The Great Escarpment Biodiversity Programme (GEBP)
This programme is lead by Prof. Nigel Barker of the Botany Department, Rhodes University.
The GEBP arose as a consequence of a growing interest in the floristic and faunistic diversity of the mountains that make up the southern parts of the Great Escarpment - the Winterberg, the Amatolas, the Sneeuberg, Nuweveldsberge and Komsberg and Roggeveld. After considerable botanical field work by Ralph Clark towards his PhD, it became clear that we know almost nothing about the biodiversity of this very important series of mountains. To date we have discovered over 12 new plant species and numerous range extensions of both plants and animals.
This region is thus in urgent need of studies ranging from biodiversity inventories to population genetics. No less than three South African National Parks (SANParks) are located in these mountains, as well as numerous private nature and game reserves. The work of this programme is thus strongly conservation oriented, and we are working closely with SANParks and land owners in providing biodiversity and conservation-related information.
The number of scientific papers emerging from our work is growing. The current list (as of November 2012) is:
· Kok, A.D., Parker, D.M. & Barker, N.P. (2012). Life on high: The diversity of small mammals at high altitude in South Africa. Biodiversity & Conservation 21:2823–2843.
· Clark, V.R., Barker, N.P. & Mucina, L. (2012). Taking the scenic route - The southern Great Escarpment as part of the Cape to Cairo floristic highway. Plant Ecology &
Diversity 4: 313-328.
· Martínez-Azorín, M., Clark, V.R., Crespo, M.B., Dold, A.P. & Barker, N.P. (2011). The rediscovery of Albuca tenuifolia, an orophilous species from the eastern Great Escarpment in South Africa. Nordic Journal of Botany 29: 465-470.
· Clark, V.R., Barker, N.P., & Mucina, L. (2011). The Great Escarpment of Southern Africa: A new frontier for biodiversity exploration. Biodiversity & Conservation 20: 2543-2561.
· Stirton, C.H, Clark, V.R., Barker, N.P. & Muasya, A.M. (2011) Psoralea margaretiflora (Psoraleeae, Fabaceae): A new species from the Sneeuberg Centre of Floristic Endemism, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Phytokeys 5: 31-38.
· Clark, V.R., Barker, N.P., McMaster, C. & Mucina, L. (2011). The Boschberg (Somerset East, Eastern Cape) – A floristic cross-roads of the southern Great Escarpment. South African Journal of Botany 77: 94-104.
· Clark, V.R., Barker, N.P., & Mucina, L. (2011). A phytogeographic assessment of the Nuweveldberge, South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 77: 147-159.
· Clark, V.R., Barker, N.P., & Mucina, L. (2011). The Roggeveldberge – notes on a botanically hot area on a cold corner of the southern Great Escarpment, South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 77: 112-126.
· Clark, V.R., Barker, N.P. & Mucina, L. (2009). The Sneeuberg: A new centre of floristic endemism on the Great Escarpment, South Africa. S. Afr. J. Bot. 75: 196-238.
· Nordenstam, B., Clark, V.R., Devos, N. & Barker, N.P. (2009). Two new species of Euryops Cass. (Asteraceae: Senecioneae) from the Sneeuberg, Eastern Cape, South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 75: 145-152.
Current research projects associated with this programme include floristics, phylogeography and systematics.
- Please see the
Research Project tab for additional details.
This research is currently, or has been, funded by the National Research Foundation, Rhodes University Joint Research Council and the National Geographic Society, and there are limited NRF bursaries available at MSc and PhD level for work on both plants and animals. Please contact Prof. Barker to find out more in this regard.