LMIC Meaker Visiting Professor Michael T. Davies-Coleman, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Natural and anthropogenic halocarbon emissions from the terrestrial and aquatic sources in the Cape Peninsula and their impact on climate and air quality
Dates of visit: 9 July - 1 August 2018

Profile picture of Professor Michael T. Davies-ColemanBiography

Professor Mike Davies-Coleman joined the University of Western Cape in June 2012 as the Dean of Natural Sciences. Professor Davies-Coleman moved to UWC from Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape where he was Professor of Organic Chemistry and a former Head of the Department. In addition to over two decades of experience teaching organic chemistry in the Department of Chemistry he also lectured for several years in the School of Pharmacy at Rhodes University at the beginning of his academic career. His research interests, while specializing in marine natural products chemistry, have encompassed synthetic organic chemistry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, marine invertebrate biology and taxonomy, microbiology, biochemistry and pharmacology. Professor Davies-Coleman is a B2 NRF-rated researcher and has supervised 23 MSc and PhD graduates in the fields of marine and plant natural products chemistry. He is regarded as the leading authority on marine natural products in Africa with several ongoing international collaborations and over 90 research publications in natural products chemistry. Professor Davies-Coleman has been the recipient of both the Rhodes University Vice Chancellor Distinguished Research and Teaching Awards and US National Institutes of Health and Fulbright Senior Fellowships to carry out research in the United States. Most recently he has begun a collaboration with the University of Bristol and established a working GC-MS instrument at the Cape Point Observatory. This instrument is now measuring trace halocarbon gases of anthropogenic and biogenic origin that could affect stratospheric ozone, air quality and regional and global climate.


Climate change and air quality are two of the most pressing concerns in the 21st century. We do not know the extent to which regions rich in biodiversity may be off-setting climate warming but their emission types and magnitudes suggest that they will. The Cape Peninsula in South Africa is such a region, rich in marine and land biodiversity, but the detailed role played by halogen emissions in the climate system is unknown. This project seeks to quantify these halogen emissions and estimate the role played in local climate and air quality. This study will be an exemplar for many such environments across the world and in the case of the Cape Peninsula lead to capacity building in science and technology but also in how to use research to shape and form effective policy. The current water shortage in Cape Town is acute and it will be the first major city in the world to run out of water with the concomitant problems associated with that.

Understanding the role played by natural ecosystems in the local and regional climate system will have manifest implications for the economy, health and social well-being of the large local population but with wider impacts on neighbouring countries.

During his stay in Bristol, Professor Davies-Coleman will be hosted by Professor Dudley Shallcross (Chemistry) and will give the following lectures/seminars in association with the Cabot Institute

Thursday 26th July, 12-1 pm
LT4, Chemistry Building, Cantock's Close, BS8 1TH
Departmental Lecture:
Halogenated marine natural products: from the sea floor and into the atmosphere
Register here


Monday 30th July, 12-1 pm
Old Council Chamber, Wills Memorial  Building, Queens Road, BS8 1RL
Public Lecture
Science in Africa: Challenges and opportunities
All welcome. Register here