Bontle Mataboge

PhD candidate

Thesis title: The role of oxygen in early animal communities

 Bontle's research is on the Late Ediacaran fossil record from the Nama Group, integrating fossil data with geochemical proxies to understand the role of oxygen in early animal communities. The Ediacaran Period, ~635–541 million years ago (Ma), represents a critical interval where the oceans experienced significant changes in oxygen concentration and simultaneously, the first multicellular animals emerged. The Nama Group, a unique succession of fossiliferous carbonate rocks and shales found in Namibia and South Africa, spans the terminal stages of the Ediacaran. The oxygen levels of ancient oceans can be determined using geochemical proxies such as iron (Fe) speciation, cerium (Ce) anomalies and I/(Ca + Mg) ratios. 3D imaging techniques, such as micro-CT, will be applied to resolve the taxonomy and ecology of enigmatic fossils found in these sections. These two datasets will then be integrated to understand the role of local and global oxygen availability in the evolution of early complex ecosystems.

 Supervisors: Dr Rosalie Tostevin (UCT), Professor Rachel Wood FRS (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Wendy Taylor (UCT)

 Research interests: Palaeoecology, Palaeoredox, Ediacaran

Latest Publications

More publications on: Research Gate

  1. Mataboge, B., Bernard, A.T.F., Potts, W.M. & James, N.C. 2020. Comparing activity levels of exploited & unexploited fish populations under stressful physiological conditions. Pp. 58–59 in Linefish resilience in the Anthropocene: The proceedings of the 5th Southern African Marine Linefish Symposium.
  2. Mataboge, B., Beaudet, A., Heaton, J.L., Pickering, T.R. & Stratford, D. 2019. Endostructural assessment of a hominin maxillary molar (StW 669) from Milner Hall, Sterkfontein, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 115, 106–109.


  1. Master of Science (Ichthyology), Rhodes University
  2. BSc Honours (Palaeontology), University of the Witwatersrand
  3. BSc (Biological Sciences), University of the Witwatersrand

Awards and Scholarships

  1. Commonwealth Split-Site PhD Scholarship Host university: University of Edinburgh (UoE)