Department of Botany & Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602 South Africa
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Dept. of Botany & Zoology
Stellenbosch University
Private Bag X1
Matieland 7602
South Africa

Tel: +27 21 808-3236
Fax: +27 21 808-2405

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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

Conversion from Masters to PhD - Faculty Guidelines

Current Postgraduate Students

Faculty of Science website

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 Abrahams Dr RV Rambau Evolutionary Genomics Chromosomal 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 Ansorge Marine Biology Spatial- and temporal changes in epi-faunal sub-Antarctic assemblages: towed camera imagery as a surveying tool within an MPA
Luca Afonso Dr M Gaertner Invasion Biology Urban plant invasions: how to prioritise assess manage and eradicate emerging species; Cape Town as a case study.
Pieter Botha Prof. A Pauw Plant-Animal Interactions The world without birds: an experimental test of the ecological significance of pollinating birds for plant communities
Casey Broom Dr S Clusella-Trullas Dr S von der Heyden CLIME Thermal tolerance, preferences and implications of climate change for Clinus superciliosus
Susan Canavan Dr JR Wilson, Prof. DM Richardson Invasion Biology Bamboo in South Africa: An assessment of potential impacts and developing guidelines for cultivation best practices
Casparus Du Plessis Dr NP Makunga, Dr G Stafford Medicinal Plant Biology Medicinal pant and ecological knowledge assessed using ethnobotanical approaches in the Griqua people of South Africa
Zishan Ebrahim Dr GJ Measey Herpetology Amphibian conservation in an urban park: A spatial approach to quantifying threats to Anura in Table Mountain National Park.
Amy Edwardes      
Madelaine Frazenburg Prof. L Dreyer Botany Anatomical survey of the formation of primary xylem and nutrients supply to the reproductive apple bud.
Lida-Mari Groenewald Prof AJ Valentine, Dr Aleysia Kleinert Plant Physiology Determining the development of
phosphate stress in Medicago truncatula
Llewellyn Jacobs Dr JR Wilson, Prof DM Richardson Botany A global review of non-native Melaleuca (Myrtaceae) species and assessment of potentially invasive species in South Africa
Jacques Jansen Van Rensburg Prof DM Richardson Invasion Biology Managing invasive alien plants on private land in the Western Cape - insights
Rashawe Kgopong Prof TC Wossler Invasion Biology Variation in springtail diversity with plant type on sub-Antarctic Marion.
Judith Kushata Prof. M Cherry, W Conradie   Phylogeography and diversity of Anurans in the Eastern Cape forests, South Africa
Chris La Grange Dr NP Makunga, DrH Volschenk Botany Screening of in vitro antifungal activity of medicinally important Cape flora plants against Cryptococcus neoformans
Marike Louw Dr J Measey Invasion Biology Alien plants and calling animals: Using acoustic arrays to examine the effects of invasive flora on local fauna in the fynbos biome
Tandokazi Magangana Dr NP Makunga Botany Influence of growth promoting agents on the physiology and metabolites of the sweet medicinal plant, Stevia rebaudiana
Nkoliso Magona Prof. JR Wilson Invasion Biology Determining the invasive status of Australian acacias in South Africa and the potential for eradicating species with limited distributions.
Nozibusiso Amanda Mbongwa Prof. S Von der Heyden Evolutionary Genomics Species richness and phylogenetic diversity of South AFRICAN sandy beach species: Implications for the conservation of sandy beach ecosystems
Philip Mclean Dr M Gaertner Invasion Biology Why are the constraints faced by less well-resourced category B municipalities in South Africa implementing strategies for invasive Alien species management?
Dane Mcdonald      
Bongani Mnisi Prof. A Pauw, Dr S Geerts Animal-Plant Interactions The Ingcungcu project: How restoring the nectar feeding bird community can identify and nuture leadership for biodiversity ( Part-time)
Luisa Morais Prof. TC Wossler Behavioural Ecology Behavioural and acoustic adaptations of invasive starlings in introduced ranges
Kerry-Leigh Moss Prof. TC Wossler Behavioural Ecology Opportunity knocks: non-preferential feeding patterns of the great white shark Carcharodon carcharias.
Nombuso Ngubane Prof. L Dreyer Botany Population 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 Nkuna Dr Sabrina Kumschick Invasion Biology Risk assessment of alien grasses in South Africa.
Mllue Nsikani Dr M Gaetner Invasion Biology Soil enrichment following invasion by Australian Acacia species as a barrier to autogenic ecosystem in fynbos ecosystem
Olamide Omolewa      
Bryone Peters Prof Theresa Wossler   Behavioral and chemical death-feigning characteristics in the defence strategy used by the ant Tetramorium
Andria Rautenbach Dr NP Makunga, prof AM Engelbrecht Botany Genomic-metabolomic repationships in wild populations of the nmedicinal plant Dodoneae viscosa L. Jacq.
Alex Rebelo Dr J Measey Zoology Morphology locomotion and ecology: insights into a southern African frog radiation (Pyxicephalidae: Anura)
Janneke Rubow Prof. M Cherry Zoology Vocal behaviour of dwarf mongooses(Heleogale parvula)
Cleo Rudman Dr TB Robinson, Dr K Sink (SANBI) Zoology Intertidal communities of Madagascar
Amir Sadat Rezaei Prof S Von Der Heyden Zoology Did rapid adaptation drive the recent divergence between estuarine and marine clinus species? Insights from next-generation sequencing.
A. Francis Sands Prof. CA Matthee, Dr S Matthee Evolutionary Genomics Group A molecular genetic perspective on the evolution of Hyalomma ticks
Safiyya Sedick Dr C Simon Marine Biology Syllidae (Annelida Polychaeta): Diversity of alien and indigenous species along the rocky shores of the Western Cape South Africa.
Lisa Skein Dr TB Robinson Marine Bilogy The subtidal invasion of the mussel Semimytilus algosus and its implications for predator-prey interactions along the South African coastline.
Paula Strauss Dr K Tolley, Dr S Clusella-Trullas Zoology Investigating the genetic and physiological adaptive potential of Meroles knoxii (Family: Lacertidae) in response to climate change
Cheruscha Swart Dr TB Robinson Zoology A global assessment of invasive nearshore marine predators and the threat they pose along the South African coastline
Genevieve Theron Prof. BC Anderson Biological Interactions Evidence of pollinator-driven selection on floral traits in Ferraria (Iridaceae).
Corey Thorp Dr J Measey Herpetology Predator-prey relationships in clawed frogs:Xenopus
Jessica Toms Dr S. von der Heyden, Prof. C Hui Zoology Using molecular systematics and species richness data of nudibranchs (Opisthobranchia: Nudibranchia) to enhance understanding of South Africa’s marine biodiversity
Gareth Walker Prof. DM Richardson Invasion Biology Plotting 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 Wossler Biological Interactions Seed dispersal in the Cape Floristic Region by ants and gerbils
Alta Zietsman Prof. GF Midgley Climate change Using 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 Alujevic Dr M Logan   Does behaviour mediate evolutionary trajectories to climate adaption?
Janneke Aylward Prof. L Dreyer Botany Comparative genomics and phylogenomics of Protea-associated ophiostomatoid fungi
Christopher Bosc Prof. Anton Pauw, Prof. Cang Hui & Dr Francois Roets Animal-Plant Interaction Arthropod communities in Fynbos (South Africa) and their interactions with plants, fire and birds
Anina Coetzee Prof. A Pauw, Dr Phoebe Barnard (SANBI) Animal/Plant Interactions Bird pollination systems in the fynbos biome
Maria Castillo Dr JJ Le Roux Invasion Biology Processes and drivers of Prosopis invasions in East Africa
Claire Davis Prof. GF Midgley Global Change Biology Integrating 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 Klerk Prof. JH van Wyk, A-M Oberholster (Genetics), P Oberholster (CSIR) Zoology A Comparative study of two river systems using abiotic, biotic and molecular indicators
Genevieve Diedericks Prof. C Hui, Dr S von der Heyden, Dr OLF Weyl Invasion Biology Determining the mechanisms driving the invasion success of the Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)
Hanlie Engelbrecht Prof. KA Tolley Zoology The radiation and biogeography of snakes across south-eastern Africa with respect to the evolution of the savanna biome
Nanike Esterhuizen Prof. TC Wossler Zoology The botanical origin physicochemical properties and antibacterial activity of selected West Coast honeys.
Tina Glyn-Woods Dr NP Makunga & Dr Michelle Cocks (Rhodes) Botany Conservation of indigenous Western Cape knowledge through ethnobotanical documentation and pharmacological validation
Yordan Hristov Prof. TC Wossler Behavioural Ecology Investigations 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 Jooste Prof. L Dreyer, Prof. GF Midgley, Dr K Oberlander Global Change Biology Diversity and nature of endophytic associations of southern African Oxalis
Jyothi Kara Dr CA Simon Marine Biology Taxonomic and molecular assessment of apparently alien and cosmopolitan Nereididae Blainville 1818 polychaetes from South Africa
Jan-Hendrik Keet Prof. AG Ellis Invasion Biology - Botany Understanding the biodiversity impacts of invasive legumes: Investigating changes in below ground mutualistic networks soil conditions and soil function in response to invasions.
Jurene Kemp Prof. AG Ellis Botany Pollinator filtering in a Namaqualand daisy
Siviwe Lamani Dr J Measey Zoology Earthworms as threats and opportunities in South Africa:building capacity to understand the costs and benefits
Sandra Macfayden Prof. NP Makunga Botany Linking long-term landscape heterogeneity patterns to changes of ecosystem processes in the Kruger National Park
Jess Leaver Prof. AJ Valentine Botany An 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 Mabin Dr TB Robinson Marine Biology Carcinus maenas in South Africa: Status impacts and management
Sandra Macfadyen Prof C Hui   Linking long-term landscape heterogeneity patterns to changes of ecosystem processes in the Kruger National Park South Africa
Martins Vusumzi Dr RV Rambau Evolutionary Genomics Estimating 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 research Assessing the evolutionary and physiological resilience of southern African marine species
Corneile Minnaar Prof. Bruce Anderson Animal-Plant Interactions Pollinators and Pollen Fate
Ingrid Minnaar Dr S Clusella-Trullas Zoology Is insect invasiveness associated with functional traits and their plasticity?
Mohlamatsane Mokhatla Dr John Measey Zoology Evaluating the effects of changing global climate on amphibian functional groups of Southern Africa
Zamukulunga Ndovela Prof. GF Midgley Global Change Biology The plant energy costs incurred by nitrogen metabolism in different bacterial species in phosphate stressed Virgilia divaricata legumes
Ethan Newman Prof. BC Anderson Animal-Plant Interactions Floral variation of Cape bulbs across a pollinator landscape,
Olivier Pasnin Prof. S von der Heyden   A genetic approach to the conservation of sponges in the Western Indian Ocean with emphasis on the Mascarene Archipelogo
Koebraa Peters Dr TB Robinson, Dr K Sink SANBI) Marine Research Assessing the intra-regional transfer of marine alien species along the South African coastline
Nikki Phair Prof. S Von der Heyden Evolutionary Genomics Vulnerability Resilience and Adaptation: The Future for the Seagrass Zostera capensis
Luke Potgieter Dr M Gaertner Invasion Biology Assessing the impacts of invasive alien plants on urban ecosystem services
Terry Reynolds Dr Simon van Noort, Prof CA Matthee Zoology Systematics and evolution of the Afrotropical Ichneumonidae (Hymenoptera)
Marius Rossouw   Botany  
Ross Shackleton Prof. David Richardson, Dr David Le Maitre, Prof. Brian van Wilgen Invasion Biology A multi-scaled, transdisciplinary study on the impacts and management of Prosopis, one of the world’s worst woody invasive plant taxa
Likho Sikutshwa Dr J Measey Herpetology Genetic insights into Darwin's naturalization hypothesis:hybridisation ecology of African clawed frogs Xenopus
Rochelle Thuynsma Prof. AJ Valentine Molecular Plant Physiology The 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 Biology Exploring the invasion of the gutteral toad, Amietolhrynus gutteralis
Darryn Whisgary Prof. AJ Valentine Molecular Plant Physiology The phosphate tolerance of bacterial species in relation to biological nitrogen fixation in Virgilia divaricata
Louisa Wood Prof. SR Daniels Zoology Phylogeographic patterning in the Cape Freshwater Prawn (Palaemon capensis: De Man 1897) and selective freshwater taxa in the Cape Floristic Region
Samkele Zonyane Dr NP Makunga Medicinal Plant Research Genetic mapping of Sutherlandia frutescens populations growing in different geographical locations in South Africa for the understanding of chemotypic variations

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