The 2015 SAAB annual conference will be held in Venda

The 2015 SAAB annual conference will be held in Venda.

The second call of the conference is available for download here.
(This second call includes detailed information on registration, accommodation, plenary speakers etc.)

You can also download a PDF of first announcement

The University of Venda Botany Department invites you to the 2015 SAAB conference that will be held at Tshipise Forever Resort. The theme of the conference is “Sustaining Biodiversity”.


Registration and Abstracts:

The opening of Registration and submission of Abstracts will be communicated in the second announcement in July 2014.


Scientific programme:

The SAAB 2015 conference will cover the following aspects of Botany:

Biopesticides and Chemical ecology

Conservation, cultivation and sustainable use

Ecosystem services


Global change in terrestrial ecosystem

Phytochemistry and biological activity

Plant diversity and taxonomy

Plant genomics

Plant invasions

Plant physiology and biotechnology

Pollination biology

Savanna and grassland ecology


Oral presentation will be allocated 20 minutes (discussions and questions included) while poster session will be scheduled in the conference programme.


Plenary speakers:

The following scholars will give plenary talks:

Professor A B (Tony) Cunningham is an internationally renowned ethnoecologist/applied ecologist whose research over the past 35 years has focussed on the interface between local livelihoods, sustainable natural resource use and conservation. He has been the recipient of several awards, including the Sir Peter Scott Conservation award (1999) from IUCN and the E K Janakki medal (2003) for services to the field of ethnobotany.

He graduated with a PhD in Botany (University of Cape Town, 1985). He has worked in East, West and southern Africa, South & SE Asia (India, Nepal, China) and to a lesser extent, Oceania in habitats from desert to tropical rainforest. He is the author or co-author of over 100 publications, including the book “Applied ethnobotany: people, wild plant use and conservation” (Earthscan, 2001) and senior author of “African basketry: grassroots art from southern Africa” (Fernwood Press (2006) and “Hanging by a thread: mordant plants in traditional textile dye processes in Indonesia (2011) Economic Botany 65(3): 241-259.

In 2004, he was visiting chair in Botany, University of Hawaii, where he taught a post-graduate ethnoecology course to students from Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela and the USA. From 2005 to 2013, he taught an annual course which links natural resourced based livelihoods and eco-enterprises to conservation and sustainable use. He continues to work regularly in tropical Africa, collaborating with Cameroonian, Zambian and South African colleagues, most recently during a study in Cameroon on the international trade in Prunus africana bark.

William Bond is an Emeritus Professor in Biological Sciences at the University of Cape Town and Chief Scientist of the South African Environmental Observation Network. He is an ecologist with broad interests in the processes most strongly influencing vegetation change in the past and present, including fire, vertebrate herbivory, atmospheric CO2 and climate change. He has also worked on plant-animal mutualisms and on plant form and function. He has particular interests in grasslands and savanna ecosystems and in winter rainfall shrublands. He has served on the Boards of the South African National Botanical Institute and of Cape Nature and on the Editorial Boards of several journals. He has published some 200 papers and has co-authored three books. He was elected a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, in 2013.

Prof. JN (Kobus) Eloff is the founder and leader of the interdisciplinary Phytomedicine Programme, Department Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria focusing on using plants to increase animal health and productivity.  He has since graduated 46 MSc and 32 PhD students. He has previously been Executive Director National Botanic Gardens and Research Director National Botanical Institute. He has also been the Editor of SA Journal of Botany (previously for 16 years), SA Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie, International Journal for Phytomedicine, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  He has been invited to review manuscripts for 162 different scientific journals.

He has presented more than 180 papers at international scientific conferences and published more than 220 peer evaluated scientific publications with more than 5300 citations. He is the sixth most cited African scientist in all fields. He has managed project leading to African Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Several patents and products were licensed to Industrial Companies based on his group’s research.

He received B-category (internationally recognized researcher) evaluation by National Research Foundation. He has leadership role in many national and international professional societies. Some of his awards include Senior Medal and Gold medal from South African Association of Botanists, Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns Havenga medal and Gold medal, Eskom Prize for capacity development from National Science and Technology Forum and Academy for Science of South Africa Gold medal.

The Phytomedicine Programme he is running concentrates on using plants, selected by focused screening and ethnoveterinary knowledge, to treat infections/infestations by microorganisms and internal and external parasites on production animals.

Felix D. Dakora is a Professor and holder of the South African Research Chair in Agrochemurgy and Plant Symbioses at the Tshwane University of Technology. He is also Adjunct Professor to the University of Western Australia. His research interest is in the area of Plant Physiology, with emphasis on the legume/rhizobium symbiosis. His research has straddled different fields of legume science, ranging from signalling between rhizobial symbionts and their homologous hosts during nodule formation to isolation and identification of plant signals in root exudates, biosynthesis and extracellular release of bacterial signals such as lumichrome and riboflavin, quantification of   N2 fixation by diazotrophs, and the identification of legume species and genotypes that serve as biofertilizers in agricultural systems. He has published 93 peer reviewed journal articles, 15 Book Chapters and is the senior editor of a Book entitled: “Biological Nitrogen Fixation: Towards Poverty Alleviation through Sustainable Agriculture” published by Springer. In his plenary address, Professor Dakora will present a summary of research findings from his laboratory on the legume/rhizobium symbiosis and its contribution to sustainable development and improvement in the quality of livelihoods in Africa.

Associate Professor Sandy van Vuuren is currently employed in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, where she has been employed for the past 29 years. After developing a keen interest in research, she proceeded to further her studies while teaching Pharmaceutical Microbiology. She holds an MSc in Medical Microbiology and a PhD undertaken on the antimicrobial properties of South African medicinal plants. Her research interests include microbiological viability studies (medicinal plants and synthesised compounds), structure activity relationships, pharmacological interactions, essential oil composition and antimicrobial efficacy as well as any formulation studies involving antimicrobial principles.

Some of the most valuable contributions made over the last few years have been towards the field of validating the anti-infective role of medicinal plants. Investigations of the antimicrobial properties of medicinal plants are strongly focused on correlation with traditional use, specifically on pathogens related to relevant diseases. Another focus area, which brought both national and international recognition, is her scientific contribution towards combination studies where attention is given to interactions between molecules, plant parts, plants from different species, interactions between ingredients within a formulation as well as interactions between natural products and conventional antimicrobials.

Her role in postgraduate supervision not only extends to her own students (26 past and 8 currently registered students). She is also involved in training students from universities such as University of Johannesburg, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Zululand, University of KwaZulu-Natal and as far afield as Cameroon. She has co-edited two special editions for the international journal “Natural Product Communications” and presently serves on the editorial boards for “The South African Journal of Botany” and “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine”. Of the 85 ISI accredited publications authored, two have been awarded the best publication award in the years 2005 and 2006 at the International Conference on Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences. Sandy has authored or co-authored over a 123 conference contributions, many of which have been awarded prizes. She has been invited to give several keynote lectures at both local and international conferences. Prof van Vuuren currently holds a national bench mark evaluated rating (C3 NRF).

Christopher Michael Johnson is a Doctoral Candidate at Stellenbosch University. His research interests lie in exploring general themes in ecology and evolution applied to plant-pollinator interactions as well as the mechanical “fit” between flowers and pollinators. Chris’ thesis focuses on how pollinators influence the origin of plant species as well as the maintenance of communities within the Proteaceae, focusing primarily on Leucospermum. Chris was awarded the Best young scientist award at SAAB 2013 of which his study was recently published in Annals of Botany. Chris will present the findings of his macroevolutionary study on the pollination modes and reproductive strategies of Leucospermum. This research, which combines phylogenetic, morphological and pollinator data, provides an in-depth look into the diversification of one of South Africa’s most charismatic and celebrated genera.



Delegates will book their own accommodation directly with Tshipise Forever Resort where block booking has been arranged with discounted conference prices. Delegates should indicate that they are booking accommodation for SAAB 2015 Conference. Tshipise Forever Resort may be accessed at this website:


Conference schedule

11 January 2015: Arrival and meet-and-greet function

12 January 2015: Sessions, evening braai

13 January 2015: Sessions, free evening

14 January 2015: Sessions, gala dinner

15 January 2015: Morning departure



Scientific programme: Dr NA Masevhe at 015 962 8383, 084 565 0536 or and Mrs Mokganya MG at 015 962 8929, 073 324 3890 or

Accommodation: Mrs Dinah Morolana at 015 539 0634 or

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