Gobabeb is a catalyst for gathering, disseminating and implementing understanding of arid environments. Since its founding, Gobabeb has focused on producing high quality in-house research and on supporting the efforts of scientists from southern Africa and around the world.
Research at Gobabeb is conducted both in pursuit of greater scientific understanding and in promoting environmental education and sustainable management. Work done by researchers at Gobabeb is adapted into the Centre’s Training Programme, providing dynamic and relevant content for students and learners to engage in. Through various training programmes at all levels of education Gobabeb hopes to use science to inform and inspire the next generation of environmental leaders and decision makers.
We focus on facilitating and supporting scientific activities in a number of themes, each headed by a well-known and high-profile scientist in that specific field. We support their research by providing technical assistance and lab facilities, facilitating permit applications, maintaining (and/or supplying) equipment, and providing access to our unparalleled knowledge centre.
Science Theme Groups
Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology Theme
The earth's climate is a hot topic at Gobabeb, with a weather record dating back to 1962, and several atmospheric research projects conducted in partnership with scientists from Germany and the USA.
Conservation Physiology Theme
Conservation physiology employs studies of function of live animals in natural habitats, to improve conservation practices. Animals studied at Gobabeb have ranged from tenebrionid, beetles (called toktokkies or darkling beetles) to golden moles, with outcomes applicable, far beyond the Namib. Current emphasis is on the effects of climate change on Namib biota.
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Microbiology and Fungi
Microorganisms include viruses, prokaryotes (bacteria, and archaea), and microscopic single- and multi-cellular, eukaryotes including fungi, algae and protozoa, including, lichens. Despite the extreme aridity, microbes abound, abundant in the Namib Desert.
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Mining and exploration (for uranium, lead, iron, diamonds, zinc and much more), tourism and marginal agriculture are all potential threats to the unique biodiversity, of the Namib Desert. Ecological restoration is a key to mitigating the impacts, of these activities, thus allowing contradictory land-uses more options to co-exist. Through NERMU, Gobabeb facilitates and conducts a number of restoration ecology, research projects.
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Research that we are famous for
The Centre has been the locus of much of the basic research on Namib Desert and, more broadly, the ecology of southern African deserts and arid lands. Every year more than a 100 scientists visit Gobabeb to undertake research and in the past 50 years over 2000 publications has been produced at Gobabeb. This research has deeply enriched our understanding of the character and function of arid environments.
Resources for visiting scientists:
Every year Post-doctoral, PhD, MSc, BTech, and other degree candidates from southern Africa and all over the world come to conduct field research at Gobabeb. Gobabeb also offers local thesis supervision to selected students each year. Overall, more than 80 PhD and MSc projects have been completed at Gobabeb. Gobabeb partners with a wide array of institutions located within Namibia and across the globe.
The research done at Gobabeb focuses primarily on aspects of climate, ecology, biology, geology, and geomorphology of the desert landscape. However, we encourage research on any topic and will facilitate research projects based on their merit and pending appropriate permits.Please feel free to contact Gobabeb if you are interested in conducting research at or near the Centre. Some researchers, acting with the support of Gobabeb, work as much as several hundred kilometers from the actual station. Wherever you want to work in the Namib (or in some cases elsewhere in Southern Africa), Gobabeb can partially or fully facilitate your research.
Researchers can be assured of the excellent support of Gobabeb staff. Two full-time research technicians as well as occasional interns are available to assist in data collection, and a full-time IT assistant maintains a functional network and internet connection. Through this array of logistical support, Gobabeb hopes to offer its researchers sufficient facilities in a remote location.
We have the following facilities:
- Lab space and equipment for storing and analyzing samples
- Rentable storage space for long-term storage of equipment at very reasonable rates
- Private and semi-private office space
- A specialized arid ecology library with more than 1860 books, journals and a digital, searchable database and archive
- Internet connection
- Research supervision
- Logistical support for field projects
- Comfortable accommodation at reasonable rates for scientists
- Variety of vehicle support
- Administrative support