Botany & Zoology
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Postgraduate Studies

​​​​​​​​​Honours guide- for prospective students

Honours - Timetable - Course Outline

BScHons-MSc-PhD Opportunities - for prospective students

Research Groups

Postgraduate Student Guide - for prospective students

Conversion from Masters to Phd - Faculty Guidelines

Faculty of Science Website​

Current Postgraduate students

Student Representatives


Nikki Phair





Honours Students 2017

NameSupervisor Project Title

Tiaan Barnard

Prof. S Clusella-TrullasThermoregulation of ecotherms (lizards) in competimng environment
Delene BezuidenhoutDr T. Robinson 
Mari BrinkProf. L. Dreyer, Dr K OberlanderPhylogenetic significance of seedling morphology in South African Oxalis
Kathryn GardnerProf. T. Wossler 
Kerry GreyProf. G. MidgleyPredictive understandig of global climate change risks to endangred indigenous flora: Aloidendron dichotomum (Quiver tree)
Bianca HagenDr S. KumschickComparison between 3 impact scoring systems using mammals as a template
Oli HansenProf. G. Midgley, S von der HeydenPaleoclimate modelling of predator-prey interaction (penguins-sardines)
Wesley HartmannProf. T. Wossler, A Ellis 
Kapdi KhatjaProf. B AndersonLearning in the Cape Honeybee
David KesnerDr S. KumschickImpact scoring of alien invasive Molluscs of South Africa
Keanu MartinProf. B Anderson 
Caveshlin NaidooDr C. SimonThe identification and use of bloodworms in the Western Cape
Wian NiemanDr A Leslie, Prof. T WosslerIdentification assesment of anthropogenic to the persistence of leoprad in two adjacent UNESCO biosphere reserves in Western Cape, South Africa.
Nikki VorsterDr T. RobinsonWinner takes all? Competition between alien and native colonial ascidians
Staci WarringtonProf. J Le RouxTesting major plant-microbial mutualism hypotheses in invasion ecology: a case study using legumes and rhizobia
Carina WesselsProf. C MattheePhylogeographic structure of the soft tick (Ornithodoros capensis), found in the nests of a seabird that cannot fly (Spheniscus demersus).

MSc Students

Name Supervisor/Promotor Division/SubjectSubject title
Dale AbrahamsDr RV RambauEvolutionary GenomicsChromosomal reanngements in Otomys across the transition zone in the Eastern Cape.
Robyn Adams Dr Tammy Robinson, Dr Charles von der Meden, Dr Lara Atkinson, Prof. Isabelle AnsorgeMarine BiologyLong-term epifaunal assemblage changes at a sub-Antarctic Marine Protected Area.
Luca AfonsoDr M GaertnerInvasion BiologyUrban plant invasions: how to prioritise assess manage and eradicate emerging species; Cape Town as a case study.
Casparus Du PlessisProf. NP Makunga, Dr G StaffordMedicinal Plant BiologyMedicinal pant and ecological knowledge assessed using ethnobotanical approaches in the Griqua people of South Africa
Brian Du PreezProf. L Dreyer, Prof. A ValentineBotanySystematic revision of Polhillia (Leguminoceane)
Amy EdwardesProf. G MidgleyClimate Change biologyThe Ecophysiological and growth responses of Nama Karoo shrub and grass forms to simulated climate warming and rainfall seasonality shift
Mizpah HoffmanProf. NP MakungaMedicinal Plant BiologyMetabolomic characterisation and pharmacology of Dodonaea viscosa Jacq
Katie KeanlyDr T RobinsonMarine/Invasion BiologyEncapsulating yachts to manage the transfer of marine alien species
Judith KushataProf. M Cherry, W Conradie Phylogeography and diversity of Anurans in the Eastern Cape forests, South Africa
Dianah KutamaProf. Susana Clusella-Trullas Investigating parasite-host dynamics in a fungal-alien beetle system
Chris La GrangeProf. NP Makunga, DrH VolschenkBotanyScreening of in vitro antifungal activity of medicinally important Cape flora plants against Cryptococcus neoformans
Marike LouwDr J MeaseyInvasion BiologyAlien plants and calling animals: Using acoustic arrays to examine the effects of invasive flora on local fauna in the fynbos biome.
Nkoliso MagonaProf. JR WilsonInvasion BiologyDetermining the invasive status of Australian acacias in South Africa and the potential for eradicating species with limited distributions.
Eugene MaraisProf. JH Van Wyk Potential sources of poisoning in ruminants with special reference to giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) on a private game reserve in the Little Karoo.
Nozibusiso Amanda MbongwaProf. S Von der HeydenEvolutionary GenomicsSpecies richness and phylogenetic diversity of South AFRICAN sandy beach species: Implications for the conservation of sandy beach ecosystems
Philip McleanDr M GaertnerInvasion BiologyWhy are the constraints faced by less well-resourced category B municipalities in South Africa implementing strategies for invasive Alien species management?
Luisa MoraisProf. TC WosslerBehavioural EcologyVocal dialects in large assemblies: A study of European starling roosts in introduced ranges.
Ella MorranProf. S Clusella-Trullas Effects of alien plant invasions on a small epidemic tortoise Homopus areolatus
Jake MulvaneyProf. M Cherry  
Khensani NkunaDr Sabrina KumschickInvasion BiologyRisk assessment of alien grasses in South Africa.
Olamide OmolewaDr RV RambauEvolutionary GenomicsPopulation structuring of the woodland dormice Graphiurus murinus in southern african
Bryone PetersProf Theresa Wossler Behavioral and chemical death-feigning characteristics in the defence strategy used by the ant Tetramorium
Matilda RandleProf. GF Midgley Impacts of warming on woody plants in savannas
Amir Sadat RezaeiProf S Von Der HeydenZoologyDid rapid adaptation drive the recent divergence between estuarine and marine clinus species? Insights from next-generation sequencing.
Safiyya SedickDr C SimonMarine BiologySyllidae (Annelida Polychaeta): Diversity of alien and indigenous species along the rocky shores of the Western Cape South Africa.
Lisa SkeinDr TB RobinsonMarine BilogyThe subtidal invasion of the mussel Semimytilus algosus and its implications for predator-prey interactions along the South African coastline.
Kirstin StephensProf. JJ Le Roux Determining the incidence and extent of hybridization between non-native Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) and native yellow-billed ducks (Anas undulata) in South Africa.
Cheruscha SwartDr TB RobinsonZoologyA global assessment of invasive nearshore marine predators and the threat they pose along the South African coastline
Genevieve TheronProf. BC AndersonBiological InteractionsEvidence of pollinator-driven selection on floral traits in Ferraria (Iridaceae).
Alta ZietsmanProf. GF MidgleyClimate changeUsing the photochemical reflectance index as an indicator of plant stress in response to changing environmental conditions i Marion Island plant communities

PhD Students


Promotor Division/SubjectSubject title
Karla AlujevicProf. S Clusella-Trullas, Dr M LoganEcophysiologyDoes behaviour mediate evolutionary trajectories to climate adaption?
Christopher BoscProf. Anton Pauw, Prof. Cang Hui & Dr Francois RoetsAnimal-Plant InteractionArthropod communities in Fynbos (South Africa) and their interactions with plants, fire and birds
Susan CanavanProf. D Richardson, Prof. JR WilsonPlant Invasion BiologyBamboo introductions an assessment of the potential impacts and developing guidelines.
Claire DavisProf. GF MidgleyGlobal Change BiologyIntegrating remotely sensed vegetation indices and dynamic global vegetation model to quantify vegetation change and ecological resilience to climate change across sub-Saharan Africa.
Arno De KlerkProf. JH van Wyk, A-M Oberholster (Genetics), P Oberholster (CSIR)ZoologyA Comparative study of two river systems using abiotic, biotic and molecular indicators
Genevieve DiedericksProf. C Hui, Dr S von der Heyden, Dr OLF WeylInvasion BiologyDetermining the mechanisms driving the invasion success of the Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)
Nanike EsterhuizenProf. TC WosslerBehavioural EcologyThe botanical origin physicochemical properties and antibacterial activity of selected West Coast honeys.
Lida-Mari GroenewaldProf. AJ ValentineBotanyGene regulation of P nutrition in nodule root and arbuscular mycorrhiza in the module legume Medicago truncatula during P deficiency
Yordan HristovProf. TC WosslerBehavioural EcologyInvestigations on some epizootological and clinical aspects of nosemosis in Apis mellifera capensis
Michelle JoosteProf. L Dreyer, Prof. GF Midgley, Dr K OberlanderGlobal Change BiologyDiversity and nature of endophytic associations of southern African Oxalis
Jyothi KaraDr CA SimonMarine BiologyTaxonomic and molecular assessment of apparently alien and cosmopolitan Nereididae Blainville 1818 polychaetes from South Africa
Jan-Hendrik KeetProf. J Le RouxInvasion Biology - BotanyUnderstanding the biodiversity impacts of invasive legumes: Investigating changes in below ground mutualistic networks soil conditions and soil function in response to invasions.
Jurene KempProf. AG EllisBotanyPollinator filtering in a Namaqualand daisy
Jess LeaverProf. N MakungaMedicinal Plant biologyAn assessment of the impact of harvesting in forests by rural communities in the Eastern Cape Province and the contribution that this makes towards the bio-economy.
Sandra MacfaydenProf. C HuiBotanyLinking long-term landscape heterogeneity patterns to changes of ecosystem processes in the Kruger National Park
Clova MabinDr TB RobinsonMarine BiologyCarcinus maenas in South Africa: Status impacts and management
Sandra MacfadyenProf C Hui Linking long-term landscape heterogeneity patterns to changes of ecosystem processes in the Kruger National Park South Africa
Martins VusumziDr RV RambauEvolutionary GenomicsEstimating gene flow in forest dependent taxa: population genetics of Myosorex in natural forest fragments of the Eastern Cape'
Lisa Mertens

Dr S von der Heyden, Dr S Clusella-Trullas

Molecular Ecology/Marine researchAssessing the evolutionary and physiological resilience of southern African marine species
Corneile Minnaar Prof. Bruce AndersonAnimal-Plant InteractionsPollinators and Pollen Fate
Ingrid MinnaarDr S Clusella-TrullasZoologyIs insect invasiveness associated with functional traits and their plasticity?
Luyanda Ndlela

Dr Oberholster, Prof Johannes Hendrik Van Wyk

EcophysiologyBiological control pf toxic cyanobacteria and the resulting ecotoxicity
Zama Ndovela  The plant energy costs incurred by nitrogen metabolism in different bacterial species in phosphate stressed Virgilia divaricata legumes
Mlungele Nsikani

Dr Mirijam Gaertner, Prof Brian Van Wilgen

Plant Invasion BiologySoil enrichment following invasion by Acacia species as a barrier to autogenic ecosystem recovery in the fynbos ecosystem
Koebraa PetersDr TB Robinson, Dr K Sink SANBI)Marine ResearchAssessing the intra-regional transfer of marine alien species along the South African coastline
David PhairProf. TC WosslerBehavioural EcologySocial organisation and pathogen transmission in African ants: at what point do social immunity benefits diminish?
Nikki PhairProf. S Von der HeydenEvolutionary GenomicsVulnerability Resilience and Adaptation: The Future for the Seagrass Zostera capensis
Luke PotgieterDr M Gaertner, Prof. B Van WilgenPlant Invasion BiologyAssessing the impacts of invasive alien plants on urban ecosystem services
Terry ReynoldsDr Simon van Noort, Prof CA MattheeEvolutionary genomicsSystematics and evolution of the Afrotropical Ichneumonidae (Hymenoptera)
Marius RossouwProf. G MidgleyBotanyFunctional responses of Blechnum penna-marina to environmental gradients in tundra environments
Rochelle ThuynsmaProf. AJ ValentineMolecular Plant PhysiologyThe role of lupin clusters roots in nitrogen metabolism during P deficiency
Darryn WhisgaryProf. AJ ValentineMolecular Plant PhysiologyThe phosphate tolerance of bacterial species in relation to biological nitrogen fixation in Virgilia divaricata
Louisa WoodProf. SR DanielsZoologyPhylogeographic patterning in the Cape Freshwater Prawn (Palaemon capensis: De Man 1897) and selective freshwater taxa in the Cape Floristic Region
Samkele ZonyaneDr NP MakungaMedicinal Plant ResearchGenetic mapping of Sutherlandia frutescens populations growing in different geographical locations in South Africa for the understanding of chemotypic variations