Sandy van Niekerk

I completed my undergraduate studies at the SandyUniversity of Stellenbosch in Biodiversity and Ecology. This was followed up by both a Honnours and Master’s degree in Zoology. During my master’s I worked on the spionid Polydora hoplura. On the South African coast this species displays four phenotypes, which left us with questions like are they different species or are they members of the same species? Through morphological and molecular approaches we were able to confirm that all four phenotypes are the same species!

After completing my master’s I worked as a National Research Foundation intern at the University of Cape Town. During my internship I worked on the MammaMAP project which catalogs the historic and current distributions of ALL of Africa’s mammals. The most valuable lesson I learned during my internship was that I love to communicate with the general public on scientific topics (something we got to practice on a weekly basis).

I am currently pursuing science communication as new field of interest. In my spare time I’m an avid reader, foodie, a lover of the outside and aspiring mountain biker!