# Valley on South Georgia named after Nigel Leader-Williams
26th January, 2015
The Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has approved the name Leader Valley for British Use for a previously unnamed feature on the Barff Peninsula of South Georgia. The Valley is named after Professor Nigel Leader-Williams for his work on reindeer populations on South Georgia in the 1970s.
The description agreed by The Antarctic Place-Names Committee is for a feature located at 54o 20' 48'' S, 36o 18' 55'' W, and trending east from Sorling Valley Hut to Montebello Peak. The name has been added to the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Territory Gazetteer, and is available for use on all maps, charts and in all publications.
All the reindeer have recently been eradicated from the three areas of South Georgia where they had previously occurred (Leader-Williams, 1988). Meanwhile, eradication of the more extensive rat populations is ongoing. The aim of completely eradicating both the introduced rats and reindeer is to reverse their impacts on, and help the recovery of, South Georgia's native flora and fauna.
# Vacancy for a 12-month Lectureship in Human Geography
21st January, 2015
The Department is currently advertising a 12-month Lectureship in Human Geography, with a closing date of 12 February. Further information is available.
# Phil Gibbard awarded the James Croll Medal 2014
10th January, 2015
Professor Phil Gibbard was awarded the prestigious James Croll Medal 2014 by Quaternary Research Association at the 2015 Annual Discussion Meeting in Edinburgh on 6 January 2015. The medal, the Association's highest award, was given in recognition of Phil's outstanding contributions to the field of Quaternary Science. The award reflects Phil's broad-ranging and cutting edge research across glacial, periglacial and interglacial stratigraphy, and his outstanding contributions to national and international committees including the QRA, INQUA and the ICS' Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy.
# Nereus PhD studentship
7th January, 2015
Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship on the Nereus programme, with the topic of Mangroves, Fisheries and Community Livelihoods. Deadline for application is 4th February.
# The social risks of using drones for conservation
10th December, 2014
Drones are increasingly used to monitor habitat change and to catch poachers. But what might be the social implications of these activities, and could they undermine human rights and conservation objectives in the long term? Chris Sandbrook, the Lecturer in Conservation Leadership, was interviewed on this topic for the BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet series, first broadcast on Tuesday 9th December. You can listen to the interview, which starts about 20 minutes into the episode.
# David Stoddart (1937-2014)
1st December, 2014
The Department records, with great sadness, the death of David Ross Stoddart (1937-2014) on 23 November 2014. David was a member of the Department of Geography between 1956 and 1988 (exhibitioner at St. John's College 1956-1959; Demonstrator 1962-1967; University Lecturer 1967-1988) before taking up the Chair of Department and Professor of Geography, University of California at Berkeley 1988-1994 (Faculty 1988-2000; Emeritus 2000-2014). He was a graduate student of J.A. Steers, completing a Ph.D. on the Belize Barrier Reef in1964. David made significant contributions to methodology and philosophy in geography; coral reef geomorphology, ecology and reef island floristics; ocean basin biogeography; wetland ecology and sedimentology; and the history of coral reef science. There were also notable contributions to island conservation, most particularly in the saving of the raised limestone atoll of the now World Heritage Site-designated Aldabra Atoll, S.W. Indian Ocean for science.
David was an outstanding advocate for geography within the natural sciences; an exceptional leader of multi-disciplinary, logistically complex international expeditions; a commanding, effective (and amusing) lecturer; and an inspirational PhD supervisor, nurturing talent and setting the highest standards of postgraduate research; many of his students now hold prestigious academic positions in geomorphology in the UK, USA and Australia. In addition, he was the driving force behind the setting up of the quadrennial International Coral Reef Symposia, the first President of the International Society for Reef Studies and the first Co-ordinating Editor of the international journal Coral Reefs (Springer-Verlag).
His awards included: Officer of the Order of the British Empire (1979). Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2000). Ness Award (1965) and Founder's Gold Medal (1979), Royal Geographical Society; Livingstone Gold Medal (1981), Royal Scottish Geographical Society; Davidson Medal (2000), American Geographical Society; Darwin Medal (1988), International Society for Reef Studies; Herbert E. Gregory Medal (1986), Pacific Science Association; and Prix Manley-Bendall (1972), Institut Oceanographique de Monaco / Société Oceanographique de Paris.
# Professor of Geography vacancy
17th November, 2014
The Board of Electors to the Professorship of Geography (1993) invite applications for this Professorship, to take up appointment as soon as possible. Preference will be given to persons whose work is connected with Physical Geography. Candidates will have an outstanding research record of international stature in Physical Geography and the vision, leadership, experience and enthusiasm to build on current strengths in maintaining and developing a leading research presence.
# Does it help conservation to put a price on nature?
13th November, 2014
Putting a price on the services which a particular ecosystem provides may encourage the adoption of greener policies, but it may come at the price of biodiversity conservation. Writing in the journal Science, Professor Bill Adams of the Department argues that assigning a quantitative value to nature does not automatically lead to the conservation of biodiversity, and may in fact contribute to species loss and conflict.
# UCCRI student reports from Future Earth meeting
6th November, 2014
Following a global call for participants, Jasper Montana, a PhD student in the Department and the Conservation Research Institute was selected to attend the DIVERSITAS celebrations event in Spain last month. DIVERSITAS is an international programme of biodiversity science, established to address the complex questions posed by major environmental changes facing the planet. This event marked the closure of DIVERSITAS and its transition into the new Future Earth initiative.
Jasper's research focuses on the governance of biodiversity and, in particular, looks at the role of experts, institutions and policy support tools in securing the impact of biodiversity science. His reflection on the event and his interview with one of the participants on the legacy of DIVERSITAS are now both available on the Future Earth blog.
# The Ethnographic Experiment
4th November, 2014
On 4th November Tim Bayliss-Smith helped to organise the launch in St John's College of a recently published book entitled The Ethnographic Experiment: A. M. Hocart and W.H.R. Rivers in Island Melanesia, edited by Edvard Hviding and Cato Berg (Berghahn, Oxford, 2014). The book examines an expedition to Solomon Islands in 1908 led by William Rivers, who was a Cambridge psychologist, social anthropologist and, later on, a pioneer of psychoanalysis. Accompanying Rivers were two younger ethnologists, Arthur Hocart and Gerald Wheeler.
Tim and the other authors of this book argue that the three expedition's members were the true pioneers of the ethnographic methods that, following Bronislaw Malinowski (1922), became standard fieldwork practice for social anthropology. Their achievements have been overlooked because their career paths diverged and they never managed to fully publish their results, and because Rivers in particular was absorbed by other interests before his sudden death in 1922. In the First World War he helped to pioneer new therapeutic methods for soldiers suffering from 'shell-shock' involving neo-Freudian psychoanalysis. After 1919, when he returned to St John's College, he was diverted into theories of cultural diffusion that are now discredited, but popular at the time especially among German geographers and anthropologists. He also wrote about 'the psychological factor' in the depopulation of the Pacific islands, neglecting the 'germs' factor (sexually transmitted infections in particular) within the 'guns, germs and steel' triad of colonialism's negative impacts. As a result, 'the ethnographic experiment' of 1908 has never received its full recognition.
An article about the book in The Guardian has also been published.