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Calling all students …


These people all contributed to the success of the first workshop organised by SAEON's Graduate Student Network in March last year - the Interim Committee of the Network, invited speakers, and the students themselves (Picture © SAEON)


The aim of the symposium is to promote interaction among young and established scientists in a range of environmental disciplines (Picture © Mitzi du Plessis)


The First Student Symposium will be held at the University of Cape Town from 11-13 September 2007 (Picture © UCT)

… in the environmental and information sciences, socio-economics, social studies, economics, public health and environmental education, whose studies are in line with the South African Environmental Observation Network’s objectives and activities. Join the SAEON Graduate Student Network (GSN) today! Visit for more information on the GSN, research opportunities and the 1st SAEON Student Symposium.

1st SAEON Student Symposium

The symposium will be held at the University of Cape Town (UCT) from 11 to 13 September 2007. The aim of the symposium is to promote interaction among young and established scientists in a range of environmental disciplines. It aims to provide a platform for students to share ideas, collaborate with one another and get a broader understanding of ecological research with an expanded context in which to view their own research. Students will be exposed to the importance of long-term environmental research, and shown how their work can be part of that framework.

The GSN hopes to showcase SAEON’s fynbos and coastal inshore node activities during the symposium.

Preliminary programme

  • Day 1
    Plenary lecture followed by student talks and e-posters
  • Day 2
    Morning: Plenary lecture followed by student talks and e-posters
    Afternoon: Field trip to marine or fynbos area (Choice of one)
  • Day 3 - Full-day workshop
    Introduction to communication, presentation of ideas and facilitating breakaway sessions to workshop current problems faced by managers and researchers

Talks and posters

Student presentations will consist of presentations as well as e-posters. All students wishing to attend must submit an abstract. Abstracts most relevant to SAEON’s research aims will be selected for presentations or e-posters. Abstracts will be judged by the Head of SAEON, Mr Johan Pauw.

Abstracts will be accepted if the research ties in with SAEON’s research policy and aims. It is important that students include in their abstracts information as to how their research fits in with long-term environmental research and global change.

Students submitting the top 20 abstracts will be fully sponsored by SAEON to attend the symposium. A further 30 students whose abstracts are selected will have to pay a registration fee to attend the conference (further particulars will be circulated at a later stage).

List of key words

Climate change, global change, data management, environmental change, environmental education, rural, sociology, environmental information systems, biodiversity, Earth systems, ecosystems, social systems, livelihoods, agriculture, monitoring, long-term data series, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, rivers, hydrology, remote sensing, nutrient loading, land-use, ecology, primary production, floods, droughts, public health, industry, economics, human geography, geochemistry, groundwater, vulnerability, fisheries, network, National System of Innovation, societal change, multi-disciplinary, research platform, spatial variation, landscape, disturbance regimes, event-driven, site-based, freshwater, soils, sediments, ocean, coast, mountains, nutrients, base-line studies


Instead of the traditional poster approach, students are requested to present e-posters. An e-poster is a poster presented in electronic format (i.e. Powerpoint), thereby saving students the cost of printing and laminating. E-posters will still provide students with a platform to present their research to an audience.

The poster will be displayed as a slide, allowing it to be viewed by the audience. The speakers will then get four minutes each to present a brief summary of their research aims and key findings. The poster settings and size will be made available closer to the time.


Students are requested to adhere to the following guidelines when preparing their abstracts for an oral presentation or poster:

  • Oral presentations will be limited to 12 minutes
  • E-posters will be limited to 4 minutes
  • The abstract should have a clear connection to long-term research and global change (see list of key words)
  • Abstracts must be submitted directly to Musa, before the 30th June 2007
  • The abstract should be attached as a Microsoft Word or RTF file and the subject line must clearly state “Abstract student symposium”
  • Abstracts must not exceed 250 words
  • Include the title, your name and affiliation
  • Include a list of key words (not more than 10) at the end of your abstract

Please note that this symposium is open to members of the SAEON Graduate Student Network only.

To become a member, email Musa with your name, degree, institution, research title and a short (few lines) motivation on how your research fits into SAEON’s research aims.

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