Staff Members

Home » Prof Michelle van der Bank
Prof Michelle Van Der Bank

Name: Michelle van der Bank
Location: D3 LAB 115 Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Botany & Plant Biotechnology Academic Staff  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: +27(0)11 559 3477


Curriculum Vitae Michelle van der Bank

About Prof Michelle van der Bank

Michelle van der Bank received her PhD in Botany from the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg, South Africa) in 1996. She is a Professor in Botany at the University of Johannesburg and Director of the African Centre for DNA Barcoding (ACDB). ACDB’s mission is to fill the knowledge gap and strengthen research frameworks for international, regional and inter-institutional co-operation in Africa in the field of DNA technology for biodiversity science. Her research group uses molecular phylogenetics, comparative analyses and intensive fieldwork to address questions relevant to biodiversity conservation in Africa.

Highest qualificationPhD
Field(s) of researchPlant Systematics, Plant DNA Barcoding, Conservation
Teaching ActivitiesPlant Taxonomy (BOT03B3)
The primary purpose of this module as an integral part of Life and Environmental Sciences is to provide students with a well-rounded and broad education that equips them with the necessary taxonomic, nomenclatural and floristic knowledge base, theory and methodology.Plant Systematics & Molecular Evolution (BOT8X03)
The primary purpose of this module as an integral part of the BSc Hons. (Botany and Plant Biotechnology) program is to provide students with a well-rounded and broad education that equips them with knowledge of the dynamics of evolutionary change at the molecular level, the driving forces behind the evolutionary process, and the effects of various molecular mechanisms on the long-term evolution of genomes, genes and their products as well as phylogenetic analyses. In addition, examples on how molecular phylogenies have transformed systematics are discussed in detail. Students are introduced to the classification systems of Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, Cronquist, Judd et al. and Thorne.
​List of publications (20 most recent​Williamson J, Maurin O, Shiba SNS, Van der Bank H, Pfab M, Pilusa M, Kabongo RM, Van der Bank M. 2016. Exposing the illegal trade in Encephalartos species at the Faraday and Warwick traditional medicine markets in South Africa using DNA barcoding. Genome (in press)

Hollingsworth PM, Li D-H, Van der Bank M, Twyford AD. 2016. Telling plant species apart with DNA: from barcodes to genomes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 20150338. (in press)

Hoveka LH, Bezeng SB, Yessoufou K, Boatwright JS, Van der Bank M. 2016. Effects of climate change on the future distributions of the top five freshwater aquatic invasive plants in South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 102: 33-34.

Hoveka LH, Van der Bank M, Boatwright JS, Bezeng SB, Yessoufou K. 2016. The noncoding trnH-psbA spacer, as an effective DNA barcode for aquatic freshwater plants, reveals prohibited invasive species in aquarium trade in South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 102: 208-216.

Davies TJ, Daru BH, Van der Bank M, Maurin O, Bond WJ. 2016. Multiple routes underground? Frost alone cannot explain the evolution of underground trees. New Phytologist 209: 910-912.

Daru, BH, Van der Bank M, Maurin O, Yessoufou K, Schaefer H, Slingsby JA, Davies TJ. 2016. A novel phylogenetic regionalization of phytogeographical zones of southern Africa reveals their hidden evolutionary affinities. Journal of Biogeography 43(1): 155-166. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12619.

Bello A, Daru BH, Stirton CH, Chimphango SBM, Van der Bank M, Maurin O, Muasya AM. 2015. DNA barcodes reveal microevolutionary signals in fire response trait in two legume genera. AoB PLANTS 7: plv124.

Boatwright JS, Maurin O, Van der Bank M. 2015. Phylogenetic position of Madagascan Acacia s.l. species and new combinations in Senegalia and Vachellia (Leguminosae, Mimosoideae, Acacieae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 179: 288-294.

Bezeng SB, Davies TJ, Yessoufou K, Maurin O, Van der Bank M. 2015. Revisiting Darwin’s naturalization conundrum: explaining invasion success of non-native trees and shrubs in southern Africa. Journal of Ecology 103: 871-879.

Manning JC, Boatwright JS, Daru BH, Maurin O, Van der Bank M. 2014. A phylogenetic classification of Asphodelaceae subfamily Alooideae: towards a resolution of the prickly issue of polyphyly in Haworthia. Systematic Botany 39: 55-74.

Daru BH, Van der Bank M, Davies TJ. 2014. Spatial incongruence among hotspots and complementary areas of tree diversity in southern Africa. Diversity and Distributions 21: 769-780.

Sethusa MT, Millar IM, Yessoufou K, Jacobs A, Van der Bank M, Van der Bank FH 2014. DNA barcode efficacy for the identification of economically important scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) in South Africa. African Entomology 22: 257–266.

Yessoufou K, Bamigboye SO, Daru BH, Van der Bank M 2014. Evidence of constant diversification punctuated by a mass extinction in the African cycad. Ecology and Evolution 4: 50-58.

Maurin O, Davies TJ, Burrows JE, Daru BH, Yessoufou K, Muasya AM, Van der Bank M, Bond WJ 2014. Savanna fire and the origins of the “underground forests” of Africa. New Phytologist 204: 201-214.

Yessoufou K, Davies TJ, Maurin O, Kuzmina M, Schafer H, Van der Bank M, Savolainen V. 2013. Large herbivores favour species diversity but have mixed impacts on phylogenetic community structure in African savannah ecosystem. Journal of Ecology 101 (3): 614-625.

Kyalangalilwa B , Boatwright JS, Daru BH, Maurin O, Van der Bank M. 2013. Phylogenetic position and revised classification of the African Acacia species (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 172: 500-523.

Bezeng BS, Savolainen V, Yessoufou K, Papadopulos XST, Maurin O, Van der Bank M. 2013. A phylogenetic approach towards understanding the drivers of plant invasiveness on Robben Island, South Africa. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 172 (2): 142-152.

Mankga LT, Yessoufou K, Moteetee AM, Daru BH, Van der Bank M. 2013.  Efficacy of the core DNA barcodes in identifying processed and poorly conserved plant materials commonly used in South African traditional medicine. ZooKeys 365:  215-233.

Gere J, Yessoufou K, Daru BH, Maurin O, Mankga LT, Van der Bank M. 2013.  Incorporating trnH-psbA to core DNA barcodes improves discrimination of species within southern African Combretaceae. ZooKeys 365:  127-147.

Daru BH, Manning JC, Boatwright JS, Maurin O, Maclean N, Schaefer H, Kuzmina M, Van der Bank M.  2012.  Molecular and morphological analysis of subfamily Alooideae (Asphodelaceae) and the inclusion of Chortolirion in Aloe. Taxon 62:  62-76.

Cycads DNA Barcodes

iBOL Barcod​e Bulletin June 2016