C, 24C and 30C.  This is 12 tanks.  They shpould be identical and we will group according to water temperature.

In the second part we will look at methodologies for egg laying species.  This is the list of egg layers and they are all available locally  and legally, but I am of the opinion all represent an  invasion risk  within  South African freshwater systems and even our local rivers are at risk:

Egg layers

Rio Tetra in SA (but called Buenos Aires Tetra everywhere else) Hyphessobrycon anisitsi
Zebra Danio Danio rerio
White Cloud Mountain Minnow Tanichthys albonubes
Peppered Corydora Corydoras paleatus

Like for the Cherry shrimp I will look at taxonomic issues with respect to Odessa Barb Pethia padamya 

Here is a list of  other  cold-water and potentially invasive freshwater fish species that could even potentially invade our Western Cape river systems.
I also know that the Pencilfish  Nannostomus beckfordi  can breed at 18C (tank on the fifth floor BCB department. 

This year the SANBI post-doc Doug Hairbottle will assist in the course and thanks for setting up the BIM Honours Face Book group.


Rich and Doug

Monday, May 6, 2013

BCB Honours BIM Blog

Hi BIM Fantatics

This is the blog for which will contain all the main resources for the Biodiversity Information Management BIM Honours Course.

Please go to the BCB Honours BIM 2014 blog for notices and schedules for the 2014 course.