About the NSCF
The NSCF is a virtual Facility, comprised of a network of institutions that hold natural science collections that are accessible to external researchers.
The NSCF was established as part of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)’s Research Infrastructure Roadmap and co-ordinated by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).
More information about the NSCF is provided in the brochure, overview and plan documents.
NSCF Overview and Plan
An overview of the structure, purpose, principles and 3 year plan is provided here
NSCF Overview and Plan
NSCF HUB TEAM
Prof. Michelle Hamer
012 843 5017
Michelle is currently the Lead for the NSCF and a second project under the Department of Science & Innovation’s South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR), the Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa.
Prior to joining SANBI in 2009 she was Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and from 1994 to 1999 she was a curator at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum.
Michelle has researched and published on a range of fields including fairy shrimp and millipede taxonomy, and terrestrial invertebrate diversity and conservation. She co-authored an assessment of museum collections in 2001, carried out an assessment of the zoological collections as part of the NRF-commissioned assessment in 2011, and has led the development and implementation of the NSCF since 2014.
Ms Usisipho Sotshangane
012 843 5183
Usisipho graduated with a B-Tech Degree in Office Management and Technology from the Durban University of Technology and has more than 4 years’ experience in the field of Administration.
She has fallen in love with the frogs – which she was terrified of in the beginning when she joined the NSCF. She loves nature and the outdoors. If she could no longer be part of the network for whatever reason, she will live in water permanently.
Ms Margaret Bartkowiak
Museum Specimen Photographer
Before joining the NSCF, Margaret worked with various NGO’s, publishers and corporate companies in Gauteng, Cape Town and London. She also loves sushi, travelling, camping, hiking and is slightly obsessed with bird watching.
Ms Bronwynne Petersen
Data Quality Specialist
With over 10 years’ experience in working with and managing data and data systems, Bronwynne offers a unique blend of leadership, vision as well as knowledge in research, writing and plant taxonomy, which encompasses her love for data and learning of new data systems. Bronwynne has graduated from the University of the Western Cape with a Bachelors in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology and then continued to earn an honours degree in Plant Taxonomy at the University of Pretoria. She has been involved in various important taxonomic projects and data outputs working with different research scientists who specialise in different plant families.
In her spare time there is nothing that makes her happier than spending time with her husband and kids.
Adriaan was born and raised in Nelspruit. Since early childhood, Adriaan has always had a keen interest in animals, especially for the less appreciated ones such as reptiles and amphibians. After finishing his primary and secondary education he went on to further his tertiary education at the University of the Free State where he obtained an undergraduate degree (B.Sc) in Environmental Geography and postgraduate degrees (B.Sc honors and M.Sc) in Zoology.
Adriaan is currently employed by the Natural Science Collections Facility (NSCF) as a herpetology curation technician. His main responsibilities in this position are the identification and databasing of reptile and amphibian specimens housed in the museum collections of the various NSCF partner institutions.
Zinzi Sinazo Somana was born and raised in a small rural town called Flagstaff in the Eastern Cape. She works as a Curation Technician based at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) in Makhanda. She obtained her undergraduate and Honors degrees from Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha. Before joining the NSCF, Zinzi worked for various companies as a Marine Conservation Intern, where she gained interest for marine biodiversity, which led her to do her MSc at Rhodes University, where her research focus was on the taxonomy and systematics of marine larval fishes. When she is not at work, she enjoys hiking and taking random pictures of nature.
Ms Shanelle Ribeiro
012 843 5183
Shanelle has been involved in project coordination and management in the environmental sector for over 12 years, and has been part of the Foundational Biodiversity Science Directorate at SANBI for 14 years. She holds a degree in International Relations, an Honours degree in Business Administration, as well as Prince2 and Agile Practitioner certifications in project management.
As the NSCF Project Manager she is responsible for the development and implementation of various project policies and standards, management of partner collaboration agreements and service provider contracts, staff management and mentoring and budget management.
Through the NSCF project she has discovered a new found love and curiosity for all things pressed and preserved, and is always looking to expand her knowledge about the old and peculiar specimens in the collections.
Ms Fulufhelo Tambani
Science Communication Specialist
Fulufhelo is a rural Muvenda who believes in learning from everyone she comes across and enjoys engaging with people from all walks of life. Fulufhelo obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Venda, completed two short courses in Science Communication at Stellenbosch University and Community Journalism at UNISA and is currently registered for the MPhil Science and Technology Studies at Stellenbosch University.
Fulufhelo joined the NSCF Hub Team on 1 July 2019. She considers her science communication career as an accidental dream come true because she had never imagine a career in Science Communication, nor did she know about it growing up.
What she loves most about her job is establishing genuine relationships with the people in the network and working towards having the value of natural science collections known and understood throughout South Africa.
Fulufhelo has experience in outreach, media liaison, social media management, science and general communication and administration, which she gained during her time with her previous employer, National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF).
Dr Ian Engelbrecht
His special passion though is for scorpions and mygalomorph spiders where he conducts research on diversity, systematics and distributions.
Mr Mahlatse Kgatla
Data Quality Specialist
Mahlatse joined the NSCF as a Data Quality Specialist working with museums. He did his BSc Environmental Science at University of Pretoria and BSc (Hon) Environmental Management at UNISA. He got introduced to biodiversity data management as a Groen Sebenza intern. He later joined the invasive alien sector as a project officer, with the main task of coordinating, integrating and mobilizing invasive alien plant species data. He then moved to the Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP) where he was responsible for the data from funded projects. One of his main responsibilities was to ensure the data sets coming in met the FBIP and international data standards.
Mahlatse enjoys playing a supporting role to others wherever possible. He also enjoys outdoor activities and from time to time likes doing something unexpected.
Christiaan is a Curation Technician at the Natural Science Collections Facility specialising in the curation and identification of herpetofauna specimens. He has worked in various industries including conservation, tourism and risk management as an applied herpetologist. He is currently completing his masters in environmental science and aims to shed more light on the effect future climate change will have on the endemic common crag lizard.
When he seemingly has nothing to do he likes to indulge in a bit of R programming where he is developing an online analysis tool in Shiny.
NSCF Data Technician Team:
Ms Given Leballo
Given holds a Bachelor of Science Honours in Environmental Management. Before joining the NSCF, she spent two years as a Geo-refencer for the Bio-gaps project, this is where she gained skills in working with biodiversity data. As a data technician, she is assigned to transcribing, capturing, and cleaning data from historical documents to make it digitally accessible for scientific research. She also works with various databases such as BRAHMS and SPECIFY to store and manage data.
Ms Fezile Mathenjwa
Ms Maxine Manickum
Maxine holds a BSc degree Honours in Biological Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Westville) and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Botany. Before being employed by the NSCF, she worked for SANBI KwaZulu-Natal Herbarium for five years as a Project Administrator. Through her five years at the herbarium, she also data-captured, quality controlled, verified and georeferenced plant specimens on the BRAHMS database. As a Biodiversity Data Technician, her role is to Data capture and quality control plant specimens from labels, georeference localities and assist NSCF partner institutions with data cleaning and upgrading.
When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, giving back to the community and indulging in delicious foods.
Ms Ketelo Dinala
Ketelo is a highly motivated individual and always eager to learn. She holds a BSc Degree Honours in Geology from the University of Limpopo and a BSc Life and Environmental Sciences from the University of Johannesburg. She enjoys working in a group, because she always has an opportunity to pick the other team member’s brains. Working for the NSCF has opened many opportunities for her and has taught her self and work discipline, not being afraid to make mistakes, to learn faster and to improve focus.
Apart from work, she is a mother and a wife and enjoys spending quality time with family.
Ms Ayanda Mnikathi
Ayanda‘s work entails capturing type and hand written specimen labels into Brahms database and Digivol Trancribe, data quality control as well georeferencing localities on specimen labels. This position teaches a lot about the value of preserving research data. Ayanda holds a BSC. Honours Grassland Science and almost at the end of her Masters degree with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) research looking at the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) in assessing the impacts of alien infestations on veld grazing capacity. When not devoted to work or school work, she enjoys taking her daughters out to a park or to the mall.