Prof. Mark Robertson

I am currently a lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria. I am interested in biological invasions, species distributions, community ecology and the role that invertebrates play in ecosystem processes.

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Katherine Bunney

PhD Candidate

Project Title: The functional role of termites in savanna ecosystems

Freedom Shabangu

Masters Student

Project Title: Efficacy and biases in inspections for biosecurity threats in South Africa

Vanessa van Meer

Masters Student

Project Title: The role of cryptic Mastomys species in encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus epidemiology: insights from molecules and modelling

Dené Visser

Honours Student

Project Title:The effect of pitfall trap size and configuration on sampling ant assemblages in grasslands


Takalani Nelufule – PhD student 2022.
Investigating the potential consequences of moving native species within South Africa in terms of biological invasions

Candice Lamb – Masters Student 2022
Quantification of bioturbation by soil organisms in savannah ecosystems

Monica Leitner – Project Coordinator for Soil Fauna in Africa (SoFIA) Consortium 2019 – 2022.

Kerryn Grenfell – DSI-NRF Centre for Invasion Biology – Administrator and Technician 2018 – 2021.

Alice Walker – PhD student (U. Liverpool) 2018 – 2021.
The functional importance of ants in savanna ecosystems.

Jabulile Mzizi – Honours student 2020.
Range size and functional diversity in ants.

Eileen Engelbrecht – Honours Student 2020.
Assessing the intraspecific variation in the ants of Sani Pass in response to temporal changes.

Tamryn Venter – Honours Student 2020.
The factors preventing globally distributed agricultural pests from establishing in South Africa.

Katelyn Faulkner – PhD and Postdoc 2019.
Identifying global priorities for the prevention of biological invasions.

Clara Gaudard – Honours Student 2018.
Intraspecific variation in ants: Testing a central paradigm of functional trait ecology.

Takalani Nelufule – Masters Student 2018.
Invasive terrestrial invertebrates in the South African pet trade.

Candice Lamb – Honours Student 2018.
Potential distribution of the invasive emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis.

Greg de Jong – Honours Student 2018.
A comparison of ant diversity between natural and disturbed montane grasslands in South Africa.

Caitlin Gevers – Honours Student 2017.
Investigating species and functional diversity in the re-assembly of savanna ant communities.

Corlien Lambrechts – Honours Student 2017.
Taxonomic and functional diversity of ant species found in rehabilitated and natural grassland.

Tom Bishop – PhD and Postdoc 2017.
What controls the stability of ant communities over environmental gradients?

Sarah Newman – Masters Student 2017.
Taxonomic and functional diversity of ants across environmental gradients.

Georgina Wilson – Masters Student 2017.
Assessing and prioritising corridors in Mpumalanga for the management of alien plants.

Cavin Shivambu – Masters Student 2017.
Risk assessment of tarantula species in the pet trade in South Africa.

Michelle Kral – Masters Student 2017.
The quantification of structural and functional connectivity of landscape corridors: A case study based on mammal corridor usage in a fragmented grassland ecosystem in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.

Heather Campbell – Postdoc 2016.
Evaluating the conservation value of Sand Forest for ant assemblages: unravelling the role of disturbance and conservation.

Gary Beukman – Masters Student 2016.
Diversity and distribution of bees (Hymenoptera) in southern African savanna.

Gareth Walker – Masters Student 2016.
The potential range of Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven) in South Africa.

Christien Steyn – Honours Student 2016.
Identifying traits that are correlated with upslope range expansion by alien plants.

Ian Engelbrecht – PhD 2016.
Taxonomy and Conservation of Trapdoor Spiders in Gauteng Province, South Africa.

Gary Beukman – Masters Student 2016.
Diversity and distribution of bees (Hymenoptera) in southern African savanna.

Gareth Walker – Masters Student 2016.
The potential range of Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven) in South Africa.

Christien Steyn – Honours Student 2016.
Identifying traits that are correlated with upslope range expansion by alien plants.

Albé Bosman – Masters Student 2015.
Identifying ecological indicators to assess the impacts of climate change on biodiversity.

Monica Leitner – Masters Student 2015.
Decomposition of leaf litter and wood across a rainfall gradient.

Luke Bentley – Masters Student 2015.
Assessing the potential impact of climate change in the south-eastern Great Escarpment.

Liezl Wichmann – Honours Student 2015.
Documenting the re-assembly of savanna ant communities following experimental suppression.

Wilna Jansen – Masters Student 2014.
Arachnid diversity across an elevation gradient.

Rethabile Motloung – Masters Student 2014.
Invasion success and niche modelling.

Grace Tshivhandekano – Masters Student 2014.
Ant diversity across an elevation gradient at Mariepskop.

Bradley Reynolds – Masters Student 2014.
The effects of long-term burning regimes on savanna spider assemblages.

Mosiuoa Bereng – Coursework Masters Student 2014.
Environmental factors influencing invasion of Lilium formosanum in Mpumalanga Province.

Samantha Jamison – Honours Student 2014.
An assessment of ant community diversity in rehabilitated old lands.

Andrew Davies – PhD Student 2013.
Investigating the effects of termitaria in African savannas.

Monica Leitner – Honours Student 2012.
Insect diversity associated with termite mounds in savannas.

Jonathan Atkinson – Coursework Masters Student 2011.
Remote sensing of bugweed in pine plantations in KwaZulu-Natal.

Nico Lubcker – Honours Student 2011.
Understanding invasive potential of silver carp.

Patricia Dube – Coursework Masters Student 2010.
Comparing insect diversity in rehabilitated pine plantations to natural grasslands.

Charmaine Theron – Honours Student 2010.
Interaction between two biological control agents released against cat’s claw creeper, Macfadyena unguis-cati in South Africa.

Robyn Powell – Honours Student 2010.
Alien species richness along altitudinal gradients in Mpumalanga: a comparison between dirt and tar roads.

Vuyokazi April – Masters Student 2009.
Competition between biocontrol agents released on Lantana camara.

René Wolmarans – Masters Student 2009.
Predicting potential ranges of alien plant invaders using records from the native and adventive range.

Albé Bosman – Honours Student 2009.
A conservation priority assessment of South African small mammals: an analysis based on conservation cube methodology.

Bernard Coetzee – Masters Student 2008.
Bird conservation and climate change in South Africa.

Basani Mkhombo – Coursework Masters Student 2008.
Identifying regions of high fire frequency in the Drakensberg grasslands.

Kyle Harris – Masters Student 2008.
Impact of Opuntia stricta on invertebrates in Kruger National Park.

Paul Trethowan – Honours Student 2008.
Ecological niche modelling of an invasive alien plant and its potential biological control agents.

Craig Jackson – Masters Student 2007.
The ecology and conservation of the Juliana’s golden mole.

Linda Nel – Coursework Masters 2007.
Predictive modelling of the distribution of Theba pisana in South Africa.

Faansie Peacock – Honours Student 2006.
The ecological dynamics of the invasive alien Common Myna in South Africa.

Cheryl Tosh – Masters Student 2005.
Conservation planning in the grassland biome: incorporating land cover and climate change.

René Wolmarans – Honours Student 2005.
Investigating the impact of pompom weed on invertebrate diversity in the grasslands of Gauteng.

Carina Malherbe – Coursework Masters 2004.
The influence of environmental variables on the distribution of closely related antlion species in southern Africa.

Bradley Reynolds – Honours Student 2004.
Environmental effects on coleopteran diversity in the Maloti-Drakensberg region.

Bernard Coetzee – Honours Student 2004.
Silver wattle alters arthropod assemblages in the Sani Pass region.

Jorista van der Merwe – Honours Student 2004.
Impact of silver wattle on small mammal assemblages in the Sani Pass region.