About Robert Skelton

Current pursuits

I am a research scientist who likes thinking about biology. In my paid time I am a Future Leader of African Independent Research (FLAIR) Fellow working at the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON). SAEON is a government sponsored organisation mandated with generating and managing long term data pertaining to South Africa’s environment. My role is as a plant physiologist: to understand how the plants are functioning. SAEON has many nodes scattered around South Africa; I work at the Fynbos Node in Cape Town. In my spare time I enjoy reading about various interesting aspects of biology, especially natural and popular science.

Brief back story

I grew up in the city formerly known as Grahamstown and now Makhanda. I moved to Cape Town to study at the University of Cape Town, where I obtained my PhD in 2014. After completing my training, I roamed around the world studying plant physiology (and marvelling at the wondrous diversity out there). I worked as a postdoc at the University of Tasmania for two years and then at the University of California Berkeley for the next three. After five years in the wilderness I realised that it was time to return home to South Africa.

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