Student Projects
Prospective students may propose projects in agreement with a core team member or other supervisor. The project outlines below are simply guidelines to projects of particular interest to core team members. Please contact the responsible core team member for further details.
Click on a project title in the list below to view its details
# Project title Institution Level
1 An assessment of the extent of invasion and genetic structure of Eucalyptus camaldulensis in South Africa Stellenbosch University MSc
2 An evaluation of restoration initiatives following alien clearing in the Berg and Breede river catchments Stellenbosch University MSc or PhD
3 Ants as ecological status indicators at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve University of Pretoria Honours
4 Applying best-practice guidelines for active restoration in critically endangered Cape lowland vegetation Stellenbosch University MSc and PhD
5 Are peacocks wanted in peri-urban gardens? Stellenbosch University MSc
6 Cost optimisation of helicopter-based herbicide application to invasive alien trees: a case study in the Berg Water Management Area Stellenbosch University / Rhodes University MSc
7 Determining a risk assessment for cultivars of alien plant invaders Stellenbosch University PhD
8 Developing and testing tools for analysing risks of biological invasions Stellenbosch University MSc
9 Distribution of woody invasive alien species in small towns in the Eastern Cape Rhodes University MSc
10 DNA bar-coding and morphological approaches to quantifying the occurrence of invasive agricultural pest insects in the diet of bats on macadamia farms University of Venda Post-doc
11 Do clawed frogs like Led Zeppelin? Stellenbosch University Honours
12 Ecological impacts of the white garden snail (Theba pisana) University of Cape Town MSc or PhD
13 Ecological restoration after Lantana camara removal: Does soil nutrient manipulation facilitate both soil and native vegetation recovery Rhodes University MSc or PhD
14 Effects of elevated temperature, rainfall and soil nutrients on three invasive alien plants Rhodes University MSc
15 Effects of indigenous and exotic southern African ungulates on seed dispersal and germination of the alien invasive fruiting plants University of KwaZulu-Natal MSc
16 Fastidious frogs: does Xenopus laevis avoid ponds that contain fish? Stellenbosch University Honours
17 From snapshots of species distribution to landscape-scale dynamics of invasive plants Stellenbosch University MSc or Post-doc
18 Gut, gutter, gutturalis… The gut microbiome of invading toads Stellenbosch University MSc
19 Habitat loss, exotic plant invasions and restoration: testing the effect of three way interactions on flower visitor assemblages in an agricultural landscape University of Venda MSc or PhD
20 Has dam construction facilitated the extra-limital range expansion of the African clawed frog? Stellenbosch University MSc or PhD
21 Hybridisation ecology of African clawed frogs, Xenopus laevis and X. gilli Stellenbosch University Honours
22 Impact assessment for alien species Stellenbosch University Honours
23 Impact of invasive trout on South Africa’s ghost frogs Stellenbosch University / Rhodes University MSc
24 Impacts of guttural toads on Mauritian snails Stellenbosch University / Mauritius MSc
25 Invasive alien plants and bird diversity in South Africa’s Important Bird Areas Stellenbosch University MSc or PhD
26 Making informed trade-offs to maximise returns on investment into alien plant control operations Stellenbosch University MSc
27 More than the sum of its parts? Whole animal performance vs. muscle physiology in Xenopus laevis Stellenbosch University / Coventry University MSc
28 Provenance and pathways of invasive populations of Common Garden Lizards Stellenbosch University MSc
29 Public perception of bird diversity in peri-urban gardens Stellenbosch University MSc
30 Seed dispersal and spread potential of invasive Australian acacias Stellenbosch University PhD or Post-doc
31 Study of invasive alien Prosopis trees in the Northern Cape Stellenbosch University MSc
32 Temporal niche partitioning in ants University of Pretoria Honours
33 The architecture of pollination and seed-dispersal networks of Australian acacias Stellenbosch University PhD or Post-doc
34 The development of improved indicators for the National Status Report on the Status of Biological Invasions in South Africa Stellenbosch University MSc or PhD
35 The feasibility of using value-added industries to support alien tree control Stellenbosch University / Rhodes University MSc
36 The water-related economic consequences of failing to adequately halt the spread of invasive alien trees in the Western Cape Stellenbosch University / Rhodes University PhD
37 Using economic and ecological modelling to facilitate the eradication of the House Crow (Corvus splendens) in Cape Town Stellenbosch University MSc or PhD
38 What do toads eat & what eats toads? Stellenbosch University Honours

    Project details

    • 1. An assessment of the extent of invasion and genetic structure of Eucalyptus camaldulensis in South Africa
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: Dave Richardson
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: Good progress has been made towards understanding of the determinants of invasiveness of tree species. Such information is required to improve our ability to screen new introductions to determine the risks of invasiveness. Despite the advances in understanding, many questions remain unanswered in tree invasion ecology. One conundrum is why Eucalyptus species have fared so poorly as invasive species around the world.
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    • 2. An evaluation of restoration initiatives following alien clearing in the Berg and Breede river catchments
    • Academic level: MSc or PhD
    • Core team member: Karen Esler
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: Given that funding for water and biodiversity conservation projects will always be limiting, managers have to make trade-offs in terms of where to spend the available funds most effectively. This is seldom done explicitly. This project will examine the outcomes of several types of trade-off in alien plant control and active rehabilitation projects, in terms of slowing or reversing rates of spread of the most harmful alien plants in the Cape Floristic Region.
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    • 3. Ants as ecological status indicators at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
    • Academic level: Honours
    • Core team member: Mark Robertson
    • Based at: University of Pretoria
    • Brief outline: Managers should undertake biodiversity monitoring to assess the impacts of their interventions on the ecosystems they manage. Invertebrates are often excluded from these monitoring programmes because of a lack of the skills needed or because of a lack of understanding of the importance of invertebrates in ecosystems. Ants have been shown to be good indicators of ecosystem status, they are relatively easy to sample and identify, and they are used in monitoring programmes worldwide.
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    • 4. Applying best-practice guidelines for active restoration in critically endangered Cape lowland vegetation
    • Academic level: MSc and PhD
    • Core team member: Karen Esler
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: A large-scale ecological restoration project east of Blaauwberg Hill in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve (1500 ha) in the City of Cape Town has been underway since 2012. The intention has been to clear over 400ha of dense invasive alien vegetation (mainly the Australian Wattle species Acacia saligna – known as Port Jackson Willow) and to restore it back to Critically Endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos.
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    • 5. Are peacocks wanted in peri-urban gardens?
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: Birds are actively courted into peri-urban gardens with resources including food, nesting boxes and bird-friendly habitats. However, aside from the expected indigenous species, some visitors are alien species while others are domestic exotics. Alien and domestic exotic birds are often attracted by resources in peri-urban areas that facilitate their spread (such as tall trees for nesting, or lawns and ponds for feeding).
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    • 6. Cost optimisation of helicopter-based herbicide application to invasive alien trees: a case study in the Berg Water Management Area
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: Willem de Lange
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University / Rhodes University
    • Brief outline: The proposed project forms part of an integrated approach to invasive alien tree management in South Africa. The overarching goal of the project is to assess the trade-offs between efficiency gains and cost of applying registered herbicides to invasive alien trees under different helicopter-based application scenarios.
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    • 7. Determining a risk assessment for cultivars of alien plant invaders
    • Academic level: PhD
    • Core team member: John Wilson
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: The movement of plants around the world by the horticultural trade has historically been one of the major proximate causes of biological invasions. Legislation is currently being amended in South Africa as part of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act to restrict the use of and trade in species that pose a high invasion risk to South Africa. One recommendation is that cultivars of species listed as invasive (or potentially invasive) that have an acceptable invasion risk (e.g. through sterility) are explicitly specified in and exempt from the regulations.
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    • 8. Developing and testing tools for analysing risks of biological invasions
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: Sabrina Kumschick
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: There have been major developments recently towards an international standard system for reporting the impacts of biological invasions, but these are yet to be implemented or integrated with risk analyses. In particular, a framework for the listing of alien taxa under regulations has recently been developed for South Africa.
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    • 9. Distribution of woody invasive alien species in small towns in the Eastern Cape
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: Sheunesu Ruwanza
    • Based at: Rhodes University
    • Brief outline: The presence of Invasive alien species (IAS) in regions where they were previously absent results in several social, economic and ecological effects at varying spatial and temporal scales. Given the concern of IAS impacts on ecosystem services, most research and control programmes have been in rural areas, where provisioning and supporting ecosystem services occur at a larger scale. In comparison, understanding of patterns and process of IAS in urban settings is relatively weakly developed, both internationally and in South Africa...
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    • 10. DNA bar-coding and morphological approaches to quantifying the occurrence of invasive agricultural pest insects in the diet of bats on macadamia farms
    • Academic level: Post-doc
    • Core team member: Peter Taylor
    • Based at: University of Venda
    • Brief outline: Preliminary work conducted on the diet of bats in macadamia orchards using Next Generation Sequencing has shown that a range of local bat species consume significant pests of macadamia nuts including green vegetable bugs (Taylor et al. 2017). These data have allowed the development of an avoided cost model to value the pest predation service of bats to macadamia farmers (Taylor et al 2018).
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    • 11. Do clawed frogs like Led Zeppelin?
    • Academic level: Honours
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: African clawed frogs are invasive on four continents, and their impact has been demonstrated to be Major in relation to their predatory behaviour (Measey et al 2016). Eliminating these frogs from the environment can be extremely challenging as they easily escape from nets and traps, and readily move overland (Measey 2016). To date, the most effective measures have been to make invaded ponds highly saline in order to force clawed frogs to leave.
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    • 12. Ecological impacts of the white garden snail (Theba pisana)
    • Academic level: MSc or PhD
    • Core team member: Charles Griffiths
    • Based at: University of Cape Town
    • Brief outline: The invasive white garden snail occurs in a broad strip along the South African coastline from the northern Cape to about East London. The only local study to date (Odendall et al. 2008) examined its distribution and life history in the West Coast National Park, where densities reached 700 per m2 at some sites! Although these dense populations were observed to feed on a wide range of native plants no one has examined (1) impacts on plant diversity and standing biomass, (2) the wider implications of white garden snails as competitors to other herbivores, or (3) the implications of these snails as a food source for predators. Australian studies on Theba suggest that it can displace native snails, and Theba-infested plants are generally considered to be unpalatable to livestock.
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    • 13. Ecological restoration after Lantana camara removal: Does soil nutrient manipulation facilitate both soil and native vegetation recovery
    • Academic level: MSc or PhD
    • Core team member: Sheunesu Ruwanza
    • Based at: Rhodes University
    • Brief outline: Lantana camara L. is a notorious global invasive shrub which has spread rapidly in most parts of South Africa. Despite millions of rands being spent on biological control research and removal of the plant by Working for Water in South Africa, research on ecological restoration following L. camara removal are not yet been conducted.
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    • 14. Effects of elevated temperature, rainfall and soil nutrients on three invasive alien plants
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: Sheunesu Ruwanza
    • Based at: Rhodes University
    • Brief outline: South Africa’s climate change predictions suggest that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is likely to cause an increase in temperature, rainfall and soil nutrient availability. Such changes are likely to affect ecosystems and recent observation on shifting plant phenology (e.g. flowering time) are evidence that species are already responding to climate change. It remains uncertain whether climate change will favor invasive or native plant species, although it is generally accepted that future changes will strengthen the “enemy release theory” making invasive alien plants more invasive.
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    • 15. Effects of indigenous and exotic southern African ungulates on seed dispersal and germination of the alien invasive fruiting plants
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: Colleen Downs
    • Based at: University of KwaZulu-Natal
    • Brief outline: Alien Invasive seed dispersal by birds has been relatively well-studied. In comparison, the role of ungulates in seed dispersal is poorly documented, especially in Africa. More information is required on the role of ungulates (exotic and indigenous) in this seed dispersal...
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    • 16. Fastidious frogs: does Xenopus laevis avoid ponds that contain fish?
    • Academic level: Honours
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: The African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, is now one of the world’s most widely distributed amphibians. Given its extensive use in pregnancy testing research, this anuran has been actively transported across the globe since the 1930’s...
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    • 17. From snapshots of species distribution to landscape-scale dynamics of invasive plants
    • Academic level: MSc or Post-doc
    • Core team member: Cang Hui
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: Early detection often records introduced plant species as snapshots of presence points through remote sensing or ground surveys. This provides valuable, but rather limited information on the current status of the focal species in a novel environment. However, point-based maps seldom provide sufficient evidence on which to base management decisions, especially in highly heterogeneous landscapes. It is of great value to elucidate the interrelationships between the spatial structure of founding populations, landscape heterogeneity, and the invasion potential of the focal species.
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    • 18. Gut, gutter, gutturalis… The gut microbiome of invading toads
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: Four fundamental processes of community ecology mediate microbial diversity: selection, historical contingency, stochastic factors that impact community assemblages; and dispersal limitation. Hosts act like dispersing patches of habitat that are continually sampling available colonist bacteria. Invasive species are a special case in which there is potential for historical contingency and dispersal limitation mechanisms to compete or synergise producing a gut microbial community.
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    • 19. Habitat loss, exotic plant invasions and restoration: testing the effect of three way interactions on flower visitor assemblages in an agricultural landscape
    • Academic level: MSc or PhD
    • Core team member: Stefan Foord
    • Based at: University of Venda
    • Brief outline: Habitat loss and exotic plant invasions together with global climate change comprise the biggest threats to biodiversity. How these drivers interact to effect change in biological communities is currently one of the most important questions in biology. Working for Water manages one of the largest restoration projects globally. Quantifying the impact they have in restoring ecosystems is key to their long term sustainability.
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    • 20. Has dam construction facilitated the extra-limital range expansion of the African clawed frog?
    • Academic level: MSc or PhD
    • Core team member: Cang Hui
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: The African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, is one of the world’s most widely distributed amphibians. Exported from the southwestern Cape for pregnancy testing in the 1930s...
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    • 21. Hybridisation ecology of African clawed frogs, Xenopus laevis and X. gilli
    • Academic level: Honours
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: The Cape platanna, Xenopus gilli, is considered Endangered by the IUCN in part because of the threats from its Invasive congener, X. laevis. However, there have been few quantifications of this threat and preliminary data suggests that It might be different in different places. Moreover, we have little idea of the relative sizes of X. gilli and X. laevis populations, or their resulting hybrids.
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    • 22. Impact assessment for alien species
    • Academic level: Honours
    • Core team member: Sabrina Kumschick
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: It is not only crucial to find out which species become a problem in a introduced range, but also to evaluate which species have highest impacts once introduced and established. An impact scoring system has been developed for this purpose. This system can be used for management prioritization and ranking of the worst alien species.
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    • 23. Impact of invasive trout on South Africa’s ghost frogs
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: Olaf Weyl
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University / Rhodes University
    • Brief outline: Invasive fish have resulted in severe impacts of South Africa's fresh water ecosystems, including local extirpations of indigenous fish and invertebrates (Ellender & Weyl 2014). Impact on stream dwelling tadpoles is implicit, but very little is known of the interactions between invasive trout and tadpoles of ghost frogs.
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    • 24. Impacts of guttural toads on Mauritian snails
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University / Mauritius
    • Brief outline: Invasive amphibians are a relatively recent global phenomenon, but their impacts are only assessed in a handful of examples (Kraus 2015). However, a robust knowledge of impacts is required to be able to classify their invasive status (Measey et al 2016).
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    • 25. Invasive alien plants and bird diversity in South Africa’s Important Bird Areas
    • Academic level: MSc or PhD
    • Core team member: Dave Richardson
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: Biological invasions impact on biodiversity in many ways, but the role of invasive species (on their own and in concert with other facets of global change) in degrading South Africa's natural capital is poorly understood. This study will seek insights on impacts of alien and invasive species (all taxa) on bird habitats In South Africa, focusing on Important Bird Areas.
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    • 26. Making informed trade-offs to maximise returns on investment into alien plant control operations
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: Dave Richardson
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: Given that funding for water and biodiversity conservation projects will always be limiting, managers have to make tradeoffs in terms of where to spend the available funds most effectively. This is seldom done explicitly. This project will examine the outcomes of several types of trade-off in alien plant control projects, in terms of slowing or reversing rates of spread of the most harmful alien plants in the Cape Floristic Region.
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    • 27. More than the sum of its parts? Whole animal performance vs. muscle physiology in Xenopus laevis
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University / Coventry University
    • Brief outline: The African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, has become the model amphibian in many fields of biological sciences. Animals from Jonkershoek, in the Western Cape, have been bred and transported to laboratories the world over, becoming the mainstay of enquiries into embryology, biochemistry, cellular studies and genetics (see van Sittert & Measey 2016). The number of scientific fields that use X. laevis continues to grow, and with them laboratory colonies and invasive populations (e.g. Measey et al., 2012). Genetic studies of invasions suggest that (almost) all come from the south-western Cape (but see de Busschere et al., 2016). This species, is therefore reasonably well studied in terms of its physiology, both at the whole animal and whole muscle levels (Wilson et al., 2002).
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    • 28. Provenance and pathways of invasive populations of Common Garden Lizards
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: Invasive species are a global problem which impact severely on biodiversity, cost governments an estimated $1.4 trillion annually, and impact on the lives of individuals and communities the world over. The importance of studying invasive species is widely recognised as being of practical economic importance, and this is currently increasing in an era of rapid globalisation and global change.
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    • 29. Public perception of bird diversity in peri-urban gardens
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: Bird visitors are actively courted into peri-urban gardens with resources including food, nesting boxes and bird-friendly habitats. However, aside from the expected indigenous species, some visitors are alien species while others are domestic exotics, and these latter groups often monopolize the distributed resources. Alien and domestic exotic birds are often attracted by resources in peri-urban areas that facilitate their spread (such as tall trees for nesting, or lawns and ponds for feeding). Are these alien birds desirable, or would home owners prefer help with their removal?
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    • 30. Seed dispersal and spread potential of invasive Australian acacias
    • Academic level: PhD or Post-doc
    • Core team member: Cang Hui
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: Understanding species ranges and dynamics is among the main pursuits in ecology and biogeography. Spread of invasive species, while posing real and escalating threats to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem functioning, provides a superb natural experiment for unraveling the mechanisms and factors behind the dynamics of species’ geographic ranges. Generally, a species’ dispersal strategy can be depicted by its dispersal kernel. It is evident that dispersal strategy is an important determinant of both the range and dynamics of invasive species. Better to monitor the distribution and assess the risk of invasive plants, it is crucial to estimate the capacity of seed dispersal capacities of focal species, from which spread potential can be estimated. Many Australian acacias have evolved multiple dispersal strategies and polymorphic seeds.
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    • 31. Study of invasive alien Prosopis trees in the Northern Cape
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: Brian van Wilgen
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: The Centre for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University has funding to cover a bursary and running costs for a suitably-qualified student to undertake studies that will lead to an MSc degree. The study is part of a larger initiative looking at the management of invasive species in parts of Africa (see www.woodyweeds.org).
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    • 32. Temporal niche partitioning in ants
    • Academic level: Honours
    • Core team member: Mark Robertson
    • Based at: University of Pretoria
    • Brief outline: Altitudinal gradient studies have been used to investigate the role of biotic and abiotic factors in determining species richness patterns and structuring assemblages. Long term studies on ant assemblages are underway at several sites in South Africa, including a transect in the Sani Pass region of the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains. Ants have been sampled twice a year for the past six years across the Sani Pass transect, allowing us to quantify the species richness patterns and assemblages across the gradient in two different seasons. What is not known is how these assemblages are structured at different altitudes.
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    • 33. The architecture of pollination and seed-dispersal networks of Australian acacias
    • Academic level: PhD or Post-doc
    • Core team member: Cang Hui
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: The reciprocal dependence of plants on their pollinators and seed dispersers is widespread in nature. This mutualistic dependence can enhance seed production and establishment and reduce inbreeding genetic load of the plants, with only limited carbohydrate loss as nectar and seed to the pollinators and consumers. It is thus an efficient way to improve the fitness and survival potential of both partners. These mutualistic interactions further contribute to weaving a complex web in ecosystems, and are important for maintaining ecosystem stability, resilience and functioning. Invasion of Australian acacia species can cause important effects on the native mutualistic communities in South African ecosystems.
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    • 34. The development of improved indicators for the National Status Report on the Status of Biological Invasions in South Africa
    • Academic level: MSc or PhD
    • Core team member: Dave Richardson
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: The National Status Report on the Status of Biological Invasions in South Africa considers three main aspects of invasions, pathways, species, and areas, as well the effectiveness of control measures and the effectiveness of the NEM:BA regulations). A key part of the Status Report is a set of 21 indicators that will be used to quantify changes in different facets of invasions over time (Status Report need to be compiled every three years).
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    • 35. The feasibility of using value-added industries to support alien tree control
    • Academic level: MSc
    • Core team member: Willem de Lange
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University / Rhodes University
    • Brief outline: Given that the clearing of invasive alien species (especially woody species) can generate a large amount of potentially useful biomass, it seems logical that the opportunity should be taken to make use of this biomass. South Africa has established several factories that manufacture furniture from alien tree wood, and is seriously investigating the potential to mass-produce low-cost housing from alien tree biomass.
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    • 36. The water-related economic consequences of failing to adequately halt the spread of invasive alien trees in the Western Cape
    • Academic level: PhD
    • Core team member: Willem de Lange
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University / Rhodes University
    • Brief outline: The project aims to quantify the economic impacts of changes to the Western Cape water supplies resulting from different invasive alien tree control scenarios.
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    • 37. Using economic and ecological modelling to facilitate the eradication of the House Crow (Corvus splendens) in Cape Town
    • Academic level: MSc or PhD
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: The House Crow (Corvus splendens) originates on the Indian subcontinent and is one of the world’s most invasive bird species (Suliman et al. 2011), with invasive populations in Africa, Asia and Australia (Nyári et al 2006). These crows are highly intelligent, with reported impacts including reduction of native bird diversity through predation, competition and disease. The bird also has economic impacts on grain crops and livestock, and on humans as it readily attacks to defend nests or steal food (Evans et al 2014). Commensurate with the severe impacts, C. splendens was listed as Category 1a in NEMBA (2014) as a species which needs to be controlled.
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    • 38. What do toads eat & what eats toads?
    • Academic level: Honours
    • Core team member: John Measey
    • Based at: Stellenbosch University
    • Brief outline: The evolution of frogs (Amphibia: Anura) has resulted in a massive diversity of species covering many ecological niches and geographical areas, resulting in generalists and specialists. The toads (Anura: Bufonidae) have been particularly successful radiating across the world in 10 million years (Pramuk et al 2008), and it has been proposed that they have evolved key traits of a range expansion phenotype (van Bocxlaer et al 2010). One of these traits (the parotid gland) makes toads unpalatable to many would be predators, and it has been proposed that frogs do not eat toads.
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