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Robertson, Hamish Gibson (1959-)

Currently Director of Natural History Collections in Iziko Museums of Cape Town (based at the South African Museum). He is an entomologist, specialising in ants.

Sifting leaf litter on Maji Kununua, Mkomazi Game Reserve, Tanzania, May 1995.

Digging up Pachycondyla hottentota ant nest on Koeberg Hill, just north of Cape Town.

Research and publications


Date  Age Events
23 April 1959 0 Born in Claremont, Cape Town to Marian Joy Sedgwick Robertson (née Spilhaus) and James MacIntosh Robertson; the middle of three sons (eldest brother Ian Spilhaus Robertson and youngest brother Graham Whiting Robertson).
1965-71 5-12  Educated at Grove Primary School, Claremont, Cape Peninsula.
1970 11 Became a keen bird watcher. Until the end of high school, spent many hours over the weekends and holidays bird watching, the favourite haunt being the Strandfontein Sewerage Works in the Cape Peninsula!
1972-1976 12-17 Educated at Westerford High School, Rondebosch, Cape Peninsula.
1977-1979 17-20 Studied for B.Sc (majoring in Zoology) at University of Cape Town.
1980 20-21 Did Honours in Zoology at University of Cape Town. During this year switched major interest from birds to insects.
1981-January 1985 21-25 Started M.Sc. converted to Ph.D. in Entomology at Rhodes University (supervisor Professor V.C. Moran). Title of thesis was: "The ecology of Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Phycitidae) in relation to its effectiveness as a biological control agent of prickly pear and jointed cactus in South Africa". Ants were important predators of the eggs and other life stages of C. cactorum and their systematics, ecology and biology became a major sphere of research after this. In 1981 and 1982 also did the two undergraduate courses in Entomology.
21 January 1984   Married Rosalind ('Lindy') Nina Burnham King, a social worker, in Cape Town.
1985-1986  25-27 Temporary Junior Lecturer in Entomology at Rhodes University.
1987-1988 27-29 Took up two-year Post-doctoral Fellowship at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
1989- 29-34 Head of Entomology Department at South African Museum.
4 October 1989 30 Birth of son David Alexander Robertson.
1 Nov 1993-present. 34- Appointed Head of Life Sciences Division at South African (the Entomology, Marine Biology and Terrestrial Vertebrate Departments were combined into this division).
2 Nov 1993 34 Birth of son Duncan James Robertson.
2003-present   Director Natural History Collections, Iziko Museums of Cape Town.

Specimens collected

Almost all specimens are housed in the Iziko South African Museum.

Text by Hamish G. Robertson  

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