Student researcher alumni @ Gobabeb

Eric Norton. Student intern. (June-October 2020)

Eric is interested in understanding the human-wildlife conflict between local Topnaar livestock farmers and black-backed jackals along the Kuiseb river.

By better understanding the conflict, how it arises, and particularly the ecology of the jackals, I hope that the information that I collect will contribute to improved strategies for reconciling the interests of traditional livestock farmers and wildlife.

Eric hopes to study for the MSc degree at University of Cape Town (UCT).

Halle Shaanika. Student Associate. (June 2018-June 2020)

Halle is investigating whether burrowing by gerbil species significantly improve soil conditions on the Husab gravel plains. If they do, it means gerbils are ecological engineers that may support the presence of large mammals and other grazers.

Halle is studying for the MSc degree in Natural Resources Management at NUST.

Supervisors: Theo Wassenaar (NUST), Seth Eiseb (University of Namibia).

Noita is studying how local Topnaar communities use the riparian forest vegetation along the Kuiseb River. Using community interviews, Noita is identifying key forest species and community conservation measures to better map forest resources. This will clarify management planning for management of the national park and river basin.

Noita is studying for the Bachelor of Natural Resources Management student at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).

Supervisors: Jonathan Kamwi (NUST); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)

Noita Josob. GTRIP Intern. (January to June 2020)

Jonas Lipopila. Student Associate. (January 2019 to December 2020)

Jonas is using geospatial data and modelling to explore species-environmental relationships and ecological niches for the endemic, Husab sand lizard (Pedioplanis husabensis) in the central Namib Desert. He hopes his findings will lead to use of advanced technologies in addressing biodiversity conservation issues. Jonas is studying for the MSc degree in Natural Resources Management at NUST.

Supervisors: Theo Wassenaar (NUST); Vera de Cauwer (NUST).

Saima Shikesho. Researcher. (2017 to August 2021)

Saima is studying seed dispersal of endemic Namib plant, the !nara (Acanthosicyos horridus) by black-backed jackals and gerbils.

She hopes better to understand how the !nara’s disjunct distribution along the riparian corridor of the Kuiseb River comes to be.

Saima is now studying for the PhD at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Supervisors:  Jeremy Midgley (UCT); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb).

Madeleine Bolton. Intern. University of Manchester

Madeleine (‘Maddy’) Bolton is working as an intern at Gobabeb, assisting with environmental monitoring activities and providing technical support to research projects. She is also undertaking a small project mapping the distribution of flightless dung beetles in the Namib and studying their behaviour.

Maddy has recently completed her second year studying for the BSc in Biology at the University of Manchester.

Julian Menge. Intern. Ruprecht-Karls University.

Julian is establishing marketing activities for Gobabeb, specialising in Social Media marketing.

Within his project, he is developing an end-to-end Social Media strategy with a focus on sustainability, and launching its roll-out.

In this project, Julian is working to increase the visibility of Gobabeb world-wide.

Julian is a Bachelor student of Molecular Biotechnology at the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg, Germany. He is also a student consultant at GalileiConsult e.V.


Monique Tredoux. Intern. Namibia University of Science and Technology.

Monique is assessing the inselberg and gravel plains species composition and diversity, to identify how this might change along the climatic gradient of the central Namib Desert.

Monique is a third-year student studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resource Management focusing on nature conservation, and is doing her Work-Integrated Learning period at Gobabeb.

Mentor: Jessica Roberts (Gobabeb). Supervisor: Dr Jonathan Kamwi (NUST).

Leandri Wessels. Student Associate.

Leandri is exploring how topography, frequency and incidence of fog events affect the composition of biological soil crust communities, in particular gypsum soils of the coastal plains along a gradient of fog incidence with distance from the ocean.

Her project makes extensive use of Gobabeb’s FogNet weather station array.

Leandri is studying for the MSc at North-West University (NWU) Potchefstroom campus.

Supervisors: Roelof Burger (NWU); Stuart Piketh (NWU); Stefan Siebert (NWU).

Elbe Brunette. Senior Researcher.

Elbe is investigating human-induced water stress in the riparian trees of the central Namib Desert.

Through her project, Elbe aims to provide the scientific basis for future decision–making around the allocation of water to societies and ecosystems.

Elbe is a PhD candidate at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).

Supervisors: Theo Wassenaar (NUST); Lixin Wang (Indiana University-Purdue, USA)

Ndelimona Iipinge. Student Associate.

Ndelimona studied the foraging behaviour of one of the Namib’s most elusive creatures: Namib Golden Moles (Eremitalpa granti namibensis).

These small, blind, nocturnal insectivores range widely on and below the surface of the Namib sand dunes at night in search of prey.

Ndelimona is writing his thesis for the MSc degree at University of Cape Town.

Supervisors: Gary Bronner (UCT); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)

Ailly Nanguloshi Nambwandja. Student Associate.

Ailly is using drone / remote sensing to monitor photosynthesis in Namibia’s distinct lichen communities. Her research will provide a low impact method for monitoring of lichen flora, and lead to better conservation strategies, identifying in particular where surface traffic (on foot or in vehicles) should be avoided.

Ailly irecently completed her MSc degree in Natural Resources Management at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).

Supervisors: Ben Strohbach (NUST); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)

Jacob M. Sitemo . Student intern.

Jacob is a fourth year BSc (Honours) student Mechanical Engineering  at UNAM.

At Gobabeb, Jacob assisted with environmental monitoring and weather station equipment maintenance. He also explores customised equipment for the rehabilitation of tracks across the gravel plains. Perhaps even removing corrugations in the gravel roads around Gobabeb.

Mentor: Martin Handjaba (Gobabeb). Supervisors:  Erastus Shaanika (UNAM); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb).

Antonia Müller-Harboe. Student Intern.

Antonia is studying Oceanography at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and is broadly interested in climate change.

She will be designing and executing a project for her bachelor thesis, addressing her main interest in connecting the upwelling system along the Namibian coast with the climate in the Namib Desert.

Supervisors: Prof. Dr Johanna Baehr (University of Hamburg); Dr Peter Landschützer (University of Hamburg); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)

Michael M. Disho. Student Intern.

Michael is doing his Work-Integrated Learning opportunity at Gobabeb. He will be learning relevant scientific technologies for rural development, mapping selected settlements within the Namib-Naukluft National Park, helping with environmental monitoring, data management, and technical support for various in-house and international research projects.

He is studying Regional and Rural Development at NUST.

Mentor: Ulrich E Bezuidenhoudt (Gobabeb). Supervisors: Jane Gold (NUST); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)

Jessica Roberts. MSc Student. Hot Birds Project.

Jess is exploring how behaviour (such as panting, wing drooping and shade seeking) of free-ranging dune larks help them adapt to the harsh thermal environment of their dune habitat.

Her observations, in addition an analysis of microhabitats and thermal refuges, will be used to create a mathematical model of dune lark biophysical ecology.

Jess is studying for the MSc in zoology at the University of Pretoria (UP).

Supervisors: Andrew McKechnie (UP); Susan Cunningham (University of Cape Town)