Dr John P Simaika
John has worked on the study of dragonflies since his undergraduate years, having been published early on in his career on the taxonomy and ecology of dragonflies. His work has mainly focused on using dragonflies as tools for biomonitoring and aquatic conservation and has had high and continued impact. John has also extensively explored the impact of flower density and diversity on pollinator diversity.
During his MSc, John started work on the Dragonfly Biotic Index (DBI) and continued this work for his PhD research. The DBI is a habitat integrity measure, which is valuable for stream conservation and complementary to the South African Scoring System, a rapid biomonitoring method for streams and rivers. John’s MSc thesis also explored the controversial topic of challenging the way IUCN defines the concepts of ‘area of occupancy’ and ‘extent of occurrence’, and he clearly showed the impact that the large-scale mapping approach can have on aquatic invertebrate species mapping and spatial analysis, and ultimately the conservation of freshwater invertebrates.
John has authored and co-authored a number of publications and journals, including a practical freshwater assessment handbook, using the DBI, which was published by the South African National Botanical Institute. His work has had local, national and international impact, both academically and on a practical level. His papers which focus on the DBI have had a national and an international impact as they challenge the way that ‘traditional’ aquatic biomonitoring is done and thought about.