Discovering tomorrow

Zoology

Fields of research and specialization by the Zoology Department, NMMU.

  • Marine Biology and Ecology

    • Studies on individual species, populations and communities of animals living in shallow water ecosystems such as sandy beaches, surf zones, rocky shores, bays and shallow nearshore waters
    • Marine ichthyology
    • Population ecology and trophic dynamics of marine mammals and seabirds
    • Marine top predators as indicators of environmental health
    • Conservation and management of marine turtles
    • Sustainable exploitation of inter-tidal, and in-shore resources by commercial, recreational and subsistence fishers;
    • Environmental Impact Assessments for structural developments [roads, bridges, housing, etc.] in the coastal zone;
       
  • Estuarine Biology and Ecology

    • Studies on the biology, ecology and functional role of plant and animal populations and communities in estuaries
    • Impact of catchment activities on estuarine and coastal ecosystem diversity and productivity;
    • Freshwater flow requirements for estuaries
    • Plankton dynamics associated various estuarine types
    • Estuarine Ichthyology
    • Sustainable exploitation of estuarine resources;
    • Ecotoxicological studies on key species [commercially exploited, position in food web]
    • Sediment contamination in estuaries and coastal zone by industrial effluents [e.g. heavy metals, PCBs, other pesticide residues from agricultural practices in the catchment regions] and its impact on ecosystem function.
       
  • Terrestrial Ecology

    • Studies on Animal-plant interactions, with a specific focus on the ways in which animals use resources (mainly dietary resources) and the impacts on the plants.
    • Predator-prey interactions, particularly in terms of diet choices of the apex African predators (lion, spotted hyaena, leopard, cheetah, African wild dog), and the consequences for their prey.
    • Population studies of terrestrial animal populations, with a focus on integrating resource use into models of carrying capacity
    • Biodiversity and geographical distribution of land animals and how this has changed over the historical period
    • Effects of global warming on animal distribution and ecology
    • Ecology, utilization and exploitation of African wild life, with a view to sustainable use
       
  • Ecophysiology

    • Small mammal ecophysiology
    • Hibernation patterns and physiological processes
    • Conservation of rare species
       
  • Conservation Biology

    • Focussing on understanding the extinction risks of key species (e.g. elephants, black rhino, leopards, lions, cheetah, Cape griffon vulture)
    • Developing managment recomendations

EU Contacts/Co-operative programmes

  • Oceans and Coasts – NMMU Zoology co-operative marine research programme
  • Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany
  • University of Ghent, Belgium
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • University of Montpellier, France
  • Falklands Conservation, Falkland Islands
  • Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  • Mammal Research Instutute, Polish Academy of Sciences