Margaretha Hofmeyr, Ph.D.

Margaretha is a Zoologist who obtained her first degrees at Stellenbosch University and her Ph.D. at Cape Town University, South Africa. She taught at the University of the Western Cape where she now serves as Professor Emeritus. She is a member of the IUCN SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group and coordinated the species accounts of Southern African tortoises for the South African Reptile Conservation Assessment and the IUCN Red List. She is an Associate Editor (Herpetology) for African Zoology and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of African Herpetology. Margaretha was awarded the Sabin Turtle Conservation Prize in 2014 and is a founder member of the Southern Africa Tortoise Conservation Trust.

Her initial research focused on mammals but she switched to chelonians in 1996 after realizing how little was known about the diverse tortoise fauna of Southern Africa. Over the years, Margaretha and students studied the biology and ecology of six endemic tortoise species, including the Critically Endangered geometric tortoise. Thanks to Gerald Kuchling, she is one of few people who use ultrasonography to study tortoise reproduction. This technique proved highly valuable when assessing the conservation status of geometric tortoises. At an early stage, several lines of evidence in her research indicated that the local tortoise fauna was more diverse than recognized. Consequently, she teamed up with molecular biologists to clarify the relationships and taxonomy of African chelonians. Her current research focuses on the diversity, taxonomy, distribution and niche requirements of Southern African tortoises. Much of her efforts are invested in tortoise conservation, particularly programs to save geometric tortoises.