Prospective students may propose projects in agreement with a core team member or other supervisor. Project outlines are simply guidelines to projects of particular interest to core team members. Please contact the responsible core team member for further details.
- 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.
Assessing essential biodiversity indicators for biological invasions in South African National ParksThere are > 800 alien species in South African National Parks (SANParks). A monitoring programme was developed to determine trends in the invasion, spread and management of alien species using a set of indicators for SANParks.
- Knowledge of the current and potential distribution and abundance of introduced species is crucial for many aspects of invasion science.
- Many animal species have been freely translocated around the world as part of the exotic pet trade. Globalisation has been one of the main contributing factors leading to human movement and trade of diversified species from continent to continent. To date, more than 1000 reptiles are sold as pets worldwide.
Determining realistic restoration goals for riparian vegetation in a social-ecological landscape context: Case Study Dwars River, Western CapeThe United Nations declared 2021-2030 the “decade on ecosystem restoration” (https://www.decadeonrestoration.org/), during which the restoration & repair of degraded lands needs to be scaled up to mitigate against global warming and to improve the flow of ecosystem goods and services.
- Invasive insects are an increasing threat to native diversity but the question of how well they will perform in face of climate change remains unexplored. In particular, the knowledge of their adaptive evolutionary trait change in response to climate change is limited. This line of enquiry poses several known challenges...
- 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.
- Climate change and invasive alien species are two primary drivers of biodiversity loss globally, and yet the integration of thermal ecology and invasion biology is just starting to get momentum in invasion biology research (Garcia & Clusella-Trullas 2019).
- Biological invasions are a major threat to biodiversity and economy worldwide (Nel et al. 2004; Pimentel et al. 2005; Hulme 2012). South Africa is second most alien plant invaded country to Australia, and consequently has devoted immense effort to managing alien and invasive species (Richardson and van Wilgen 2004; Poona 2008).
Long term soil physico-chemical and microbial recovery monitoring after Eucalyptus camaldulensis clearingThe assessment of invasive alien plant management requires monitoring of both soil and vegetation properties over long time to gauge the effectiveness of ecological restoration (Ruwanza et al., 2018). Monitoring of alien plant cleared areas is essential for measuring soil and vegetation recovery trajectory, unfortunately most monitoring has been focused on vegetation recovery only neglecting soil physio-chemical and biological properties.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shipping is a major pathway of introduction for marine alien species that are transported on ships' hulls or in ballast water carried by ships. There is a strong relationship between shipping traffic and the number of species introduced, and more species are likely to be introduced to ports that are on busy shipping routes.
- The Guttural toad, Sclerophrys gutturalis, was first sighted in Constantia, a peri-urban area of Cape Town in 2000. Since then, the species has expanded over this and neighbouring suburbs. There is evidence that the Guttural toad is shifting its breeding times earlier in the year (Vimercati et al 2019) so that it may coincide with a local congener.
- The Guttural Toad has successfully invaded the islands of Mauritius and Reunion, as well as Constantia near Cape Town. All invasions seem to have originated near Durban, KZN. Recent research has shown ways in which these toads have adapted to their invaded habitats. But how would these react if they were moved back to Durban?
- Social behavior can provide species with host of ecologically and evolutionary advantages (Gardner et al 2016), which may serve to increase a given species' invasive potential (Gruber et al. 2017; Damas-Moreira et al 2018).These advantages acts to benefit factors such as, transport and propagule pressure, but also physiological features, resource use, and survival.
The dynamics of recovering riparian vegetation along the Dwars River, Western Cape: how much intervention is needed to achieve restoration of riparian vegetation following the clearing of invasive alien trees?The Dwars River catchment is in the Banghoek valley near Stellenbosch. The riparian zone of Dwars River covers approximately 44 ha. The river and tributaries are heavily infested with invasive alien plant species...
The water-related economic consequences of failing to adequately halt the spread of invasive alien trees in the Western CapeThe project aims to quantify the economic impacts of changes to the Western Cape water supplies resulting from different invasive alien tree control scenarios.