Past Students

Take a look at our publications page for research outputs from these projects...

2020

Amanda Bourne (Ph.D.)

 

Thesis: Can social behaviour, particularly load-sharing, buffer against fitness costs associated with heat stress?

Supervisors: Dr. Susan CunninghamProf. Amanda Ridley, Dr. Claire Spottiswoode

Collaborator: Prof. Andrew McKechnie

Matthew Noakes (Ph.D.)

Thesis: Phenotypic and genotypic sources of variation in the thermal physiology of a passerine bird

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie

Krista Oswald (Ph.D.)

Thesis: Vulnerability of a Fynbos-endemic bird to climate warming: insights from past and present responses to high temperatures

Supervisors: Dr Ben Smit, Dr Alan LeeDr Susan Cunningham, Dr Shelley Edwards

Jack Harper (M.Sc.)

 

Assessing the climate change vulnerability of reptile and amphibian species in Table Mountain National Park

 

Supervisors: Prof. Wendy Foden, Dr Susan Cunningham, Dr Nicola van Wilgen

        Matt Orolowitz (M.Sc.)

Life on the Edge: Does body size dictate how birds deal with the heat in South Africa’s most extreme desert?

Supervisors: Dr Susan Cunningham

Barry van Jaarsveld (M.Sc.)

Thesis: Thermoregulatory adaptation to tree cavity microclimates in endotherms living in a hot desert: intra- and interspecific variation

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Prof. Nigel Bennett 

2019

Andries Janse van Vuuren (B.Sc. Hons)

Thesis: The beak and facial skin as heat radiators in the Southern Ground-Hornbills (Bucorvus leadbeateri)

Supervisor: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Dr. Lucy Kemp

Michelle Bouwer (B.Sc. Hons)

Thesis: Non-invasive quantification of physiological stress in southern yellow-billed hornbills (Tockus
leucomelas
): a validation of faecal glucocorticoid metabolite assays

 

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Prof. André Ganswindt, Celiwe Ngcamphalala

Sekgwari Mpho Malematja (M.Sc.)

Thesis: Phenotypic flexibility of digestion in White-browed Sparrow-Weavers (Plocepasser mahali): limits to digestive flexibility and dietary enzyme modulation

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Prof. William Karasov

2018

Tanja van de Ven (Ph.D.)

 

Thesis: Implications of climate change on the reproductive success of the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Tockus leucomelas

 

Supervisor: Prof. Phil Hockey, Dr Susan Cunningham, Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Prof. Peter Ryan

Ryan O'Connor (Ph.D.)

 

Thesis: Chilled birds in hot places: thermal physiology of arid-zone caprimulgids

 

Supervisor: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Prof. Mark Brigham

Shannon Conradie (M.Sc.)

 

Thesis: Acute and chronic heat stress risk in desert birds under past, present and future climates​

 

Supervisor: Prof. Stephan Woodborne, Prof. Andrew McKechnie

Anne Ankermann (B.Sc. Hons)

Thesis: Global variation of avian metabolic rates and body temperature

 

Supervisor: Prof. Andrew McKechnie

Emma Jepsen (B.Sc. Hons)

 

Thesis: Validation of a non-invasive assay for circulating stress hormones in an Afrotropical arid-zone passerine
bird, the southern pied babbler

 

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Prof André Ganswindt, Celiwe Ngcamphalala

Monique van Dyk (B.Sc. Hons)

 

Thesis: The effect of humidity on evaporative cooling efficiency in a passerine bird

 

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Matthew Noakes

2017

Mokgatla Jerry Molepo (M.Sc.)

 

Thesis: Foraging behaviour and thermal physiology of cape sugarbirds; sex-specific responses to temperature

 

Supervisor: Dr Ben Smit, Dr Alan Lee, Dr Susan Cunningham

Ryan Olinger (M.Sc.)

 

Thesis: Hot Drongos - foraging, parental care and thermoregulatory trade-offs

 

Supervisors: Dr Susan Cunningham, Dr Tom Flower

Krista Oswald (M.Sc.)

 

Thesis: Seasonal physiological responses in the Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus): a Fynbos endemic shows limited capacity to cope with temperature extremes

 

Supervisors: Dr Ben Smit, Dr Alan Lee

Nicolas Pattison (M.Sc.)

 

Thesis: Seasonal physiological and behavioural responses of a small bird in an arid habitat

 

Supervisor: Dr Ben Smit

 

Nevanya Lubbe (B.Sc. Hons)

 

Thesis: The energetic significance of communal roosting and insulated roost nests in a small arid-zone bird

 

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Matthew Noakes

2014

 

Penny Pistorius (M.Sc.)

 

Thesis: How air temperatures affects flight initiation distance in arid-zone birds

 

Supervisors: Dr Susan Cunningham, Dr Rowan Martin


Sekgwari Mpho Malematja (B.Sc. Hons)

 

Thesis: Seasonal physiological and behavioural responses of a small bird in an arid habitat

 

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Matthew Noakes
 

2015

Salamatu Abdu (M.Sc.)


Thesis: Does the availability of shade limit use of water holes by desert birds?

 

Supervisors: Dr Susan Cunningham, Prof. Peter Ryan, Prof. Andrew McKechnie


        Matthew Noakes (M.Sc.)

 

Thesis: Spatial and seasonal variation in thermoregulatory limits in a widespread southern African passerine

 

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Prof. Blair Wolf


        Nicholas Pattinson (B.Sc. Hons)

 

Thesis: Heat dissipation behaviours in Sonoran Desert birds

 

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Prof. Blair Wolf

 

2014

Ben Smit (Ph.D.)

 

Integrating behavioural and physiological variables to predict avian responses to climate change in the Kalahari Desert

 

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew E. McKechnie, Prof. Phil Hockey

Maxine Whitfield (M.Sc.)

 

Thesis: Evaporative cooling capacity and heat tolerance in Kalahari Desert birds: effects of body mass and phylogeny

 

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Prof. Blair Wolf
 

Robyn Milne (M.Sc.)


Thesis: Physiological tolerances of high temperatures in Fynbos birds: implications for climate change

 

Supervisors: Prof. Peter Ryan, Dr Susan Cunningham, Dr Alan Lee, Dr Ben Smit

Phenias Sadondo (M.Sc.)


Thesis: The influence of temperature on parental investment in southern fiscals and consequences for nestling growth

 

Supervisors: Prof. Peter Ryan, Dr Susan Cunningham, Dr Rowan Martin

2011

 

Kate du Plessis (M.Sc.)


Thesis: Heat tolerance of Southern Pied Babblers in the Kalahari Desert: how will they respond to climate change? 

 

Supervisors:  Prof. Phil Hockey, Prof. Amanda Ridley, Dr Rowan Martin, Dr Susan Cunningham

Gina Louw (M.Sc.)


Thesis: How will climate change affect birds in hot African deserts?

 

Supervisors: Prof. Phil Hockey, Dr Rowan Martin, Dr Susan Cunningham

2009

Justine Cordley (M.Sc.)

 

Thesis: Hot, hotter, gone? Predicting climate-induced species losses from hot African ecosystems 

 

Supervisors: Prof. Phil Hockey

2008

Ben Smit (M.Sc.)

 

Thesis: Patterns of thermoregulation and seasonal metabolic adjustments in small owls in an arid environment

 

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew McKechnie, Prof. Graham Alexander