Department of Botany & Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602 South Africa
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Contact details:

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 Gartrell



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

Name Supervisor/Promotor Division/Subject Subject title
Dale Abrahams      
Robyn Adams Dr Tammy Robinson, Dr Charles von der Meden, Dr Lara Atkinson, Prof. Isabelle Ansorge   Spatial- and temporal changes in epi-faunal sub-Antarctic assemblages: towed camera imagery as a surveying tool within an MPA
Ricki Allardice Prof AJ Valentine Botany  
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
Tessa Cooper Prof MI Cherry, Prof A Wanneburg Zoology The effect of deforestation and increased plantation of non-indigenous trees on avian distribution in South Africa
André De Villiers Dr J Measey Invasion Biology Demography, dispersal and performance of Cape Xenopus
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   Zoology  
Madelaine Frazenburg   Botany  
Lida-Mari Groenewald Prof AJ Valentine Plant Physiology Biochemical and molecular changes in Phosphate metabolism during P-stress in M. superciliosus
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  
Michelle Jooste Prof L Dreyer, dr KC Oberlander Botany Phylogenetic significance of leaf anotomical character in Oxalis
Jenna Keightley Dr S von der Heyden, Dr S Jackson Zoology Population structure of the indigenous South African oysters and their potential for cultivation
Rashawe Kgopong Prof TC Wossler, Prof SL Chown, Dr C Janion Invasion Biology Interaction between invasive plants and springtails on Marion Island: evidence for
Chris La Grange Dr NP Makunga, DrH Volschenk Botany Screening of in vitro antifungal activity of medicinally important Cape flora plants against Cryptococcus neoformans
Amy Lui Prof. SL Chown CIB The radiation of Seira: a high diversity springtail genus in the Fynbos
Tandokazi Magangana Dr NP Makunga Botany Influence of growth promoting agents on the physiology and metabolites of the sweet medicinal plant, Stevia rebaudiana
Mashudu Mashau   Botany  
Thapelo Mathabela Dr TB Robinson, Dr Brett Macey (DAFF) Zoology Effect of probiotics on the prevention of infectious diseases in dusky cob, Argyrosomus japonicus
Nozibusiso Amanda Mbongwa   Zoology  
Philip Mclean   Botany  
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   Zoology  
Elana Mostert Dr M Gaertner, Dr P Holmes Botany Identifying priority areas for restoration in Cape Town
Anche Muller Prof. VR Smith Botany Functional traits of Marion Island plants
Nombuso Ngubane   Botany  
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
Mllue Nsikani   Zoology  
David Phair Dr C Hui, Dr JJ le Roux, Dr V Visser Invasion Biology Modelling the genetic structure dynamics of the European Starling during its range expansion
Nikki Phair Dr S von der Heyden, Dr Deena Pillay Botany Genetic diversity, relatedness and gene flow in the endangered sea grass, Zostera capensis
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   Zoology  
Janneke Rubow   Zoology  
Cleo Rudman Dr TB Robinson, Dr K Sink (SANBI) Zoology Intertidal communities of Madagascar
Amir Sadat Rezaei   Zoology  
A. Francis Sands Prof. CA Matthee, Dr S Matthee Evolutionary Genomics Group A molecular genetic perspective on the evolution of Hyalomma ticks
Safiyya Sedick   Zoology  
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   Zoology  
Corey Thorp   Zoology  
Genevieve Theron      
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
Jacqueline Tonkie Prof. VR Smith Botany Marion Island bryophytes: evidence for functional types based on traits related to photosynthesis and desiccation tolerance
Gareth Walker   Botany  
Benjamin Weighill Prof. Bruce Anderson and Prof. Theresa Wossler Zoology Rodents & Restios: Investigating the seed-seed disperser interaction of Gerbillurus paeba & Willdenowia incurvata

PhD Students


Promotor Division/Subject Subject title
Jessica Allen Prof SL Chown CIB Rate of acclimation, coadaptation and acclimation costs in Tenebrio molitor and Cyrtobagous salviniae: importance in the face of global climate change
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
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
Caroli De Waal Dr BC Anderson, Dr AG Ellis Plant-Animal interactions The evolution of seed dispersal and dormancy in unpredictable environments
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. SR Daniels Zoology  
Nanike Esterhuizen Prof. TC Wossler Zoology  
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
Clova Jurk Dr Tammy Robinson and Prof John Wilson Marine Biology / Invasion Biology Eradicating marine invasions - South Africa as a case-study
Christopher Johnson Prof. A Pauw Plant-Animal Interactions The role of pollinators in the genesis and maintenance of Proteaceae diversity
Jan-Hendrik Keet Dr JJ Le Roux Invasion Biology - Botany  
Jurene Kemp Prof. AG Ellis Botany Plant-insect diversity relationships in the Cape Floristic Region
Siviwe Lamani   Zoology  
Sandra Macfayden Dr C Hui, Prof Dr P. Verburg Botany Linking long-term landscape heterogeneity patterns to changes of ecosystem processes in the Kruger National Park
Anathi Magadlela Prof. AJ Valentine Botany  
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 the invasiveness pf insects associated with functional traits and their plasticity?
Mohlamatsane Mokhatla Dr John Measey Zoology  
Ethan Newman Prof. BC Anderson Animal-Plant Interactions Floral variation of Cape bulbs across a pollinator landscape,
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
Terry Reynolds Dr Simon van Noort, Prof CA Matthee Zoology Systematics and evolution of the Afrotropical Ichneumonidae (Hymenoptera)
Simon Rizutto Prof. JH van Wyk   The effect of persistant organic pollutants, acting as potential disruptors of the endocrine system, on the reproductive health of the Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
Marius Rossouw   Botany  
Gary Stevens Prof. AJ Valentine, Prof E Steenkamp (UP) Botany Phosphoenolpyrovate carboxylase (PEPC) regulation in biological nitrogen fixation in phosphate deficient nodules of Virgilia orobiodes
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
Rochelle Thuynsma Prof. AJ Valentine Botany 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
Waafeka Vardien Dr AJ Valentine, Prof E Steenkamp (UP) Botany The regulation of organophosphate mobilization by intracellular Acid Phosphatases (APase) during phosphate deficiency in the nodules of Virgillia oroboides
Giovanni Vimercati

Dr J Measey, Dr Sarah Davies

Invasion Biology Exploring the invasion of the gutteral toad, Amietolhrynus gutteralis
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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Stellenbosch, University and logo