Mhairi Alexander
Mhairi Alexander is a Lecturer in Animal Behaviour at the University of the West of Scotland, UK. Her research interests have been focused on methodologies that aim to predict invasive species impact across a range of taxa with an emphasis on aquatic systems. She is also interested in how predatory behaviours of native predators change towards invasive prey. Mhairi continues to have strong links with researchers at the C·I·B and also the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity.
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Ryan Blanchard
Ryan Blanchard is an ecologist and manager of the Fynbos Node at the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON). He is particularly interested in understanding how different drivers of change such as invasive alien species, fires and climate change may impact biodiversity and ecosystem services. He is also interested in spatial modelling and how this information can be used to support the management and control of invasive alien plants.
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Sarah Davies
Sarah Davies is a biodiversity scientist with 26 years’ experience in conservation and environmental management in Africa. She develops and manages research programmes and large integrated projects; she specialises in delivering outcomes on brief, on budget and on time. Sarah is currently a freelance consultant in the conservation ecology space.
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Franz Essl
Franz Essl is an ecologist leading the Division of BioInvasions, Macroecology & Global Change at the University of Vienna, Austria. His work addresses the causes and patterns of species and habitats diversity and the resulting consequences for nature conservation and human society. He has co-authored 10 books and 295 scientific articles. Since 2019, he is included in the list of "Highly Cited Scientists" by Clarivate. In 2022, he has been elected "Scientist of the Year" in Austria.
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Mirijam Gaertner
Dr Gaertner is head of the Masters Programme “Environmental Sciences” at the Nürtingen-Geislingen University of Applied Science ( She has obtained her PhD at the Alberts-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany and was subsequently a post-doctoral researcher and later a core team member of the C·I·B, working closely with the City of Cape Town on restoration and rehabilitation of invaded areas, with a particular focus on Fynbos ecosystems. Her research focuses on invasions Biology, restoration ecology and urban ecology. Her main interest is on patterns and processes of invasions in natural ecosystems specifically on impacts of invasive species on the native ecosystem (such as impacts on plant community composition and soil nutrient cycling). Another interest of hers is the restoration of native ecosystems. More recently she has started working in urban ecosystems. Here she has focused on developing management and prioritization schemes for controlling invasive species.
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Sjirk Geerts
Sjirk Geerts is a senior lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He has a broad interest in ecology, plant demography, pollination and invasive plant species. His PhD focused on how pollination structures plant and bird communities and how these mutualisms disassemble under a range of anthropogenic pressures. His current research interest covers a wide range of topics in plant invasions and pollination ecology, with a focus on reproduction and pollination of emerging invasive alien plants.
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Jan Giliomee
Prof Jan Giliomee is a research associate at the C·I·B. He retired as professor of Entomology at the University of Stellenbosch in 2001 and in 2003 joined the Department of Botany and Zoology at the US as research associate. He has published widely on the ecology and management of insects of economic importance to agriculture and has a special interest in scale insects. Recently he has focussed on the establishment of newly introduced alien insects and, as a board member of the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve, on biodiversity conservation and research in this Reserve.
Pat Holmes
Pat Holmes is an extraordinary professor with the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University. Formerly a plant ecologist and biophysical specialist at the City of Cape Town Municipality, her expertise includes biodiversity and spatial planning, environmental assessment and project management. She continues to advise on biodiversity management across the city, particularly on City-run nature reserves. Her primary research interests are invasive alien plant ecology and management and restoration ecology.
Michelle Jackson
Michelle Jackson is an Associate Professor at The Department of Zoology, The University of Oxford. She completed her PhD at Queen Mary University of London in 2012 and then worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher for eight years including three years at The University of Pretoria, funded by the C·I·B. Michelle’s research aims to understand, predict and manage the effects of anthropogenic stressors, such as climate change, species invasions and pollution, on animal and plant communities. Most of her research is in streams and rivers, spanning from the Arctic, to South Africa, to Antarctica.
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Martine Jordaan
Martine Jordaan is an aquatic ecologist within the Scientific Services section of CapeNature. She has a background in environmental toxicology and conservation science. Freshwater fish are her current field of interest and she plays an active role in formulating conservation plans, policies and guiding documents aimed at various aspects of freshwater fish conservation within the context of integrated catchment management and freshwater ecosystem conservation. She also has a keen interest in understanding the impacts of invasive freshwater fish on the native aquatic biota of the region and how to mitigate the impacts of these invasions. She is an Honorary Research Associate of the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity where she works collaboratively on a number of freshwater fish related projects.
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Christoph Kueffer
Christoph Kueffer is a senior scientist at the Department of Environmental Systems Science of ETH Zurich, Switzerland. His research interests include plant functional ecology, novel ecosystems, and trans-disciplinary research on the emerging ecological novelty of the Anthropocene in collaboration with practitioners, social scientists and the humanities and with a focus on mountains and oceanic islands. Currently, he is particularly interested in developing multi-site comparative studies and model system research approaches in invasion science; among others as the coordinator of the Mountain Invasion Research Network ( Christoph is an editor-in-chief of Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics and member of the editorial board of Diversity and Distributions.
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Jaco Le Roux
Dr Jaco Le Roux is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia. His research is related to phylogeography and population genetics of invasive plants. His interests are broad but mainly revolve around evolutionary dynamics of small populations, evolutionary biology and ecology of plant invaders in general.
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Mlungele Nsikani
Mlu Nsikani is a Researcher at the South African National Biodiversity Institute. He did a Ph.D. and Post-doc at the C·I·B between 2015 and 2020, focusing on barriers to ecological restoration after clearing invasive alien plants and managing invasive alien plants on mountains. Mlu has broad interests in plant invasions and ecological restoration. His current work focusses on the detection of new invasive species, eradication of invasive species limited to small areas, and risk analysis for alien and listed invasive species. Mlu is a Research Fellow at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
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Dave Pepler
Dave Pepler promotes the biodiversity and invasion biology work of the Centre for Invasion Biology through media liaison, such as radio interviews and television programmes. Dave’s primary affiliation is with the Centre for Invasion Biology. Connect with Dave on Facebook.
Petr Pyšek
Petr Pyšek is Head of the Department of Invasion Ecology at the Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. His research interests cover a wide range of topics in biological invasions, with focus on macroecological large-scale patterns and processes, determinants of species invasiveness and habitat invasibility, biogeographical approaches to invasions, impact of invasive species, and case studies of major invaders.
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Anthony Ricciardi
Anthony (Tony) Ricciardi is a Professor in the Redpath Museum and in the School of Environment at McGill University, and a McGill Trottier Fellow in Science and Public Policy. Tony’s research aims to predict the impacts of invasions, especially those involving invertebrates and fishes in freshwater ecosystems. He is currently developing general hypotheses to explain spatio-temporal variation in impact. He is on the editorial boards of the journal Biological Invasions and the journal Neobiota. From 2006-2016, he served on the scientific committee of the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network, a research group that assesses the risks and mechanisms of invasion in Canada's lakes, rivers and coastal waters.
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Ross Shackleton
Ross Shackleton is a lecturer at the Institute of Geography and Sustainability (Faculty of Geosciences and Environment), at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He conducted a PhD and postdoc at the C·I·B, between 2013 and 2017 with most of his work looking into the social and ecological effects of invasive plants and their management in Africa. Much of his work now uses interdisciplinary and social-ecological approaches for better understanding invasion dynamics and impacts of invasive plants and trees for people and nature. Ross is particularly interested in the role that the social sciences and humanities can play in improving invasion science and commonly draws on the livelihoods, ecosystem services and human wellbeing frameworks. Ross is on the editorial board for Biological Invasions.
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Josie South
Dr Josie South works on aquatic invasive species, particularly vertebrates and macroinvertebrates, and their interactions with other global change stressors such as climate change. Her primary research aims are predicting context dependent ecological impacts and determining which variables promote or dampen biotic interactions. Other interests include social dynamics of invasions, including conflict species and human livelihoods. Josie is a lecturer at the University of Leeds and continues research lines in these fields while maintaining strong links with the Centre for Invasion Biology and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity.
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Darragh Woodford
Darragh Woodford is a Lecturer in Aquatic Ecology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. His primary research focus is understanding the local and landscape drivers that mediate the successful establishment and spread of introduced freshwater fishes. He also seeks to understand how these alien species interact with native freshwater biota, and how changes in aquatic habitat integrity can affect these biotic interactions. He is an Honorary Research Associate of the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and conducts collaborative research on freshwater ecosystems across South Africa.
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In Memory

David Le Maitre
We mourn the passing of our colleague and friend, David Le Maitre. Widely considered a leading expert in eco-hydrology - David was key in helping to build our understanding of the hydrological impacts of invasive alien plants in southern Africa. May David's legacy continue through the many hearts and minds who had the pleasure of knowing him. Rest in Peace, David.