Master’s bursary: Biosystematics Research 2018 – 2019

22 September 2017 - 4:00pm

(Taxonomic research project)

The South African National Biodiversity Institute is offering one Master’s bursary to an enthusiastic student with a strong interest in plant systematics.

The research project to be undertaken by the student, in fulfilment of the requirements of a Master’s degree, must contribute to the mandate of the Biosystematics Research and Biodiversity Collections Division (see

This mandate is governed by the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act, No. 10 of 2004, Section 11, and includes responsibilities to promote, and coordinate the taxonomy of South Africa’s biodiversity. 

The taxonomy of the genus Sesbania in southern Africa remains poorly studied, and the circumscription of species need clarification. According to the strategy for plant taxonomic research in southern Africa (Victor et al), lack of recent revisions for some genera creates an obstacle to assessing the extinction risks faced by these taxa, and Sesbania is one among the genera needing urgent revision. The last taxonomic treatments of Sesbania in Africa were those of Phillips and Hutchinson (1921) and Gillett (1963) which recognised 23 and 33 species, respectively. Despite a checklist of species for southern Africa (Glen 2003) there is not a complete treatment for the ca. 17 species that occur in the region. This study aims to conduct detailed taxonomic revision of this group to provide an accurate assessment of the number of species involved, descriptions, distribution data and identification keys for both the native and introduced species. Risk assessments will be completed for those species that appear to be spreading in the country and detailed databases will be compiled for all the other introduced taxa.

The student bursary is only available to South African citizens and will be awarded in line with national equity targets. 

Duration: 2018 - 2019

Value: R120 000/year for two years. Operational costs of the project will be covered by SANBI.

Application procedure:

The attached form should be completed and submitted together with all the required documents to  Subject: Biosystematics Research MSc bursary. 

The applicant must motivate in his/her letter of interest why the SANBI should award the bursary to him/her.  

For further details regarding the project please contact:

Prof RJ Sebola                                                                                                 

Tel.:  +27 12 843 5187                                                                                      


Closing date for applications: 22 September 2017

SANBI reserves the right not to fill this bursary. If no response has been received within 21 days of the closing date, candidates may assume that their applications were unsuccessful.

Please note that any emails sent to SANBI must be under 10MB in size.

22 September 2017 - 4:00pm
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