We are a classic university start-up with our roots in academia. Academia allowed us to build our careers through gaining knowledge, valuable skills and an ability to think critically. It also exposed us to new tools and technologies. Gratefully, academia provided us with opportunities to explore remote parts of southern Africa that few get to experience, and most importantly ask questions. Our biggest question was - were we making a difference? We felt that the problems we were solving, were not those decision-makers and communities grappled with daily. At times, we felt that academia and industry lived in two separate worlds. The gap is massive in some cases (and smaller in others), but the opportunity to fill this gap was there. We wanted to apply ourselves to these real-world problems and fill the gap. Do applicable science, valuable for decision-makers while also maintaining academic integrity and making a difference.
Simply put, we are: a dynamic team of qualified ecologists and GIS professionals geared towards solving problems. Our passion: conservation, restoration, and sustainable development. Our focus: finding innovative and sustainable solutions that allow people, animals, and ecosystems to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Our goal: bridge the gap between science and industry. Our skills: sound scientific backgrounds, strong analytical skills, data science, and geospatial analyses. Our market: the public, private, and NGO sectors, including but not limited to: wildlife managers, conservationists, agricultural farmers, government, town planners, or property developers. Our ambition: education and skills development that benefit people and communities directly to move Africa forward.
To achieve this, we utilise a combination of a talented team, up to date technology, internationally acknowledged best practice methodologies, collaborative solutions and continued learning. We want to be your scientific team, your GIS team. We want to help you solve your problems and make better decisions.
Dr Pieter Olivier (B.Sc. Ecology; B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology; M.Sc. Zoology; PhD Zoology) is a landscape ecologist and restoration specialist. He has published widely on forest loss, forest biodiversity (specifically birds), ecosystem processes, and the restoration of degraded forest habitats. In this capacity, he acts as a specialist avifaunal and rehabilitation consultant for the private and public sectors. He has forged collaborations with the Forest Ecology and Conservation Group, Imperial College London as well as the School of Biology, University of Newcastle and is currently collaborating on projects that quantify forest ecosystem services in east and southern Africa, with a particular focus on solutions for small-holder farms. He was awarded an Innovation post-doctoral fellowship by the National Research Foundation (2014-2017) and an Ecologist in Africa grant by the British Ecological Society (2015). Pieter is registered as a Professional Natural Scientist (Pri. Sci. Nat) with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP no: 400119/17).
Andrew Purdon (B.Sc. Ecology; B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology; M.Sc. Zoology) is an ecologist and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist. Andrew has been engaged in the project design, development, and implementation of several conservation projects across Africa. Andrew has strong analytical skills that encompass remote sensing and the analyses of complex data sets. Through various projects, Andrew has obtained excellent communication skills by engaging with a wide range of stakeholders.
Michael Mole (B.Sc. Zoology; B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology; M.Sc. Zoology). In the past five years Michael has been engaged in the design and implementation of a number of conservation projects in southern Africa. He has also taken part in a research expedition to Marion Island where he focused on marine mammal research. He has extensive field work experience and analytical skills that encompass the collection and analyses of complex and large ecological data sets. His research interests include: large mammal ecology, behavioural ecology, remote sensing, and conservation.
Andrew Christie (B.Com. Entrepreneurship; B.Com. (Hons) Business Management). Over the last five years Andrew has spent an extensive amount of time in Southern and Eastern Africa developing mobile data capturing solutions to enable research analysis within the FMCG sector. During this time, he has deployed strategic route to market campaigns for industry leaders within these emerging markets, this included project design, training and implementation. Andrew now focusses on business development for M.A.P Scientific Services.
Power, J. & Olivier, P.I. (2019) Zoogeography of a South African province: a framework for management. African Journal of Ecology, 57, 198-211.
du Toit, K.H., Mole, M.A., Wege, M., Reisinger, R.R., Oosthuizen, C.W., Shihlomule, Y.D., Jordaan, R.K., van Tonder, A. & de Bruyn, P.N. (2019) Anomalous lanugo coat colourations in sub-Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus tropicalis) pups born on Marion Island. Polar Biology, 1-5.
Pfeifer, M., Boyle, M.J.W., Dunning, S. & Olivier P.I. (2018) Forest floor temperature and greenness link significantly to canopy attributes in South Africa’s fragmented coastal forests. PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.6190.
Purdon, A., Mole M.A., Chase, M.J. & van Aarde, R.J. (2018) Partial migration in savanna elephant populations distributed across southern Africa. Scientific Reports, doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-29724-9
Mole M.A., D'Áraujo S.R. & van Aarde R.J., Mitchell D., Fuller A. (2018) Savanna elephants maintain homeothermy under African heat. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 14, 1-9.
Rolo, V., Olivier, P.I. & van Aarde, R.J. (2018) Determinants of canopy gap characteristics in rehabilitating coastal dune forests. Applied Vegetation Science, doi 10.1111/avsc.12380.
Freeman M.T., Olivier, P.I. & van Aarde, R.J. (2018) Matrix transformation alters species-area relationships in coastal forests. Landscape Ecology, 33, 307-322.
Pfeifer M., Lefebvre V., Peres C.A., Wearn O.R., Marsh C.J., Banks-Leite C., Butchart S.H.M., Arroyo-Rodríguez V., Barlow J., Cerezo A., Cisneros L., D’Cruze N., Fariah D., Hadley A., Klingbeil B.T., Kormann U., Lens L., Medina-Rangel G.F., Morante-Filho J.C., Olivier P.I., Peters S., Pidgeon A., Ribeiro D.B., Scherber C., Schneider-Maunory L., Struebig M., Urbina-Cardona N., Watling J.I., Willig M.R., Wood E.M. & Ewers R.M. (2017) Global creation of forest edges has a near-universal impact on forest vertebrates. Nature.
Guldemond, R.A.R., Purdon, A. & Van Aarde, R.J. (2017). A systematic review of elephant impact across Africa. PLoS ONE doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178935.
Purdon, A. & Van Aarde, R.J. (2017). Water provisioning in Kruger National Park alters elephant spatial utilisation patterns. Journal of Arid Environments 141:45-51.
Robson, A.S., Trimble, M.J., Purdon, A., Young-Overton, K.D., Pimm, S.L. & Van Aarde, R.J. (2017). Savanna elephant numbers are only a quarter of their expected values. PLoS ONE 12(4): e0175942. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175942
Olivier, P.I. & van Aarde, R.J. (2017) The repsonse of bird feeding guilds to forest fragmentation reveal conservation strategies for a critically endangered African eco-region. Biotropica, 49, 268-278.
Olivier, P.I., Rolo, V. & van Aarde, R.J. (2017) Pattern or process? Evaluating the peninsula effect as a determinant of species richness in coastal dune forests. PLoS ONE, 12(4): e0173694.
Rolo, V., Olivier, P.I. & van Aarde, R.J. (2017) Tree and bird functional groups as indicators of recovery within regenerating subtropical coastal dune forests. Restoration Ecology, doi:1111/rec.12501.
Mole, M. A, Rodrigues D’Áraujo, S., van Aarde. R. J., Mitchell, D., Fuller, A. 2016. Coping with heat: behavioural and physiological responses of savanna elephants to heat. Conservation Physiology 4. 10.1093/consphys/cow044
Rolo, V., Olivier, P.I., & van Aarde, R.J. (2016) Seeded pioneer die-offs reduce the functional trait space of new-growth coastal dune forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 377, 26-35.
Rolo, V, Olivier, P.I., Guldemond, R.A.R. & van Aarde, R.J. (2015) Validating space-for-time substitution in a new-growth coastal dune forest. Applied Vegetation Science, 19, 235-243.
Olivier, P.I. & van Aarde, R.J. (2014) Multi-scale sampling boosts inferences from beta diversity patterns. Journal of Biogeography, 41, 1428-1439.
Olivier, P.I., Lombard, A.T. & van Aarde, R.J. (2013) The use of habitat suitability models and species-area relationships to predict extinction debts in coastal forests, South Africa. Diversity and Distributions, 19, 1353-1365.
Olivier, P.I., van Aarde, R.J. & Ferreira, S.M. (2009) Support for a metapopulation structure among mammals. Mammal Review, 39, 178-192.
Olivier, P.I., Ferreira, S.M. & van Aarde, R.J. (2009) Dung survey bias and elephant population estimates in southern Mozambique. African Journal of Ecology, 47, 202-213.