Dr Francois Deacon
Position
Senior Lecturer
Department
Animal Science
Address
LG 3.204
Department of Animal Science
IB 73
Telephone
051 4013554
Office
Agriculture Building: Block 1 1.302
Information

Short CV

After completing my BSc in Environmental Geography and Zoology and BSc (Hons), (awarded with distinction in Wildlife Science at the UFS, I was appointed (at SANParks) as a junior scientist and nature guide. I was a young, self-motivated, and ambitious researcher focussing on spatial and rangeland ecology. During my employment by SANParks in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, I was fortunate to be working with established researchers Drs Gus Mills, Marna Herbst, and Hugo Bezuidenhout; I assisted with censuses, monitoring, data collection, and fieldwork along with my 4x4 guiding responsibilities. During the same period, I continued with my MSc. After obtaining my degree, I was employed at the UFS in 2010 as a Junior Lecturer in the Department of Animal, Wildlife, and Grassland Sciences. In June 2012, I was promoted to Lecturer. Being the team leader for most of our departmental wildlife research created the opportunity to conceptualise my ideas with a multi-disciplinary approach for my Ph.D. I initiated innovative and pioneering research, which has attracted local and international attention with National Geographic documentaries to engage with the public.

My scientific contributions are currently mostly related to the giraffe as a large herbivore within their natural environments. Preferred and avoided areas of selection are the driving force for further investigation in my research. I involved various other established scientists within different disciplines on campus and abroad, including local and international postgraduate students within this framework. From my published papers, only three are not in collaboration with international scientists. From the range of journals selected (N=13) and the research papers I have published within these journals (N=15), I`m the first author in five of these publications. Half (N=8) are within the first two quartiles from the Web of Science (Clarivate). Three within the 1st, five forms the 2nd, two in the 3rd, and five in the 4th quartile. In 4/15, I`m the 1st author; 2/15 M supervision; 3/15 from the Ph.D. and 6/13 are from collaborations. I`m also the corresponding author on four papers. I have authored or co-authored presentations at 18 conferences, including 41 oral presentations at national conferences (29 presented by myself) and 12 at international conferences (10 presented by myself). In the future, I would like to focus more on my publication outputs than conferences.

I have served as an invited reviewer (N=17 reviews) for manuscripts submitted to Mammalian Biology, African Journal of Ecology, Koedoe, African Zoology, Ethology, Mammal Review, and Range & Forage Science.

I was nominated for Best Lecturer in 2016, and in 2017 I received the Best Lecturer Award at my institution. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in January 2018. I received an NRF Research Grant for Unrated Researchers (NRF1100O1817) from 2016 to 2019. During 2019 I was selected to participate in the two years (2019-2020) Vice-Chancellor`s Emerging Scholars Accelerator Program (EPAP), an elite group of leading young scholars at the UFS. I was also invited to serve on an expert question and answer panel at the 2019 Giraffid Conference during 20-23 May 2019 at the Columbus Zoo, Columbus, USA. I was a guest speaker in the Greenville Zoo Conservation Lecture Series in May 2019 in Greenville, South Carolina, USA.

I have supervised 64 Honours, 13 Master, and 1 Ph.D. students to completion. Currently, I am supervising 6 Master`s students and 2 Ph.D. students. In the last six years (2015-2020), I managed to build good academic collaborations, and with these, I have published 15 of these in peer-reviewed journals since 2015. My citations gradually increased from the first publication to the last, with my ResearchGate profile is 17.56, with 12,360 reads and 124 citations (11/24/2020).


Publications

Scheijen CPJ, Bercovitch FB, Luther-Binoir I, Ganswindt A, Deacon F. (2020)

Sexual selection and endocrine profiles in wild South African giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa).

Afr J Ecol. 2020;00:1–6.

https://doi.org/10.1111/aje.12802

Q2 ranked journal, IF 0.731

 

Muller, Z., Lee, D. E., Scheijen, C. P. J., Strauss, M. K. L., Carter, K. D., & Deacon, F. (2020).

Giraffe translocations: A review and discussion of considerations.

African Journal of Ecology, aje.12727.

https://doi.org/10.1111/aje.12727

Q2 ranked journal, IF 0.731

 

Meuffels, J. Luther-Binoir, I. Daffue, W. Deacon, F. and Mitchell, E.P. (2020)

Disorder of sexual development in a giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa)

Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

DOI: 10.4102/jsava.v91i0.1971

Journal  IF = 0.696; Q3 91/141 Vet Science

 

Lee, D., Fienieg, E., Van Oosterhout, C., Muller, Z., Strauss, M., Carter, K., and Deacon, F. (2019).

Giraffe translocation population viability analysis.

Endangered Species Research.

https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01022

IF = 2.122; Q2 26/59 Bio Diversity Conservation Science

 

Deacon, F., Tutchings, A. (2019)

The South African giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa: A conservation success story

(2019) ORYX, 53 (1), pp. 45-48.

DOI: 10.1017/S0030605317001612

IF: 2.801; Q1 13/59 Biodiversity Conservation Science

 

Van Niekerk, M.E., Deacon, F., Grobler, P.J. (2019)

The genetic status of the introduced giraffe population in central South Africa

(2019) Koedoe, 61 (1), art. no. a1570

DOI: 10.4102/koedoe.v61i1.1570

IF = 0.900; Q4 46/59 Biodiversity Conservation Science

 

Basu, C.K., Deacon, F., Hutchinson, J.R., Wilson, A.M. (2020)

The running kinematics of free-roaming giraffes, measured using a low cost unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

(2019) PeerJ, 2019 (2), art. no. 6312, .

DOI: 10.7717/peerj.6312

IF = 2.353; Q2 27/69 Multidisciplinary Science

 

Deacon, F., Bercovitch, F.B. (2018)

Movement patterns and herd dynamics among South African giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa). (2018) African Journal of Ecology, 56 (3), pp. 620-628.

DOI: 10.1111/aje.12514

IF = 0.893; Q4 138/165 Ecology

 

Deacon, F., Smit, N. (2017)

Spatial ecology and habitat use of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) in South Africa

(2017) Basic and Applied Ecology, 21, pp. 55-65.

DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2017.04.003

IF = 2.474 7Q2 71/165  Ecology

 

Bercovitch, F.B., Berry, P.S.M., Dagg, A., Deacon, F., Doherty, J.B., Lee, D.E., Mineur, F., Muller, Z., Ogden, R., Seymour, R., Shorrocks, B., Tutchings, A.

How many species of giraffe are there?

(2017) Current Biology, 27 (4), pp. R136-R137.

DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.039

IF = 9.193; Q1 20/299

 

Osthoff, G., Hugo, A., Madende, M., Deacon, F., Nel, P.J. (2017)

Milk composition of free-ranging red hartebeest, giraffe, Southern reedbuck and warthog and a phylogenetic comparison of the milk of African Artiodactyla

(2017) Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 204, pp. 93-103.

DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2016.11.012

IF = 2.142; Q1 in Zoology 20/170 (Q3 in Biochemistry & MolBiol; Physiology)

 

Deacon, F., Nel, P.J., Bercovitch, F.B. (2015)

Concurrent pregnancy and lactation in wild giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis)

(2015) African Zoology, 50 (4), pp. 331-334.

DOI: 10.1080/15627020.2015.1120643

IF 0.962; Q3 106/170 Zoology

 

Bercovitch, F.B., Deacon, F. (2015)

Gazing at a giraffe gyroscope: Where are we going?

(2015) African Journal of Ecology, 53 (2), pp. 135-146.

DOI: 10.1111/aje.12222

IF = 0.893; Q4 138/165 Ecology

 

Bock, F., Fennessy, J., Bidon, T., Tutchings, A., Marais, A., Deacon, F., Janke, A.

Mitochondrial sequences reveal a clear separation between Angolan and South African giraffe along a cryptic rift valley

(2014) BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14 (1), art. no. 219, .

DOI: 10.1186/s12862-014-0219-7

IF = 3.045; Q2 21/50 Evol Biol (Q2 Genetics and Heredity)

 

Muller, Z., Bercovitch, F., Brand, R., Brown, D., Brown, M., Bolger, D., Carter, K., Deacon, F., Doherty, J. B.,Fennessy, J., Fennessy, S., Hussein, A. A., Lee, D., Marais, A., Strauss, M., Tutchings, A. and Wube, T. (2016).

Giraffa camelopardalis The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Report number: e.T9194A51140239. Available from: Affiliation: IUCN, DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.25459.43040.

http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T9194A51140239.en.

 

Deacon, F., Tutchings, A., and Bercovitch, F. 2016.

South African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa) Conservation Status Report - IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, Subcommittee. South African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa) Conservation Status Report. Online available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/full/9194/0

 

Deacon, F., and Parker, D. 2015. 

National Red List Assessment: Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa – Giraffe.  South Africa Status Report.

Collaborators: Matthew Child (matthewc@ewt.org.za) Daniel Parker (daniel.parker@ump.ac.za)

Online Available at:

https://www.ewt.org.za/Reddata/pdf/Artiodactyla%20(36%20assessments)/2016%20Mammal%20Red%20List_Giraffa%20camelopardalis%20giraffa_LC.pdf

 


Publications (Short List)

Sexual selection and endocrine profiles in wild South African giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa).

https://doi.org/10.1111/aje.12802

 

Giraffe translocations: A review and discussion of considerations.

https://doi.org/10.1111/aje.12727

 

Disorder of sexual development in a giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa)

DOI: 10.4102/jsava.v91i0.1971

 

Giraffe translocation population viability analysis.

https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01022

 

The South African giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa: A conservation success story

DOI: 10.1017/S0030605317001612

 

The genetic status of the introduced giraffe population in central South Africa

DOI: 10.4102/koedoe.v61i1.1570

 

The running kinematics of free-roaming giraffes, measured using a low cost unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

DOI: 10.7717/peerj.6312

 

Movement patterns and herd dynamics among South African giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa).

DOI: 10.1111/aje.12514

 

Spatial ecology and habitat use of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) in South Africa

DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2017.04.003

 

How many species of giraffe are there?

DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.039

 

Milk composition of free-ranging red hartebeest, giraffe, Southern reedbuck and warthog and a phylogenetic comparison of the milk of African Artiodactyla

DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2016.11.012

 

Concurrent pregnancy and lactation in wild giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis)

DOI: 10.1080/15627020.2015.1120643

 

Gazing at a giraffe gyroscope: Where are we going?

DOI: 10.1111/aje.12222

 

Mitochondrial sequences reveal a clear separation between Angolan and South African giraffe along a cryptic rift valley

DOI: 10.1186/s12862-014-0219-7

 

Giraffa camelopardalis The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Report number: e.T9194A51140239.

DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.25459.43040.

 

South African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa) Conservation Status Report - IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, Subcommittee.

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/full/9194/0

 

National Red List Assessment: Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa – Giraffe.  South Africa Status Report.

https://www.ewt.org.za/Reddata/pdf/Artiodactyla%20(36%20assessments)/2016%20Mammal%20Red%20List_Giraffa%20camelopardalis%20giraffa_LC.pdf

 


Research

When I select key words from completed research that featured at conferences and are prominent in my postgraduate supervision, they would include: Objective home range analyses of GPS collared wildlife and livestock using plants and soils as prediction indicators. I’ve been part of various assessments of woody biomass as a sustainable energy source and the impact of drought on the species composition, veld condition and forage availability for game management. I included aspects that are considerate for a non-invasive body condition score with nutrient effects on browsing preferences.  I’ve been exploring how extreme temperature events influence movement patterns and was part of an investigation on methods for the analysis of heavy metals and minerals. Based on my contribution on the genetic status report we could development and implement a biodiversity management plan for giraffe in South Africa. With my leadership we’ve been the first to attempt and successfully collect semen samples for artificial incrimination in the near future. We’ve also been the team who has successfully and effectively captured and collared giraffe in the wild with over 70 successful captures. With the spatial data obtained we could then have an objective calculation and create a resilience score. Hormonally I’ve been working with the University of Pretoria and Onderstepoort Veterinary School to investigate the effect of translocations on the faecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels in giraffe and we’ve been using DNA from faecal samples to determine diversity within populations. In management plans we’ve determined the impacts of introduced giraffe by investigating the diet selection, habitat preferences and spatial ecology of reintroduced giraffe in selected protected areas and we could build connections between conservation and research.


Area(s) of Interest


Courses Presented

Under graduate

GRAS 2614 – Rangeland ecology                          

ANIG 1624 – Introduction to wildlife and rangeland sciences                                  

WILD 4808 – Year module for final years

WDMT 3714 – Wildlife Production                         

WILD 4826 - Applied wildlife management  (BSc Wildlife)                                      

GRAS3724 – Planted pastures

 

Post graduate:

WDMT 6846 – Game farm planning                                                                            

WDMT 6808 - Year module for BScAgric Hons students

WILD 6826 - Applied wildlife management  (BSc Wildlife Biology students)                                               

WILD 6846 - Applied wildlife management  (BScAgric Wildlife Production students)                                               

WILD 7902 – Course module for Masters in property development (farm planning)

WILD 6808 - Year module for BSc Hons students

Community Service

2018

Wildlife Documentary – Catching Giants

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7921318/mediaviewer/rm1793872128

 

2017

National Geographic Documentary – Last of the Longnecks

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4060024/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl

 

2016

National Geographic Documentary – Up high and Personal with giraffes

https://www.terramater.at/productions/giraffe-up-high-and-personal/


Service Learning




BLOEMFONTEIN CAMPUS FACULTY CONTACT

Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531
E:vdberge@ufs.ac.za

QWAQWA CAMPUS FACULTY CONTACT

Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284
E:naturalscienceqq@ufs.ac.za

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