The Succulent Karoo Research Station (SKRS)
is a South African registered non-profit organisation at Goegap Nature Reserve. It is funded via donations and research grants obtained by the researchers working there. It aims to increase our knowledge about the ecology of the Hardeveld of Namaqualand with special reference to the important role of small mammals. We study behavioral and physiological flexibility as adaptations to survive in an extreme environment. Our scientific merit is represented in publications in high ranking international scientific journals. The Research Station offers a convenient and pleasant workplace for scientists from all over the world in an unique environment. The Research station aims to promote Goegap Nature Reserve and Namaqualand as a tourist destination.
Living at the research station means that you have to do without several luxuries that are part of normal life in a city. But we have some luxuries you will never find in a city: The silence and peace of the nature around us, observing the exciting social life of free ranging animals, living in an area surrounded by astonishing scenery, with a clear night sky sparkling with stars like nowhere else in the world. I am working here in my office, but I have only to go a few steps to get into the natural environment of my study species. The field site is directly in front of our door!
Infrastructure: Accommodation for up to 10 researchers and students. Two field laboratories. Solar system. Field equipment.
History of SKRS
2002: The striped mouse project in Goegap started in 2001 and since 2002 we can use the old farmhouse of the nature reserve as research station. While we can use the station for free, we heavily invested into its renovation, development, and maintenance.
2006: We replaced the ceilings in several rooms and put up a ceiling in the former garage, which is used by C. Schradin as his office and living room. We bought new furniture including beds and cupboards for all the rooms, and shelves for the research room. Until this year, we had to run our computers using car batteries charged at the office of Goegap. 2006 we installed our own solar system and an inverter so we could switch from dull 12V to bright 220V light. We also got two laptops. We installed a
Wendy-House for animal keeping, a wooden house of 3x6m. The most important change since 2006 is that SKRS now has a research station manager who is appointed for 12 months and stays permanently at the research station during this period.
2007: We installed an good quality 6 x 3 meters Wendy house for student accommodation.
2008: We finally got a new research station car, after many years of hard work to try to funding for this. A brand new Mahindra Bolero 2X4 double cab was chosen. It has a high vehicle clearance that makes it easy to drive the roads in the reserve. Its large trunk is essential for transporting gas bottles for the research station, field equipment and supplies, and of course for our weekly shopping in Springbok. We installed a second 6 x 3 meters Wendy house forstudent accommodation. A small 2 x 2 meters Wendy house was erected to be used as an extra bathroom in order to ease off the congestion in the existing toilet. The existing solar system was upgraded by installing additional solar panels, a wind turbine, and an additional 3000 W inverter.
2009-2010: All gas fridges were replaced by electrical fridges. We installed some additional solar panels. A washing machine was bought that is only allowed to be used duting periods of excess solar energy. More furniture.
2011: The old diesel pump providing water from the borehole in the field site was replaced by a solar pump.
2012: The sewage system was upgraded by installing a large and a small septic tank. We got strong battery banks for the solar system.
2013: In March 2013 we built a 3x6m field laboratory to be able to conduct experiments in a room without any disturbance by noise from neighboring rooms. We built a small flat 7x6m with 2 rooms and a kitchen as accommodation for the research station manager. In December 2013 a second field laboratory of 3x6m was built. One field laboratory houses the respirometry laboratory, the second one is used for behavioral testing.
2020: A professional weather station was installed at SKRS.