Botany & Zoology
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Postgraduate Studies

Honours guide- for prospective students

Honours 2016 - 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

Current Postgraduate students

Student Representatives


Nikki Phair



Hendre Van Rensburg


Honours Students 2016

Name Supervisor Project Title

Annie Basson

Dr J Measey The effects of different predators on survival of early stages of African clawed frog. 
Reece Bolus Prof C Matthee Testing the effect of upwelling on the spacial genetic distribution of Cape hake, Merluccius capensis, in the Benguela system 
Johannes Bothma Prof C Matthee The phylogeographic pattern of the endoparasite nematode,  Neoheligmeonella capensis and possible cophylogeny with its host genus Rhabdomys.
Richelle Brink Dr T Robinson The response of mussels to predators: What are the implications of optimal foraging theory for mussel invasion?
Celeste De Kock Prof L Mouton Male- male competition as a determination of osteoderm expression in the graceful crag lizard, Hemicordylus capensis 
Steffan Di Leva Prof N Makunga Soil chemistry and microbial diversity influences on Sceletium tortuosum alkaloids
Megan Dreyer Prof S Daniels A phylogeography study of the  snail Chondrocyclus isipingoensis species complex  (Mollusca: Gastropoda) reveals marked cryptic species diversity
Brian Du Preez Prof L Dreyer Chloroplast captive and potential fitness effects of hybridisation in South African Oxalis
Michelle Fourie Prof S Von der Heyden Phylogeographic distribution of Tropiometra carinata and Comanthus wahlbergii (crinoids)
Nicolene Hellstrom Dr S Kumschick Impact assessment of invasive reptiles in South Africa and worldwide
Mizpah Hoffman Prof N Makunga & Dr G Stafford Role of alkaloids in chemical defence in Clivia miniata (Amaryllidaceae) against herbivory by Brithys crini/ Noctuidae (caterpillar) 
Kayla Killian Dr V Rambau Assessing and comparing bat activity in the Eastern Cape Forests
Kyle Kulenkampff Prof S Daniels Phylogeography of the common slug eating snake, Duberria lutrix  (Reptilia: Serpentia), reveals the impact of climatic oscillation within South Africa
Jessica Oosthuyse Prof N Makunga Evaluating the level of forest plant resource use by local Xhosa communities surrounding the Amatole mistbelt forests, South Africa 
Matilda Randle Prof G Midgley Comparing the effects of canopy cover increase on grass biomass between Dichrostachys cinera and Terminalia sericea
Melissa Schulze Prof S Von der Heyden Parentage analysis of Muraenoclinus dorsalis (nose-stripe  klipfish) along the Western Cape coast of South Africa 
Sian Seymour Prof G Midgley How paleoclimatic changes  in sea surface temperature and sea level have shaped contemporary species richness along the coastline of South Africa 
Jenna Van Berkel Prof S Clusella-Trullas Investigating the inter-individual variation of preferred body temperature in Agama atra under different physiological conditions 
Hendre Van Rensburg Dr J Measey Consistent personality syndromes and its ties to dispersal in the invasive African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis.

MSc Students 2016

Name Supervisor/Promotor Division/Subject Subject 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 BiologySpatial- and temporal changes in epi-faunal sub-Antarctic assemblages: towed camera imagery as a surveying tool within an MPA
Luca AfonsoDr M GaertnerInvasion BiologyUrban plant invasions: how to prioritise assess manage and eradicate emerging species; Cape Town as a case study.
Pieter Botha Prof. A PauwPlant-Animal InteractionsThe world without birds: an experimental test of the ecological significance of pollinating birds for plant communities
Casey BroomDr S Clusella-Trullas Dr S von der HeydenCLIMEThermal tolerance, preferences and implications of climate change for Clinus superciliosus
Susan CanavanDr JR Wilson, Prof. DM RichardsonInvasion BiologyBamboo in South Africa: An assessment of potential impacts and developing guidelines for cultivation best practices
Casparus Du PlessisDr NP Makunga, Dr G StaffordMedicinal Plant BiologyMedicinal pant and ecological knowledge assessed using ethnobotanical approaches in the Griqua people of South Africa
Zishan EbrahimDr GJ MeaseyHerpetologyAmphibian conservation in an urban park: A spatial approach to quantifying threats to Anura in Table Mountain National Park.
Amy Edwardes   
Madelaine FrazenburgProf. L DreyerBotanyAnatomical survey of the formation of primary xylem and nutrients supply to the reproductive apple bud.
Lida-Mari GroenewaldProf AJ Valentine, Dr Aleysia Kleinert Plant PhysiologyDetermining the development of
phosphate stress in Medicago truncatula
Llewellyn JacobsDr JR Wilson, Prof DM Richardson BotanyA global review of non-native Melaleuca (Myrtaceae) species and assessment of potentially invasive species in South Africa
Jacques Jansen Van RensburgProf DM RichardsonInvasion BiologyManaging invasive alien plants on private land in the Western Cape - insights
Rashawe KgopongProf TC WosslerInvasion BiologyVariation in springtail diversity with plant type on sub-Antarctic Marion.
Judith KushataProf. M Cherry, W Conradie Phylogeography and diversity of Anurans in the Eastern Cape forests, South Africa
Chris La GrangeDr 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
Tandokazi MaganganaDr NP MakungaBotanyInfluence of growth promoting agents on the physiology and metabolites of the sweet medicinal plant, Stevia rebaudiana
Nkoliso MagonaProf. JR WilsonInvasion BiologyDetermining the invasive status of Australian acacias in South Africa and the potential for eradicating species with limited distributions.
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?
Dane Mcdonald   
Bongani MnisiProf. A Pauw, Dr S GeertsAnimal-Plant InteractionsThe Ingcungcu project: How restoring the nectar feeding bird community can identify and nuture leadership for biodiversity ( Part-time)
Luisa MoraisProf. TC WosslerBehavioural EcologyBehavioural and acoustic adaptations of invasive starlings in introduced ranges
Kerry-Leigh MossProf. TC WosslerBehavioural EcologyOpportunity knocks: non-preferential feeding patterns of the great white shark Carcharodon carcharias.
Nombuso NgubaneProf. L DreyerBotanyPopulation genetics of the Ophiostoma splendens complex in Protea infructescences in South Africa
Erica Nielsen Dr Sophie von der Heyden, Dr Romina Henriques, Molecular Ecology/Marine research Integrating genetics into biodiversity planning in South Africa: implications for MPA design
Khensani NkunaDr Sabrina KumschickInvasion BiologyRisk assessment of alien grasses in South Africa.
Mllue NsikaniDr M GaetnerInvasion BiologySoil enrichment following invasion by Australian Acacia species as a barrier to autogenic ecosystem in fynbos ecosystem
Olamide Omolewa   
Bryone PetersProf Theresa Wossler Behavioral and chemical death-feigning characteristics in the defence strategy used by the ant Tetramorium
Andria RautenbachDr NP Makunga, prof AM EngelbrechtBotanyGenomic-metabolomic repationships in wild populations of the nmedicinal plant Dodoneae viscosa L. Jacq.
Alex RebeloDr J MeaseyZoologyMorphology locomotion and ecology: insights into a southern African frog radiation (Pyxicephalidae: Anura)
Janneke RubowProf. M CherryZoologyVocal behaviour of dwarf mongooses(Heleogale parvula)
Cleo RudmanDr TB Robinson, Dr K Sink (SANBI)ZoologyIntertidal communities of Madagascar
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.
Paula StraussDr K Tolley, Dr S Clusella-TrullasZoologyInvestigating the genetic and physiological adaptive potential of Meroles knoxii (Family: Lacertidae) in response to climate change
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).
Corey ThorpDr J MeaseyHerpetologyPredator-prey relationships in clawed frogs:Xenopus
Jessica Toms Dr S. von der Heyden, Prof. C HuiZoology Using molecular systematics and species richness data of nudibranchs (Opisthobranchia: Nudibranchia) to enhance understanding of South Africa’s marine biodiversity
Gareth WalkerProf. DM RichardsonInvasion BiologyPlotting the distributional range of Ailanthus altisimma(Tree of Heaven) and determining priority areas in which eradication is required
Benjamin Weighill Prof. BC Anderson and Prof. TC WosslerBiological Interactions Seed dispersal in the Cape Floristic Region by ants and gerbils
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/Subject Subject title
Karla AlujevicDr M Logan Does behaviour mediate evolutionary trajectories to climate adaption?
Janneke AylwardProf. L DreyerBotanyComparative genomics and phylogenomics of Protea-associated ophiostomatoid fungi
Christopher Bosc Prof. Anton Pauw, Prof. Cang Hui & Dr Francois RoetsAnimal-Plant InteractionArthropod communities in Fynbos (South Africa) and their interactions with plants, fire and birds
Anina CoetzeeProf. A Pauw, Dr Phoebe Barnard (SANBI)Animal/Plant InteractionsBird pollination systems in the fynbos biome
Maria CastilloDr JJ Le RouxInvasion BiologyProcesses and drivers of Prosopis invasions in East Africa
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)
Hanlie EngelbrechtProf. KA TolleyZoologyThe radiation and biogeography of snakes across south-eastern Africa with respect to the evolution of the savanna biome
Nanike EsterhuizenProf. TC WosslerZoologyThe botanical origin physicochemical properties and antibacterial activity of selected West Coast honeys.
Tina Glyn-WoodsDr NP Makunga & Dr Michelle Cocks (Rhodes)BotanyConservation of indigenous Western Cape knowledge through ethnobotanical documentation and pharmacological validation
Yordan HristovProf. TC WosslerBehavioural EcologyInvestigations on some epizootological and clinical aspects of nosemosis in Apis mellifera capensis
Elindi Jansen van Rensburg Prof. JH van Wyk Ecophysiology Endocrine disruption effects of agrichemical mixtures in the aquatic environment: biochemical responses and linkage to population -level effects
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. AG EllisInvasion 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
Siviwe LamaniDr J MeaseyZoologyEarthworms as threats and opportunities in South Africa:building capacity to understand the costs and benefits
Sandra MacfaydenProf. NP MakungaBotanyLinking long-term landscape heterogeneity patterns to changes of ecosystem processes in the Kruger National Park
Jess LeaverProf. AJ Valentine BotanyAn 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.
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 Anderson Animal-Plant InteractionsPollinators and Pollen Fate
Ingrid MinnaarDr S Clusella-TrullasZoologyIs insect invasiveness associated with functional traits and their plasticity?
Mohlamatsane MokhatlaDr John MeaseyZoologyEvaluating the effects of changing global climate on amphibian functional groups of Southern Africa
Zamukulunga NdovelaProf. GF MidgleyGlobal Change BiologyThe plant energy costs incurred by nitrogen metabolism in different bacterial species in phosphate stressed Virgilia divaricata legumes
Ethan NewmanProf. BC AndersonAnimal-Plant InteractionsFloral variation of Cape bulbs across a pollinator landscape,
Olivier PasninProf. S von der Heyden A genetic approach to the conservation of sponges in the Western Indian Ocean with emphasis on the Mascarene Archipelogo
Koebraa PetersDr TB Robinson, Dr K Sink SANBI)Marine ResearchAssessing the intra-regional transfer of marine alien species along the South African coastline
Nikki PhairProf. S Von der HeydenEvolutionary GenomicsVulnerability Resilience and Adaptation: The Future for the Seagrass Zostera capensis
Luke PotgieterDr M GaertnerInvasion BiologyAssessing the impacts of invasive alien plants on urban ecosystem services
Terry ReynoldsDr Simon van Noort, Prof CA MattheeZoologySystematics and evolution of the Afrotropical Ichneumonidae (Hymenoptera)
Marius Rossouw Botany 
Ross ShackletonProf. David Richardson, Dr David Le Maitre, Prof. Brian van WilgenInvasion BiologyA multi-scaled, transdisciplinary study on the impacts and management of Prosopis, one of the world’s worst woody invasive plant taxa
Likho SikutshwaDr J MeaseyHerpetologyGenetic insights into Darwin's naturalization hypothesis:hybridisation ecology of African clawed frogs Xenopus
Rochelle ThuynsmaProf. AJ ValentineMolecular Plant PhysiologyThe role of lupin clusters roots in nitrogen metabolism during P deficiency
Christoff Truter Prof. JH van Wyk & Prof. PN Mouton Ecophysiology Testing for endocrine disruptors in South African waters: a comparative study to evaluate in vitro  (recombinant cells) and in vivo (aquatic animals) testing approaches in laboratory and field situations
Giovanni Vimercati

Dr J Measey, Dr Sarah Davies

Invasion BiologyExploring the invasion of the gutteral toad, Amietolhrynus gutteralis
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