By: Rebecca Richard
On the 3rd of November 2021, the Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists (SASAqS) awarded medals to deserving candidates of high standard and repute in aquatic sciences. Established in 1964, SASAqS is a learned society concerned with the research, management, and conservation of inland waters throughout Southern Africa.As a Society, SASAqS has for many years provided recognition of the research and contribution of people in the aquatic sciences. This recognition comes in the form of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals. The society had the opportunity of awarding a
bronze medal to Dr. Mmabaledi Buxton who was a Ph.D. registered student from the Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology in the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST).
The society awards the bronze medal irregularly in recognition of the exceptionally high standard of a specific piece of work by a junior scientist or manager. This work shall normally be in the form of a dissertation or thesis. The bronze medal should before the best thesis in a year motivated by the supervisor, as judged by the medals committee (in the light of the examiners’ reports and review by the medals committee). Dr. Buxton’s thesis was titled ‘the bio-ecology of key mosquito vector species in Botswana: implications for shifting environments. It was the first study to assess
mosquito ecology dynamics in the Central District, Botswana, and one of the few globally focusing specifically on mosquito ecology in temporary wetlands. The body of work in his thesis has added significant insights into our understanding of the role of temporary wetlands and regional disturbances leading to mosquito proliferation dynamics. The study further discovered potential mosquito bio control alternatives and ecosystem services provided by pristine environments.
Dr. Buxton not only completed his Ph.D. within the required minimum of three years but published seven articles in reputable peer-review international journals from his thesis while other articles were still under review. Moreover, the examination panel for his Ph.D. defense unanimously rated his work as excellent and of great practical and fundamental value recommending the award of a Ph.D. degree with distinction. In addition to the fundamental contribution to science, findings from his Ph.D. work have informed the national mosquito vector program in Botswana that has implications for various local and regional community education awareness on mosquitoes and outreach programs.
Beyond this award, Dr. Buxton wishes to advance his academic and research career development in keeping with promoting a knowledge-based economy. Although Dr. Buxton is currently unemployed, he is eagerly searching for opportunities and hopes to unleash his potential in solving local and regional problems with science. Overall,Dr. Buxton reckons this award was not only prestigious and motivating for his career advancement, but was also a huge achievement to his former university (BIUST) and the nation at large.