Student research @ Gobabeb

Natanael (Nata) Ndilenga. PhD Associate.

Nata is studying the pollination systems of the dioecious cucurbit Acanthosicyos horridus (!nara) for his PhD at Stellenbosch University.

His focus is on advancing our understanding of the Namib Desert endemic species and its ecological significance within a broader context. This research is a three-year programme under the SASSCAL-funded FRAMe project.

Supervisors: Allan George Ellis (Stellenbosch University); Gillian Maggs-Kölling (Gobabeb); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)

Paulina Pomwene Fendinat. Student Associate.

Paulina is studying the ecohydrology and ecophysiology of the Namib Desert plant, Welwitschia mirabilis. She wants to understand where Welwitschia gets its water and how efficiently it uses it. Her research will help clarify the risks that mining, tourism, land use, and climate change may pose to the species, and help in mitigating those risks.

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

Supervisors: Theo Wassenaar (NUST); Heather Throop, (Arizona State University - ASU, USA)

Martin Handjaba. Junior Researcher.

Martin is modeling the biophysical ecology two nocturnal gerbil species that are endemic to the Namib Desert: Gerbillurus tytonis (a dune-dweller) and Gerbillurus setzeri (occupying gravel plains.

His research will contribute to our understanding of how Namib fauna may respond to changing climatic conditions.

Supervisors: Stuart Piketh (North-West University); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)

Ndapandula (Kapandu) Shihepo. Training Coordinator.

Kapandu studies environmental policy and social ecology, in particular the effectiveness of policies to reduce plastic bag use and pollution at central coastal towns in Namibia.

She also organizes and oversees Gobabeb’s training programs for students at all educational levels (primary, secondary and tertiary).

Kapandu is studying for the Master in Natural Resource Management at Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).

Supervisors: Clarence Ntisa (NUST), Gillian Maggs-Kölling and Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)

Brendan Luyanda. Student Associate.

Brendan is investigating demographic parameters, habitat suitability and population dynamics between barking geckos (Ptenopus garrulus, P. kochi and P. maculutus) in the central Namib Desert.

The aim is to provide essential scientific information for monitoring and conservation management of these geckos.

Brendan is studying for the MSc at UNAM (Wildlife Management & Ecotourism).

Supervisors: Ezequiel Fabiano (UNAM); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)

Rosa-Stella Mbulu. Student Associate.

Rosa is interested in evolutionary processes and genetic diversity of selected desert-living beetles (Tenebrionidae) and angiosperms (Kissenia capensis, Huidobria fruticosa and Zygophyllum stapfii collected from the Atacama and Namib deserts.

Rosa will perform sequencing to study genetic desert adaptation enhancing mechanisms.

Rosa is pursuing a PhD in Biology at the University of Cologne (UoC), Germany.

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Thomas Wiehe (UoC); Co-supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Quandt (University of Bonn) and Prof. Dr. Reinhard Predel (UoC)

Ulrich E Bezuidenhoudt. Student Associate.

Ulrich is using drone technology/remote sensing to investigate the key aspects of Welwitschia mirabilis demography in the central Namib Desert. His research will aid the developing and testing of species-specific demographic models to understand and predict conservation and management of Welwitschia populations.

Ulrich is studying for a Masters degree in Natural Resources Management at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).

Supervisors: Jonathan Kamwi and Ben Strohbach (NUST); Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)

Brave Mukena. Intern.

Brave is a recent graduate in Wildlife Management & Ecotourism (Hons) from the University of Namibia. He is seeking to gain industry experience and further his career growth. He will be assisting in various tasks while at Gobabeb, such as research, data capturing and working closely with different team members to learn more about the institute.

He hopes to further his studies either in Namibia or South Africa come 2023.

Mentor: Eugene Marais

Nelao N Hauulu. Student Intern.

Nelao is a recent graduate with a BA (Hons) in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Namibia (UNAM).

She is currently an intern at Gobabeb, assisting with routine research tasks, while being mentored to assume a training coordination role.

With a broad interest in environmental issues and sustainability, she will be investigating indoor air pollution and solid fuel emission risks in vulnerable communities in Namibia for her MSc studies at North-West University in South Africa.

Ester Amanyaga. Student Intern.

Ester is studying her Honors Degree in Wildlife Management and Tourism Studies at University of Namibia. She is an ecologist interested in plants and insects. She’s currently working on the chemical ecology of Welwitschia mirabilis), to determine the insect species which are attracted by the aroma of the plant for pollination.

Mentor: Natanael Ndelinga

Supervisors: Dr Eugene Marais (Gobabeb NRI), Dr Ekkerhard Klingelhoeffer, (UNAM)

Patemoshela Kashikola. Intern.

Patemoshela recently graduated from the University of Namibia with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology (honours) and a Climate Change Activist. She is an aspiring researcher,  and ecologist climate change activist.

At Gobabeb, Patemoshola will be helping with research activities, such as data collection, weather monitoring, and ecological monitoring.

She will be assessing the biodiversity of inselbergs in the central Namib for her MSc studies with North West University.

Emilia Nakale. Intern.

Emilia recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science Environmental Biology (Honours) from University of Namibia. She is a climate activist, environmental advocate, and researcher.

While she is an intern at Gobabeb, Emily will be assisting with day-to-day activities such as weather monitoring and ecological monitoring.

She will be assessing the breeding systems of Zygophyllum clavatum and Zygophyllum stapffii for her MSc with University of Stellenbosch.

Adam Washinime. Student intern

Adam is studying the ecology of Salsola (an amaranth shrub) in the Namib desert. He will be studying whether the size of the hummock that builds up around the plant contributes to its growth.

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

Supervisor: Jonathan Kamwi (NUST), Eugene Marais (Gobabeb)