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SAEON provides research platform for Serbian scientists


From left: Dr Amani Saidi (SAEON), Prof Ante Vusic, Dusanka Krazik, Nikola Stojnik and Sonja Mudri (University of Novi Sad, Serbia), Johan Pauw and Beate Hölscher (SAEON).


Narcissus bulb fly (Merodon equestris). The objective of the field trip was to obtain scientific material of the genus Merodon in South African locations.

Beate Hölscher, Research Administrator, SAEON


Towards the end of last year, SAEON hosted four researchers from the Serbian LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research Network) who undertook a field trip to South Africa.

The visitors, who were all from the Department of Biology and Ecology at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia, are researching the genetics of a group of hoverflies (Diptera).

The objective of the field trip was to obtain scientific material of the genus Merodon, a group of small hoverflies, for a project entitled Phylogenetical relation between Mediterranean and South African species groups of genus Merodon (Diptera: Syrphidae).

Diversity hotspots

With more than 170 species known, Merodon is one of the largest hoverfly genera. There are two main diversity hotspots for Merodon -- the Mediterranean and South Africa.

While there is an abundance of published data for the Mediterranean region, South African species are known only from old museum collections. In order to understand the systematics and evolution of the genus, fresh specimens from South Africa were needed to get molecular characters.

Localities were selected based on data from museum collections, and consisted of the Kruger National Park, Drakensberg Mountains, Eastern Cape and Cape Town.

The expedition was led by Ante Vusic, Professor at the Faculty of Science, Department of Biology and Ecology. Other members of the team, from the same institute, were Nikola Stojnik, Assistant Director and Ornithologist, Dusanka Krazik, PhD student, and Sonja Mudri, Research Assistant.

International collaboration platform

The visit signifies the importance of the role played by SAEON in serving as a research platform that provides guidance and access for field research, and by co-ordinating the logistical planning of research-related needs.

“The visit by the Serbian visitors represented SAEON’s first cross-network LTER field research collaboration,” commented SAEON MD Johan Pauw, adding that SAEON looked forward to similar future international collaborations.

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