M.Sc. Students

 

Barry van Jaarsveld

In 2016 I obtained a B.Sc. in Zoology at the University of Pretoria. Thereafter, in my honours year, I completed a project investigating the effect of different light and temperature regimes on circadian rhythms of locomotor activity and core body temperature in the Mahali mole-rat (Cryptomys hottentotus mahali). I am currently a M.Sc. candidate under the supervision of Prof. Andrew E. McKechnie and Prof. Nigel C. Bennett. Here we aim to establish whether the use of microclimates, specifically tree-cavity microclimates, has lead to the evolution of inter- and intraspecific variation in heat tolerance and evaporative cooling efficiency in desert endotherms. 

My research interests lie in understanding the mechanisms at play when elucidating the relationship between organism and it's environment. 

Contact

Barry van Jaarsveld

Department of Zoology and Entomology
University of Pretoria
Pretoria, 0002
South Africa

Email: vanjaarsveldbarry@gmail.com

 

Jessica Roberts

Contact

Jessica Roberts 

Gobabeb, Namib research institute

P.O. Box 953

Walvis Bay

Namibia

 

Email: jessie.d.roberts@gmail.com

I have had the privilege of travelling and exploring remote areas of Namibia throughout my school years. This exploration instilled in me a love for all life, and a sense of wonder for the intricacies of ecosystems, especially areas affected by rapid global changes. This fascination of the ability of species to adapt to changes in their environments led me to study a B.Sc. in Applied Biology and Evolution and Ecology as well as an Honours degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT). In 2018 I returned to Namibia to work as a researcher at Gobabeb, Namib research institute. This year I am starting my Masters degree supervised by Andrew McKechnie from the University of Pretoria and Susan Cunningham from the University of Cape Town. I will remain based at Gobabeb studying the thermoregulatory behavioural and microhabitat use of Dune Larks (Calendulauda erythrochlamys) in the Sand Sea of the Namib Desert.

Jack Harper

Contact

Jack Harper

FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
DST-NRF Centre of Excellence
University of Cape Town
Rondebosch, 7701
South Africa

 

Email: harpjac@gmail.com

I grew up on farms in the East Midlands of the UK, witnessing the conflicts between modern agriculture and the environment. This led me to study a BSc in Ecology and Environment at the University of Liverpool. After several opportunities to gain field experience in African ecosystems, I developed a strong affinity to African conservation issues and thus decided to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT). I was particularly drawn to study in Cape Town because of the diverse range of biodiversity and conservation challenges on its doorstep. During the coursework element of the masters I became increasingly interested in ways in which the predicted impacts of climate change can be incorporated into conservation planning and management. For my minor thesis I have the privilege to be working with Professor Wendy Foden, Dr Susie Cunningham, and Dr Nicola van Wilgen. The project aims to predict the climate change vulnerability of the reptile and amphibian species in Table Mountain National Park by examining the life histories of the species present, in combination with correlative modelling. 

 

Matthew Orolowitz

Contact

Matthew Orolowitz

FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
DST-NRF Centre of Excellence
University of Cape Town
Rondebosch, 7701
South Africa

 

Email: morolowitz@gmail.com

I was born and raised in Cape Town. The rich biodiveristy sparked my interest in birdwatching and subsequently became a passionate birder. However, when I was given the opportunity to volunteer at the Two Oceans Aquarium, I started devoting more time and interest to marine ecosystems. At the aquarium, I developed an understanding of and fascination for marine life. I was exposed to the problems and the dire need for conservation efforts in the marine world. I then went on to study a BSc undergraduate and Honours degree in Biodiversity and Ecology at Stellenbosch University. My interest in marine ecosystems led me to complete my honours in 2018 looking at the temporal fluctuations in abundance of Caprella mutica in South Africa. However, during my undergraduate degree in 2017, I conducted a study on the niche partitioning of waders on the mudflats of West Coast National Park. This project reignited my passion for studying birds and this brought me to the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology.

 
 

Miqkayla Stofberg

Contact

Miqkayla Stofberg

FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
DST-NRF Centre of Excellence
University of Cape Town
Rondebosch, 7701
South Africa

 

Email: stfmiq001@myuct.ac.za

I was born and raised in the beautiful and biologically diverse Cape Town, South Africa. Here I attended Mondale High School where I excelled at life sciences and particularly enjoyed teachings on the natural world. This impacted my decision to apply to UCT and study biological sciences. I had no particular interest at that time, I just enjoyed being immersed in the science of biology and listening to lecturers talk about their experiences in the field and their research findings. As time passed I became particiuarly interested in a lecturers section on animal behaviour. After I graduated with a BSc in Biological Sciences, I then got accetped to study Honours. Due to my sparked interest in animal behavioural ecology I chose to do my honour’s project on the foraging behaviour of an urban-exploiting passerine, the Red-winged Starling at UCT, supervised by Prof. Arjun Amar, Dr. Susan Cunningham and Dr. Petra Sumasgutner. I stuck with these amazing supervisors when deciding to apply for my MSc in biology. This was when I got exposed to the subject of heat dissipation behaviours and we decided on investigating this in the urban Red-winged starling as most of the research on heat stress only studied wild birds in relatively intact ecosystems.  

Clinton Bukho Tshingilane

Contact

Clinton Bukho Tshingilane

Department of Zoology and Entomology
University of Pretoria
Pretoria, 0002
South Africa

Email: clintonbukho@gmail.com

I was born in the Eastern Cape and raised in a communal household where livestock farming is for subsistence purpose. Growing up around these animals has kept a great interest in me on how to improve their productivity and hopefully make profit out of them. Thus, I obtained my B.Sc in animal production science and further obtained my Honours at the University of Fort Hare focusing on milk production and parity in dairy cows. In 2019, I have had a great privilege of doing my Masters at the University of Pretoria. Here under the supervision of Dr (Phd) Thobela Nkukwana and Prof. Andrew E. McKechnie we aim to address the impact of warming (heat stress) on poultry. Specifically highlighting the importance of REWL and CEWL to avian thermoregulation and changes over time in indigenous chickens. This research is of great importance in agriculture especially under the dynamics of global warming which has not yet been addressed in rural poultry production.

 

Carrie Hickman

Contact

Carrie Hickman

FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
DST-NRF Centre of Excellence
University of Cape Town
Rondebosch, 7701
South Africa

 

Email: carriejhickman@gmail.com

I have always dreamt of working with African wildlife. Growing up in the Scottish Borders, I never imagined this would be possible and I engulfed myself in working with animals and being outdoors with my own dog walking and pet sitting business.


After a life changing decision to come to South Africa and complete a Field Guiding course in 2016, I realised I wanted to understand more about the environment, and the environmental issues we face, in a more scientific sense. I embarked on a BSc honours degree in Environmental Science with The Open University and during this time I was lucky enough to become involved with the APNR Southern Ground Hornbill Project, run by the FitzPatrick institute of African Ornithology in the Greater Kruger. My honours project looked at the effects of temperature on prey types and size provisioned by ground hornbills to the nests during breeding. 


My interest remains in environmental science and the impacts of climate change. I am now starting my MSc on the effects of temperature on nestling growth and physiology in the southern ground hornbill. With the supervision of Dr Susan Cunningham and Dr Rita Covas, I am very excited to learn more about these charismatic thunderbirds.

Publications

PDF copies are available on request...

Thompson, L.J., Hickman, C.J., Davies, J.P., Fern, F. and Downs, C.T. (2019). A review of the use of birds’ nests by Egyptian geese, including a breeding attempt in a hooded vulture nest. African Zoology, 54:169-173.

 

 

 

Mathome O. Makola

Contact

Mathome O. Makola

Department of Zoology and Entomology
University of Pretoria
Pretoria, 0002
South Africa

Email: ottomathome@gmail.com

As a boy who grew up in one of the most rural regions of Limpopo, I have always been exposed and hence fascinated by how most wildlife inhabiting the area can be so well adapted, physiologically, morphologically and behaviourally to exploit the ever-changing environment and it's resources, whilst also being challenged by the presence and increase of human populations. This motivated me into doing a BSc in Biological Sciences followed by an Honours degree in the School of Animal, Plant & Environmental Sciences (AP&ES) at WITS University (2014 - 2018). One of my long term goals is to pursue a career that enables me to constantly learn about the Ecophysiology and Health of animals of all sizes to an extent that I could assist others in better managing them and the ecosystem services they provide. All this for the benefit of both parties. It is also for this reason that I am currently doing an Ecophysiological and Evolutionary based MSc (in Zoology) study at the University of Pretoria as supervised by Prof. Andrew McKechnie and Dr Matthew Noakes.

 
Contact the Research Group! hotbirdsresearchproject@gmail.com
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