Joshua Weeber Wins Best Presentation at 2023 SEEC Student Symposium

03 Jun 2024
joshua and frog
03 Jun 2024

Each year, SEEC provides a platform for students to present their cutting-edge research at the SEEC Student Symposium, fostering a collaborative environment for emerging scientists to share their work and contribute to crucial environmental discussions.

The 2023 SEEC Student Symposium saw remarkable presentations from emerging researchers, with the award for best presentation going to Joshua Weeber, a PhD candidate from the University of Cape Town and the South African National Biodiversity Institute. A conservation herpetologist at the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Weeber captivated the audience with his in-depth study on the occupancy dynamics of the Table Mountain Ghost Frog tadpoles.

The award-winning presentation highlighted Weeber’s work in assessing the extinction risk of South Africa's reptiles and amphibians, identifying conservation strategies and research priorities for these groups. His PhD research focuses on understanding the ecology and associated threats to the Table Mountain Ghost Frog, a species integral to South Africa's biodiversity. By investigating the occupancy dynamics of these elusive tadpoles, he aims to inform and enhance conservation actions.

Reflecting on his experience at the symposium, Weeber emphasized the potential for conservationists to significantly improve their impact by adopting more complex and structured statistical approaches. He attributed his win to the compelling visuals of beautiful frogs included in his presentation, which undoubtedly captivated the audience. "It was amazing and humbling to see all of the incredible work happening at SEEC," he remarked.

Ghost Frog
Table Mountain Ghost Frog by Joshua Weeber

The success of his presentation was also a testament to the support and guidance from his supervisors, Res Altwegg, Krystal Tolley, and Jeanne Tarrant, whose expertise and mentorship have been invaluable throughout his research journey.

A short film about the broader project was shared, providing a deeper insight into the significance of Weeber’s research and the conservation efforts surrounding South Africa's unique amphibian species.

The SEEC Student Symposium continues to be a platform for fostering innovation and excellence in environmental science, and this year's event was no exception, showcasing groundbreaking research that promises to drive impactful conservation strategies.