October 2015
Contents / home
Global science engagement project
National Science Week activities
Science breaks barriers
Hydrogen fuel cell technology
Science that no classroom can teach
SAASTA empowers community
New CEO takes over reins at NRF
Hydrogen awareness website
Work shadowing at SAIAB
Field school for students
Meet Dr Zikhona Tetana
Improving technology education
Weather stations in schools
Street science
Space science appreciation
International Year of Light
Monitoring river health
Sasol Techno X prizes
In the news
Upcoming events
It's a fact!

Work shadowing at SAIAB

  Jamie Ayliffe holds a specimen of Mulloidichthys ayliffe, a goatfish named after her dad
  Jamie works alongside Taryn Bodill, Molecular Laboratory Manager at SAIAB
  Jamie works with Yonela Sithole, MSc student at SAIAB researching eel taxonomy
  Dr Gavin Gouws, Senior Scientist at SAIAB, assisted by Jamie with running gels in the Molecular Laboratory
Jamie Ayliffe, a Grade 11 learner from Southern Cross Schools in Hoedspruit (Limpopo Province), spent a week of her recent holiday at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) to learn about and gain experience in the field of Aquatic Biodiversity.

Jamie said: "Growing up in Sodwana Bay, and having a dad as a scuba instructor, my passion for the ocean, and for exploring its reefs while scuba diving, started at a very early age. My scuba-diving dad is a fish guru, and with help from Dr Phil and Elaine Heemstra from SAIAB, was able to identify a new, undescribed species of goatfish."

The species was later named Mulloidichthys ayliffe, after Jamie's father, by Dr Franz Uiblein from the Institute of Marine Research, Norway. This was a strong motivation for Jamie to look into ichthyology as a possible career and to apply to spend some time work shadowing at SAIAB.

Exploring marine science as a career

Jamie was able to work alongside some of the researchers, postdocs and students, experiencing a range of the research activities at SAIAB, from taxonomy through ecophysiology to genetics and barcoding. "I learned and experienced so many new and amazing things, met incredible people and I think I now have my mind set on becoming an ichthyologist," said Jamie at the end of her week of work shadowing.

"With experiencing and exploring through the different doors that SAIAB holds open for young people like me, I have hope that my generation can be the future 'ocean-warriors' and spread the word of the oceans' importance; be it through taxonomy, genetics or even physiology."

Through the ACEP Biosurrogacy Project, SAIAB has links with the Wildlands Ocean Stewards initiative. This initiative aims to spark the emergence of passionate, well-equipped ocean stewards by providing young students with the background that gives them unique insights into marine conservation and inspires them to pursue marine science as a career.

Vanessa Rouhani, SAIAB