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Botany

An honour has been bestowed on Dr Estrela Figuiredo, who has been a research associate at NMMU's Botany Department for the past few years.

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It was recently announced that Estrela is the recipient of the Botanical Society of South Africa's Rudolf Marloth Medal for 2016. The medal commemorates Dr Rudolf Marloth (1855–1931), pharmacist, analytical chemist, and botanist who published much on the southern African flora, the most famous publication being his 'Flora of South Africa' which appeared in six magnificently illustrated volumes between 1913 and 1932.

 

Over the past few years Estrela has made a substantial international impact with her research into components of the indigenous and naturalised southern African floras. In less than a decade of working in the region, she has quite remarkably produced well over 120 scientific papers in ISI-rated, peer-reviewed journals. She went well beyond just producing science outputs though, and also cast her work into numerous semi-scientific and popular papers, and more than half-a-dozen books. This was an important consideration in having been honoured with the Medal, which requires the recipient to have produced significant scientific literature of a popular nature to stimulate public interest in the indigenous flora of southern Africa.

 

Estrela is not resting on her laurels and continues her research at an accelerated pace; during 2016 she has again co-authored over a dozen papers in ISI journals, all under the address of NMMU's Department of Botany.

 

Of the Botany Departments of South Africa's tertiary education institutions, the one at NMMU has among the highest percentage of Marloth Medal recipients among its tenured and RA staff. A fantastic achievement for a comparatively small and young university.

 

The staff and students of the NMMU Botany department congratulate Estrela on having received this most appropriate recognition for her commitment to her scientific work, and for making it easily available to the general public through her papers and books. It is truly rare for a Medal recipient to have made such a remarkable impact in such a short period.

Prof Janine Adams was recently awarded a Silver medal at the Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists (SASAqS) conference held in the Drakensberg.