National Scientific Organising Committee


Department of Botany & Plant Biotechnology, African Centre for DNA Barcoding, University of Johannesburg  

Bezeng Simeon Bezeng is a researcher at the African Centre for DNA Barcoding, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His research interests focus on plants where he uses molecular and phylogenetic techniques to understand key ecological questions related to species invasion, climate change and savanna evolution in Africa. Although his past research has primarily focused on plants, he has also collaborated in projects studying animal ecology. His involvement in DNA Barcoding campaigns across Africa has contributed significantly towards populating the BOLD database. Bezeng completed his PhD in Botany in 2016 from the University of Johannesburg where he employed DNA Barcoding techniques to understand correlates of plant invasion in southern Africa.


Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, University of the Western Cape

Graduated from the University of Johannesburg with a Ph.D (Botany) in 2009 and accepted a Post-doctoral Fellowship working on South African Asphodeloideae (Asphodelaceae) at the Compton Herbarium and University of Cape Town from February 2009–September 2010. Worked as a Principal Scientist within the Early Detection and Rapid Response Unit for Alien Plants, based at the Compton Herbarium from October 2010 until June 2012 and from July 2012 as Lecturer in the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the University of the Western Cape from 1 January 2015 to present appointed as Senior Lecturer at the same institution.

Research interests include the taxonomy and systematics of African legumes (Fabaceae) as well as selected genera of the Asteraceae, Asphodelaceae and Hemerocallidaceae, the flora of the Karoo, and the taxonomy and identification of invasive plant species. Author or co-author of 50 scientific papers all in peer-reviewed, ISI accredited journals as well as 56 oral presentations at national and international conferences. Currently supervisor or co-supervisor for six M.Sc. and six Ph.D. Graduated 5 M.Sc. students to date. Has served as Review Board Editor for the South African Journal of Botany since 2011 and Fabales Editor for Phytotaxa since 2016, as well as reviewer for numerous national and international journals.


Biosystematics Programme: Mycology Unit, Agricultural Research Council – Plant Protection Research Institute


Adriaana Jacobs (PhD) completed her BSc and BSc Hons degrees at the University of the Free State in the disciplines of Genetics and Microbiology by 1997. This was followed by obtaining an MSc degree from the University of Pretoria in 2000 and completing her PhD on a part-time basis in 2010. In 2004 she was appointed as the curator of the National Collection of Fungi, Mycology Unit, Plant Protection Research, Agricultural Research Council and still holds this position. She is the national coordinator for the Fungal Diversity Forum (in South Africa) and a member of the SANBI steered South African Fungal Diversity Network that has drafted ‘A Fungal Taxonomy Research Strategy for South Africa’. This document was published as part of a combined research strategy for South Africa and serve as guidelines for an integrated approach to mycological research in SA. She also serves on the interim steering committee of SAiBOL, the South African branch of iBOL, the DST task team for Fundamental Biodiversity Information System Programme (2012-2013) and was a co-recipient of the Douw Greeff price from the South African Academy for Literature and Science (2013) and The Afrikaans Language and Culture Association (ATKV, 2014) for her work on fungal karst ecology.

She has supervised eight post graduate students, have 21 national and eight international congress contributions and 14 peer-reviewed publications. She is a reviewer for journals such as Molecular Ecology, eSci Journal of Plant Pathology and European Plant Pathology as well as various reviews for the National Research Foundation.


South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch


Anthony Magee is a Senior Scientist at the Compton Herbarium, South African National Biodiversity Institute and a Research Associate of the Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology, University of Johannesburg. His research focuses on the systematics of the early lineages of Apiaceae and Asteraceae, as well as the floristics, origins and diversification of the Nama Karoo flora. Anthony currently holds a Y1 rating from the National Research Foundation and has been awarded the Junior Medal for Botany from the South African Association of Botanists as well as the S2A3 Medal from the South African Academy for the Advancement of Science. He is the author of ±50 scientific papers, an academic book and two book chapters and serves on the editorial board for the South African Journal of Botany.


Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town

Muthama Muasya is an evolutionary biologist with research interests on the flora of the Cape Floristic Region. His studies of the angiosperm families Cyperaceae and Fabaceae include discovery and description of new species, monography, phylogenetics, and biogeography. He has been part of South African team(s) involved in the DNA barcoding of plants.


National Zoological Gardens of South Africa


Monica Mwale’s research interest is the molecular systematics and genetics of wildlife and marine fish groups. The research that she undertakes focuses on the use of DNA sequence and morphological data to elucidate the diversity and phylogenetic relationships among different species or populations. She is also interested in using genetic technologies in conservation management and for forensic applications for the illegal wildlife crime trade.


South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch


Krystal Tolley has been working in the field of African herpetology for 15 years, and has written two books on African chameleons, and numerous peer-reviewed publications. She specialises in phylogenetics, phylogeography and biogeographic studies of African reptiles and amphibians, particularly chameleons. With her co-authors, she has described or elevated many genera and species of chameleons, lizards and frogs. She has participated in and/or led field surveys in South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Kenya. She currently serves as the Red List Focal Point for the IUCN Chameleon Specialist Group, and drives the Redlisting initiatives, which has ensured that every species of chameleon has been assessed for IUCN. She also leads the IUCN Southern African Regional Reptile Specialist Group. She has an extensive network of collaborators in Africa and Europe who focus on reptile/amphibian biogeography, phylogenetics, taxonomy, ecomorphology and global change/conservation issues. She heads the Molecular Ecology group at the South African National Biodiversity Institute in Cape Town, where she currently supervises postgraduate students, interns, and junior staff. She has led a number of successful research projects involving students and interns plus local and international collaborators. In 2015, she joined the Editorial Board of Journal of Biogeography.


Department of Genetics, University of KwaZulu-Natal


Sandi Willows-Munro main research interests include the fields of molecular systematics, conservation and population genetics. She is interested in the use of molecular and phylogenetic techniques to examine the genetic factors underpinning biodiversity in Africa. Her students and researchers associated with her research group work on a wide range of barcoding projects. She initiated the eThekwini Urban DNA barcode project in 2011 to help establish an all-taxa biodiversity inventory for the eThekwini region, which includes the city of Durban, the second most populous urban area in South Africa. The project currently focuses on invertebrate taxa, including keystone species such as bees, flies and spiders, all of which have been collected from several open spaces within the city of Durban. Undergraduate and postgraduate students have been involved in gathering and analyzing the data. The project has contributed significantly towards South African records on BOLD.


Department of Environmental sciences, University of South Africa

Kowiyou Yessoufou is a Senior Lecturer at the University of South Africa. He obtained his BSc and MSc from the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin, and PhD from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He pursued postdoctoral research at the University of Johannesburg and University of South Africa. His global interest is conservation biology. Specifically, he aims to understand the evolutionary and ecological forces that create species/lineages and structure communities across space and time, bearing in mind how this understanding can guide conservation decisions at local and global scales. Key focal areas include extinction risk, biological invasion, climate change, and phylogenetic diversification. Increasingly, he is working on climate-smart agriculture and ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) to the climate change effects on rural communities. He works mainly on any living organisms with a primary focus on plants.