There was an interesting insert on RSG radio this morning where they spoke to Dr Michelle van der Bank of University of Johannesburg. Her team in collaboration with a number of other scientists have been working hard in DNA bar coding many species of South African animals and plants which all forms part of the “Barcode for Life Database”
They started bar coding plant life in Kruger in 2006 and has just finished all the tree and shrub species, are well on their way to completing the grass species and must still do a lot of work on the smaller plant species.
Birders reading this will be familiar with the SABAP2 bird atlas project and then there are also butterfly, frog and some other atlassing projects currently being done. Based on this Dr van der Bank asked the ADU (Animal Demography Unit) to help set up a tree atlas project. This project is termed Virtual Tree Herbarium (ViTH).
People interested in trees and know trees should maybe check out the ViTH pages at the ADU Virtual Museum and register as Virtual Museum contributors. Go to the Virtual Museum website
and then click on the ViTH logo. The aim of the project is to try and compile distribution data of tree species in South Africa.
This might add a different twist to your next visit to one of the SANParks.