Professor Jennifer Botha
University of the Witwatersrand
I am the Director of GENUS and previously worked at the National Museum in Bloemfontein. My research interests are in palaeobiology and palaeoecology, focusing on the life history responses of extinct vertebrates to catastrophic environmental change. Using past mass extinctions as models, I use various techniques, including biostratigraphy, morphology and osteohistology, to test theories regarding differential species survival during these extinction events. I have a special interest in palaeohistology, the study of fossil bone microstructure, which provides novel information about the life history of the vertebrates associated with past mass extinctions. My previous research has focused on the terrestrial end-Permian mass extinction, the most catastrophic biotic crisis in Phanerozoic history. My current research has expanded to include the end-Triassic extinction, focusing on sites in the Karoo Basin of South Africa. Using biostratigraphy and osteohistology, I am investigating the palaeobiology of vertebrates before and after extinction.