Dr Helen Barber-James is a Freshwater Biologist based at National Museums of Northern Ireland, where she is Senior Curator of Natural Sciences. Previously, she was head of the Department Freshwater Invertebrates at the Albany Museum in Makhanda (Grahamstown), South Africa, where she was based for over 30 years. She continues to support projects at the Albany Museum and is still a Senior Research Associate of the Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University.
Her research focuses on the diversity, systematics, biogeography and ecology of freshwater insects. Past projects include Kruger National Park rivers research (2012-2016), the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)/Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) – GBIF BID African Insect Atlasing Project (2015-2018), and a collaborative project with the South African Earth Observation Network (SAEON) on the Thukela River (2020-2022). She has been part of the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project since 2015, where she is lead entomologist https://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/okavango/who/.
From 2006 to 2019, she was the SASS5 river biomonitoring accreditor for the Eastern Cape Province (South Africa). She was a member of the Society for Conservation Biology Freshwater Working Group (2016 – 2021). Other involvements include being on the IUCN Species Survival Commission Mayfly, Stonefly and Caddisfly Specialist Group, and the Permanent Committee of the International conferences of Plecoptera and Ephemeroptera. She was a Section Editor with the European Journal of Taxonomy (February 2020 – March 2022). She has recently become a member of the Irish Freshwater Society and continues to be a member of the Freshwater Biological Association, Windermere. Lists of African mayfly (Ephemeroptera) species can be found on Ephemeroptera Galactica.