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UMP's reservoir facilitating innovative research – University of Mpumalanga (UMP) reservoir that quietly winds its way from the Earth Fill dam, meandering through the heart of the Mbombela campus, has captured the attention of BSc Honours Ecology student, Nozipho Madonsela to conduct her research investigating algal bloom. Madonsela's academic pursuit addresses a pressing global concern: water pollution. With the world grappling with the mounting challenge of securing clean and sufficient water resources, her focus centres on the reservoir. Here, she meticulously studies the fluctuations in algal biomass, intricately linked with the dynamics of nutrients. Having already achieved a BSc in Environmental Science, Madonsela's commitment is unwavering. She holds a strong interest in deciphering water quality intricacies and tracing pollution sources within freshwater ecosystems – an interest that fuels her drive for an in-depth BSc Honours research project. Read more


UMP and SANBI Advance Research Collaboration: The University of Mpumalanga (UMP) is delighted to significantly advance its research collaboration with the SA National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). The full SANBI Board and its Executive visited Mbombela Campus and had an engagement dinner celebrating the multi-year, high-level joint futures on research platform sharing, advanced capacity development, and focussed research. Acknowledgments to the SANBI Chair and Deputy-Chair Prof Edward Nesamvuni and Beryl Ferguson, CEO Shonisani Munzhedzi, Chief Director Prof Ramagwai Sebola; and UMP Leaders Prof Funso Kutu, Acting Dean Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Prof Dan Parker, Research Principal, Dr. Katherine Forssman and Dr. Woudi Von Solms (Task team leaders), and outstanding MSc students: Aquatic Systems Research Group student Elsie Nomcebo Leshaba and Lindokuhle Gumede. #DecadeofExcellencePost from UniMpumalanga Facebook Page

Long-term rewards for UMP's top achiever – University of Mpumalanga (UMP) PhD student, Masimini Stanford Nkosi graduated cum laude (75%) with an MSc degree at the eighth graduation ceremony held at the Mbombela campus recently. Nkosi, originally from the village of Dludluma in Nkomazi, is a recipient of the Vice-Chancellor Scholarship and is currently pursuing a PhD at UMP. “I feel incredibly grateful to have been raised by my grandmother under humble circumstances. Growing up on a farm and being raised by my grandmother, I developed a deep fascination for agriculture, animals, and science. My natural curiosity and constant desire to seek new knowledge serve as my inspiration," expressed Nkosi. Read more

University of Mpumalanga May 2023 Graduation: We celebrate three of MSc (Pamella Busiswa Zantsi, Fannie Mfaniseni Masina, Masimini Stanford Nkosi), three Postgraduate Diploma (Nelisiwe Ngomane, Nothando Nombuso Themba, Thembi Whitness Khoza), one Advanced Diploma (Dion Mebu) and one BSc Agriculture (Kholofelo Christina Makhubupetsi) students who graduated on the 12th of May 2023. Congratulations, graduates! You have worked tirelessly to reach this momentous achievement, and your hard work and dedication have paid off. Today, you stand on the threshold of a new and exciting chapter in your life, filled with endless possibilities and opportunities. Remember to stay true to yourself and your passions, and to always pursue what truly makes you happy and fulfilled. Life is too short to settle for anything less than what you truly desire, so don't be afraid to take risks and explore new avenues. Finally, always remember to show gratitude to those who have supported and encouraged you throughout your journey. Whether it be family, friends, or mentors, they have played an important role in your success and will continue to do so in the future. Congratulations once again, graduates! The future is bright, and we can't wait to see the amazing things you will accomplish.

OPEN POSITION - Freshwater Postdoctoral Fellow. We are seeking a highly motivated and skilled postdoctoral researcher to join our interdisciplinary team studying freshwater ecology. The successful candidate will have a PhD in Ecology, Environmental Science, Zoology or a related field, and a strong background in Freshwater Ecology. To apply, please submit a cover letter, CV, and contact information for three professional references to Group Leader – Dr Tatenda Dalu: For more information about the post please feel free to contact me since research projects need be framed from either a fundamental or an applied scientific angle. My research group (Aquatic Systems Research Group) at School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Mpumalanga (SA), offers a wide range of opportunities to develop research projects, from data-based and synthesis projects that can be conducted remotely to experimental and practical investigations involving laboratory and field work. Preference will be given to fellows already in South Africa due to visa challenges. We are an equal opportunity employer and welcome applications from candidates of all backgrounds. DEADLINE: 30 April 2023

UMP recognises academic excellence. The awards are considered as an important mechanism to achieve the institution’s engaged vision, strategic goals and objectives, and to give recognition and reward for excellence in the performance of this core function. The key objective of the awards is to encourage excellence in engagement and an academic/scholarship-based model for engagement amongst emerging and established academics and support staff, and encourage research in engagement, and engaged research. Read more

UMP student living positively with disability. Ngomane was not born with a disability. Her story of triumph began shortly after graduating from high school. “I slept one night and woke up the next day unable to get out of bed; my entire right side (upper and lower limps) was paralysed. "I was hospitalized for several months and used a wheelchair while also going to therapy, which helped me to start believing in myself. I soon realised that I couldn't change the situation, but could live with it, that's when I decided to return to school and follow my dreams of becoming a nature conservationist.” Read more

Innovative young researcher wants to contribute to global transformation. Munyai, who is also part of the research team (HRATE) that has been appointed by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform: Land Claims Commission to investigate the Land claim across South Africa, wants to provide solutions and mitigation measures to environmental problems. He has contributed to land claim research reports for provinces across the country as a GIS researcher, and is keen on academic research as he believes that research provides solutions to existing community challenges and drives sustainability within societies. Read more

Nombuso Themba

Celebrating one of our very own ... Miss Nothando Nombuso Themba a Postgraduate Diploma student at the University of Mpumalanga and a member of Aquatic Systems Research Group (ASRG) has been selected to participate at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Makhanda, Eastern Cape Summer School 2022 running from the 5-8 December 2022 in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The Summer School is for undergraduate (2nd and 3rd year) and postgraduate (Honours) students, who have an interest in continuing to post-graduate levels in the field of Aquatic Biodiversity. The numbers are limited to maximum of 10 applicants. Congratulations and represent us well. Read more

Water scarcity poses significant health hazards for Mpumalanga communities: South Africa is experiencing a water shortage and this in addition to the acid mine drainage challenges, present a significant threat to human health. Mpumalanga communities are at the risk of contracting waterborne diseases from streams that are poisoned by acid mine drainage and toxic chemicals, says University of Mpumalanga lecturer, Dr Tatenda Dalu. Dr Dalu, who has experience in aquatic ecology, environmental quality monitoring, biodiversity and conservation, says creating a global science-policy interface platform should be a priority to ensure minimal to zero-emission of emerging contaminants to protect the health of freshwater ecosystems.

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UMP research recognised - From fresh start to humble beginnings: : For an institution that opened its doors less than a decade ago, the University of Mpumalanga (UMP) has set itself quite a lofty goal — to be a continental leader in knowledge generation and dissemination, and a university that creates opportunities for sustainable development through innovation. Professor Thoko Mayekiso, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mpumalanga, says that despite this high bar, UMP is not just reaching this target — it’s overshooting it! Read more

National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Awards 2022 Finalist: The University of Mpumalanga’s Dr Tatenda Dalu was nominated as a finalist for 2021/2022 NSTF-South 32 Awards as a recognition of his outstanding contribution to science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation in SouthAfrica. Dr Dalu was nominated for two categories namely: TW Kambule-NSTF Award:Emerging Researcher and NSTF-Water Research Commission Award. Dr Dalu is recognised for his research and contribution towards achieving sustainable water management, knowledge generation and solutions with demonstrated leadership and impact. The University of Mpumalanga congratulates and is proud of Dr Dalu’s research achievements in pursuit of our Vision of being An African University leading increasing opportunity for sustainable development through innovation. As a new University, UMP has identified research focus areas that are linked to one or more Sustainable Development Goals and are of relevance to the Mpumalanga province, SouthAfrica, and the African continent.

Emerging Freshwater Pollutants: Water is an essential source of life and is one of the most vulnerable environmental compartments. Consequently, water pollution has become a matter of utmost interest and concern worldwide, including in South Africa.Polluted water, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), is water of which the composition has been changed to the extent that it is unusable. It is toxic and not fit for human consumption or used for essential purposes like agriculture, and which also causes diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever and poliomyelitis. Read more

Potential new postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows can apply for the following bursaries/scholarships to join ASRG at the University of Mpumalanga. Please get in touch with Dr Tatenda Dalu to discuss potential projects before applying for the bursaries:

1.   The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Scholarship [MSc, PhD, Postdoc]: Deadline 30 September

2.  The National Research Foundation Bursaries [BSc Hons, MSc, PhD, PostDoc]. Deadline 20 November. Note MSc, PhD, Postdoc applications close early i.e., 08 July (MSc, PhD), 6 May (PostDoc)

3.    Department of Forest, Fisheries and the Environment  [Diploma,BSc Hons, MSc, PhD]. Opens End of September
Also follow for more bursary/scholarship opportunities

Fundamentals of Tropical Freshwater Wetlands: From Ecology to Conservation Management, 1st Edition - November 18, 2021 (copyright 2022). [Editors: Tatenda Dalu, Ryan J Wasserman]. Fundamentals of Tropical Freshwater Wetlands: From Ecology to Conservation Management is a practical guide and important tool for practitioners and educators interested in the ecology, conservation and management of wetlands in tropical/subtropical regions. The book is written in such a way that, in addition to scientists and managers, it is accessible to non-specialist readers. Organized into three themed sections and twenty-three chapters, this volume covers a variety of topics, exposing the reader to a full range of scientific, conservation and management issues. Each chapter has been written by specialists in the topic being presented. The book recognizes that wetland conservation, science and management are interlinked disciplines, and so it attempts to combine several perspectives to highlight the interdependence between the various professions that deal with issues in these environments. Within each chapter extensive cross-referencing is included, so as to help the reader link related aspects of the issues being discussed. Get your own copy from ELSEVIER and other selected retail outlets such as Amazon, Lehmanns,, Play.Google

Frontiers in Environmental Science: Freshwater Science special issue on Freshwater Science in Africa [Editors: Dr Frank O Masese, Francis O Arimoro, Dr Tatenda Dalu, Dr Gretchen M Gettel]. This Research Topic focuses on the unique potential of the Freshwater Science of the African continent, as well as highlighting niche freshwater communities located predominantly or exclusively in Africa. The main purpose of this research topic is to bring together expert research on African freshwater science by scientists from both within and outside Africa, and thereby, bring attention to the contribution of African freshwater science to the global freshwater community. This collection of articles will be useful in promoting wider collaboration and networking among freshwater scientists conducting research in Africa. Read more

Takudzwa Madzivanzira

Congratulations to our new ASRG Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Takudzwa Madzivanzira for winning the 2021 National Research Foundation Research Excellence Award for Next Generation Researchers. Dr Takudzwa Madzivanzira’s research focuses on the impact of non-native crayfish in sub-Saharan Africa. This is a particularly daunting area as invasive crayfish, while negatively impacting native species and ecosystems, also have a food value for regional communities. His work combines both blue-sky elements on the broad-scale nature of biotic invasion, as well as highly practical and tangible benefits, such as developing optimised catch methods.​ See NRF website for detailed information

MSc and PhD Candidates recruited under the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) and Biodiversity in the Khakea/Bray Transboundary Aquifer project, funded by JRS Biodiversity Foundation and Implemented by SADC Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) in collaboration with a team of independent research scientists from the Aquatic Systems Research Group (ASRG), University of Venda and University of the Free State’s Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS). Read more


SADC-GMI implements the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) and Biodiversity in the Khakea/Bray Transboundary Aquifer. Groundwater plays an important role in sustaining below-ground and above-ground aquatic ecosystems. However, there is limited data that demonstrates the relationship between groundwater and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) to inform the sustainable management of the GDEs. Biodiversity data specific for Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems is hardly available in the SADC region. There is a knowledge gap in the understanding of the dynamics of the integrity/sustainability of the GDEs and the variations in the Groundwater systems. Read more

Aquatic invasive species cause damage worth billions of dollars: First global study on economic costs of aquatic invasive species published. The global movement of goods and people, in its modern form, has many unwanted side effects. One of these is that animal and plant species travel around the world with it. Often they fail to establish themselves in the ecosystems of the destination areas. Sometimes, however, due to a lack of effective management, they multiply to such an extent in the new environment that they become a threat to the entire ecosystem and economy. Thousands of alien species are currently documented worldwide. A quarter of them are in highly vulnerable, aquatic habitats. Read more about story

Why the Kruger Park is demolishing artificial water sources: Years of artificial water sources in the park have led to a number of ecological problems and landscape degradation. Strategically placed boreholes to cope with fluctuating rainfall patterns were first constructed in the Kruger National Park (KNP) as early as 1927. Now it is a programme the park is seeking to destroy. This is because scientists and conservationists have discovered that years of artificial water sources in the park have led to a number of ecological problems and landscape degradation. The project began in 1930, continuing until 1990. Boreholes, water troughs, concrete reservoirs and dams were constructed throughout the park to ensure all animals had access to water. Read more about project

SOUTHERN AFRICA DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY – GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE (2020), Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) and Biodiversity in the Khakea/Bray Transboundary Aquifer: Groundwater plays an important role in sustaining below-ground and above-ground aquatic ecosystems. However, there is limited data that demonstrate the relationship between groundwater and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) to inform the sustainable management of the GDEs. In southern Africa, little research has been undertaken to delineate GDEs, assess their interactions with groundwater, or understand the impacts of anthropogenic changes to the groundwater systems. There is also a lack of biodiversity data specific to GDEs, as well as a lack of joint management of the transboundary aquifers in southern Africa. Read more about project

On the move: I have recently joined the School of Biology and Environmental Sciences at the University of Mpumalanga (Nelspruit, South Africa) with effect from 1 January 2021 as a Lecturer in Water Management. Looking forward to the exciting new post.

What's new in 2020: Excited to have joined the Editorial Board of Environmental Advances and also become Review Editor for Frontiers in Water - Water Quality

2020 Young African Researcher Award - Am super excited on winning the 2020 Young African Researchers Award, announced by the President of the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) of Egypt. The award is in recognition my authenticity and quality of scientific research in the field of Water, Energy and Environmental Sciences. see PDF

Iso Lomso

Third Iso Lomso cohort of Fellows announced. The STIAS Research and Fellowship Programme Committee recently concluded its selection of the Iso Lomso cohort of fellows for 2019. Seven candidates were offered the prestigious three-year fellowship at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. They join the first cohort of five candidates and the second cohort of seven candidates to constitute the current STIAS Iso Lomso fellows. Read more

Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists Bronze Medal Winner 2016: I was recently awarded the Southern African Society for Aquatic Scientists Bronze Medal 2016 at the yearly conference held at Skukuza, Kruger National Park (South Africa: 26-30 June). Many thanks to my best buddie, friend and work colleague Dr Ryan J Wasserman (insert) for nominating me for the award. See Link on story and SASAqS website.

Lovenula Male

FEATURED ARTICLE: A new species of copepod collected near Grahamstown has just been described (see published article by Saurez-Morales, Wasserman, Dalu 2015 in Crustaceana. Despite Grahamstown being a hotspot for Southern African aquatic biodiversity research, this little crustacean had managed to fly under the radar and avoid attention until recently. In June 2014, research collaborators from South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) and Rhodes University collected copepods from a temporary (ephemeral) pond on a farm just outside Grahamstown. Immediately suspecting that the species had not been described, samples were sent to Dr Eduardo Suárez-Morales, a freshwater copepod specialist based at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur in Mexico. The copepod was identified as belonging to the group “Paradiaptomus” and the genus “Lovenula”. The new species was named Lovenula raynerae Saurez-Morales, Wasserman, Dalu 2015, after Dr Nancy A Rayner for her outstanding contributions to the taxonomical knowledge of this particular group of copepods. Perhaps the most striking thing about Lovenula raynerae is its size (4 - 5 mm long). It is among the world’s largest freshwater copepods, and is likely the largest of all African copepods. See featured research on El Colegio De La Frontera Sur, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and Water Wheel Magazine (July-August Issue, 2015) websites for more information on the recently discovered biggest known African freshwater copepod Lovenula raynerae Saurez-Morales, Wasserman, Dalu 2015.

Emerging River Professional Award (ERPA) Finalist: I was named a finalist for 2017 Emerging River Professional Award (ERPA) sponsored by Ocean a Gold Corporation presented by the International Water Centre Alumni Network (IWCAN) and International River Foundation (IRF) on 19 September 2017 during the River Symposium and Environmental Flows Conference in Brisbane, 18-20 September 2017. Read more

Water Wise: TATENDA DALU, 31, published his first scientific article after completing a BSc honours degree at the University of Zimbabwe. Read full story on Rhodos, page 25. Special acknowledgement and thank you from the Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University Dr Sizwe Mabizela for my incredible research output over the course of the year. 

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) and Biodiversity in the Khakea/Bray Transboundary Aquifer: Groundwater plays an important role in sustaining below-ground and above-ground aquatic ecosystems. However, there is limited data that demonstrate the relationship between groundwater and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) to inform the sustainable management of the GDEs. In southern Africa, little research has been undertaken to delineate GDEs, assess their interactions with groundwater, or understand the impacts of anthropogenic changes to the groundwater systems. There is also a lack of biodiversity data specific to GDEs, as well as a lack of joint management of the transboundary aquifers in southern Africa. Read more about project

​Check out these AMAZING bird pics from #BlackBirdersWeek!! Just a handful compiled by JoAnna (@JoAnnaScience). Follow her tag @JoAnnaScience for more on #BlackBirdersWeek. To see some cool pictures of birds by fellow black birders, follow the Link

Fighting for the conservation of even the less-charismatic species – Fellows’ seminar by Tatenda Dalu. Fighting for the conservation of even the less-charismatic species – Fellows’ seminar by Tatenda Dalu “Tourists don’t pay to see a crab,” said Tatenda Dalu of the Department of Ecology and Resource Management at the University of Venda. “Charismatic animals – like the big five – tend to receive the focus of conservation activities due to the tourist dollars they attract. Often the vital ecological role of the smaller organisms is ignored – for example, dragon flies are now used as important water-quality indicators. We only notice when there’s a crisis – like currently with the bee population. Crabs, especially the freshwater varieties, – no one knows much about them and their important ecological role is therefore overlooked.” Read more

Dr Tatenda Dalu receive the Zimbabwe Achievers Academic Excellence Award. University of Venda Senior Lecturer Dr Tatenda Dalu is also in line to receive an Honorary Academic award for his work and research projects on environmental pollution and conservation within aquatic ecosystems. Read story on Nehanda Radio, New Zimbabwe and ZimAchievers

Top Scholars in South Africa Honoured. Twenty of the country’s leading scholars and scientists were inaugurated as Members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) at the annual Awards Ceremony on 10 October 2018. As the official Academy of South Africa, ASSAf has as core function to honour the country’s most outstanding scholars by electing them to Membership of the Academy. ASSAf Members are drawn from the full spectrum of disciplines. Read more

Studies from Africa are treated with disrespect‚ say South African academics. The academic old boy network must fall‚ Africans say in the August edition of the South African Journal of Science. Staff from Unisa and the University of Venda said international scientific journals were still guided by the legacy of imperialism and colonialism‚ meaning contributions from the Global South — particularly Africa — were treated with disrespect. “The stains of the colonial legacy still seem to manifest in the international publishing arena‚” said Mwazvita Dalu and Ashley Gunter‚ from Unisa’s geography department‚ and UV ecologist Tatenda Dalu.  Read more from the TimesLIVE, BusinessLive and listen SAfm 104-107 podcast

Diatom of the month - December 2017: Water quality monitoring challenges by Luca Marazzi. Although water quality monitoring programmes extensively use diatoms in North America and Europe, this is not the case (yet) in emerging and developing countries. Dalu and Froneman (2016) reviewed diatom-based monitoring in sub-Saharan Africa, concluding that (i) much more training of new experts and financial resources to buy microscopes and identification guides are required to make the most of the ecological indicator properties of these algae; (ii) a stronger focus should be placed on multidisciplinary projects to quantify diatom species tolerances and ecological requirements and (iii) the extensive taxonomic literature (see Fig. 1) needs to be made more widely available, for example online. Read more