Béla Cholnoky: A history. Part 3

30 September 2012

This post continues the history of the Father of South African diatomology. This text was originally prepared by Dr Keve T Kiss of the Danube Research Station, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, in 1999, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Béla Cholnoky. This is the third of three parts.
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Béla Cholnoky: A history. Part 2

30 September 2012

This post continues the history of the Father of South African diatomology. This text was originally prepared by Dr Keve T Kiss of the Danube Research Station, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, in 1999, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Béla Cholnoky. This is the second of three parts.
Read more »

Béla Cholnoky: A history. Part 1

30 September 2012

This post continues the history of the Father of South African diatomology. This text was originally prepared by Dr Keve T Kiss of the Danube Research Station, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, in 1999, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Béla Cholnoky. The text is presented in three parts.
Read more »

Something to tweet about in aid of your environment – if you care

30 September 2012

Environmental issues don’t do well on social media platforms.  They’re not trendy or sexy enough, so trying to raise awareness about issues like water quality is frustratingly hopeless. Read more »

Lost in translation: South Africa’s diatom history

29 September 2012

Frontispiece of the Cholnoky text

Some decades ago a unique text was produced by the Hungarian diatomologist, Béla Cholnoky, working in South Africa – viz. CHOLNOKY BJ (1968) Die Ökologie der Diatomeen in Binnengewässern (published by J Cramer, Lehre).  Dr Cholnoky is internationally recognized as a pioneer of diatomology. This book contains not only the bulk of his diatom work but also exceedingly valuable and unique information on and descriptions of South African rivers, streams and wetlands “as they were” more than half a century ago -i.e. the elusive ‘reference condition’ against which anthropogenic impacts and changes can be measured.   Additionally, the work contains the ecological inferences that can be drawn from various assemblages of diatoms in rivers and streams. The index to this text is a veritable roadmap of South African locations – and the value of this historical information, for guiding strategic management decisions, should not be underestimated. Read more »

Ruth Patrick: A scientist way ahead of the game

29 September 2012

This post continues the history of South Africa’s Father of Diatomology, Béla Cholnoky.  Béla lived from 1899-1972.  A contemporary of his, Ruth Patrick (1907-  ) undertook a very similar path of work and discovery in the USA – with the exception that Dr Patrick’s work was highly-visible and influential of national and federal aquatic monitoring policies as long as half a century ago.  It is my belief – and that of my colleagues, that Dr Cholnoky would have sincerely wished for a similar outcome in South Africa.  Algology, however, has not ever held high value in scientific circles in this country and the value of diatoms was wilfully ignored by some who should have known better.

This post, with the kind permission of the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University (Philadelphia), provides a biography of Dr Patrick.  The Academy includes the Patrick Center for Environmental Research, a component of which is a diatom-focussed phycology unit, currently led by Dr Don Charles.  Dr Patrick turns 105 in November!

Obituary:  The inspirational and pioneering freshwater ecologist Ruth Patrick passed away recently at the age of 105!  Herewith a link to the BBC Last Word programme in which there is a informative clip on her life and abilities (about 12.5 minutes in).

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Béla Jenö Cholnoky: An Obituary

28 September 2012

Béla Cholnoky

This post continues the history of the achievements of the Hungarian diatomologist, Béla Cholnoky, known as The Father of South African Diatomology.  In this edition I have used the text of the obituary prepared by Dr Archie (R.E.M) Archibald, a diatomologist trained by Béla: Read more »

Upgrade of wastewater treatment plant shows just what can be achieved!

28 September 2012

Arlington County’s Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) in South Arlington, Va., is located on 35 acres of land squeezed into a commercial/residential neighborhood less than a mile west of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The facility treats flows from nearly all of Arlington. In addition, nearly 20 percent of the plant’s flow comes from neighboring localities such as Alexandria, Fairfax County, and Falls Church. Effluent from the plant is discharged into Four Mile Run to the south, which feeds into the Potomac River and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. Read more »

Béla Cholnoky: A giant amongst aquatic scientists

28 September 2012

Bela Cholnoky, one of the world’s greatest diatomologists

A still to be published chronology of aquatic science in South Africa lists several prominent individuals as pioneers in the development of this field.  There is, however, a glaring omission, this being the name of the Hungarian diatomologist, Béla Cholnoky. Read more »

War on phosphorus to start in Madison in 2013

28 September 2012

Madison, Wisconsin, will host the 2012 meeting of the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS), a group of which I am a member and the only Lake Manager outside of the continental USA accredited by this organization.  Madison’s Dane County has set new goals for cleaner lakes, by targeting phosphorus pollution as from 2013 – as part of a new Clean Lakes, Clean Energy budget announced yesterday. Read more »