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Mission

The department of Botany strives to be a group of competent and committed professionals in the biological field that cooperatively realize activities towards:

  • Quality and relevant undergraduate and post-graduate training
  • Active involvement in research and community service
  • Integrated activities with and presentation of service courses for other schools
  • National and International linkages
  • Staff development

Vision

The University of Venda is situated in an area with unique biogeographical, social and biological conditions. The department of Botany strives to contribute to the social upliftment of the local community and biological conservation of the area through its expertise in appropriate fields of Ethno-biology, conservation Biology, Limnology and Biotechnology. The experience in teaching students and working with people from disadvantaged rural communities is a special advantage.


The following programmes are offered by the Department of Biological Sciences:

  • Aquatic Biology: For carrers in water resource management
  • Conservation Biology: For careers in biological conservation and ecotourism.
  • Biological Sciences: For careers that require a general biological background and careers in teaching. It is recommended that pre-med students follow this programme with a combination of modules required by the medical school of choice.
  • Ethno-biology : For careers in Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Technology.
  • Social Biology : For careers in the Social Ecology field.

Undergraduate Modules

The following is a list of undergraduate modules offered by the department:

First Year Modules:

  • BIO 15 41 : Diversity of life
  • BIO 1542 : Cell Biology
  • BIO 1643 : Ecology, Adaptation and Evolution

Second Year Modules:

  • BIO 2541 : Animal Physiology
  • BIO 2542 : Ecology
  • BIO 2543 : Fresh Water Biology
  • BIO 2544 : Plant Anatomy and Morphology
  • BIO 2633 : Human Physiology for Health Sciences and Biotechnology
  • BIO 2645 : Plant Taxonomy and Reproductive Biology
  • BIO 2646 : Introduction to Conservation Biology
  • BIO 2647 : Social Biology I
  • BIO 2648 : Animal Phylogeny
  • BIO 2649 : Ethnobiology I

Third Year Modules:

  • BIO 3541 : Animal Ecophysiology
  • BIO 3542 : Biological Assessment
  • BIO 3543 : Disturbance and Plant Ecology
  • BIO 3544 : Limnology BIO 3645 : Plant Physiological Ecology
  • BIO 3646 : Water resource Manangement
  • BIO 3647 : Conservation Biology II
  • BIO 3648 : Social Biology II
  • BIO 3649 : Evolutionary Genetics
  • BIO 3641 : General Ethnobiology

Postgraduate Modules

Honours Modules

A candidate wishing to enroll for an Honours degree in Biological Sciences must be in possession of B.Sc. in Biological Sciences or equivalent.

The following is a list of modules offered for the degree Honours in Biological Sciences:

  • BIO 5501 : Research Methodology
  • BIO 5502 : Research Project
  • BIO 5503 : Research Apprenticeship
  • BIO 5504 : Applied Plant Ecology
  • BIO 5505 : Applied Plant Ecophysiology
  • BIO 5506 : Plant Physiology
  • BIO 5607 : Population Genetics
  • BIO 5608 : Applied Animal Ecology
  • BIO 5609 : Animal Physiology
  • BIO 5610 : Limnology
  • BIO 5611 : Conservation Biology
  • BIO 5512: Applied Ethnobiology
  • BCM 5525 : Applied Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Seminars

The following publications are grouped according to the staff member.

Maanda Hadhzi Ligavha-Mbelengwa

H.T Hipondoka, J.N. Aranibar, C. Chirara, M. Ligavha and S.A. Macko. 2003. Vertical distribution of grass and tree roots in arid ecosystems of Southern Africa: niche differentiation or competition? Journal of Arid Environments 54: 319 – 325.

Contract Research Reports:

  • Ligavha-Mbelengwa MH (Ligavha M) 2001: The utilization of riparian plants in the Mutshundudi River catchment. In: 2001. In: Dederen, JJ, Fouche, PSO, Gaigher, IG, Gaigher, MJ, John, RP, Ligavha, M, Mashau, E, Menne, PF, Nethononda, LO, Szubarga, A, Todd, C, Van der Waal, BCW, Van Ree, T, Venter, C, Wood, C and Weisser, P. A socio-biological study of the aquatic resources and their utilization in an underdeveloped rural region, the Mutshindudi River catchment. WRC Report no 714/2/01: 59 -62.
  • Ligavha-Mbelengwa MH (Ligavha M) 1994: Local-level economic valuation of savanna woodland resources: village cases from Zimbabwe, by the Hot Springs Working Group.

Conferences, Symposia and Workshops Presentations

  • 1989: Presented my MSc work entitled, A study of the interactions between C3 and C4 grasses on Signal Hill, Cape Town, at a Symposium at the University of the Western Cape.

  • 1991: Presented a paper at AETFAT conference on the topic,"Distribution patterns and nearest-neighbour interactions in Malawi, Zomba.

  • 1992: Presented a paper at SAAB conference at the University of Durban-Westville on the topic, "What is an optimal site for seedling establishment?"

  • 1993: Presented a paper at SAAB at the University of the Western Cape on the topic, "Use of removal experiments to test for competition among mature plants."

  • 1993: Participated in a two week long Symposium in Zimbabwe at Hotsprings, Mutare City, on the topic, "Economic evaluation methods - Value of trees." A report thereof is readily available.

  • 1996: Presented a talk at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Botany Department, on my MSc work, entitled, A study of the interactions between C3 and C4 grasses on Signal Hill, Cape Town.

  • 1998: Presented a talk entitled: Short-term disturbances on grasses at Ben Lavin Nature Reserve in the Limpopo Province, South Africa, at SAAB at the University of Cape Town in January 1998.

  • 1999: Presented a talk entitled: The physiology of sprouting and its ecological implications in savanna woodlands. in Knysna, Brenton Hotel.

  • 2002: Presented a poster entitled, Uninvestigated and hidden treasure, at an Indigenous Plant Use Forum at Pine lodge, George, Western Cape.

  • 2002: Presented a poster entitled, Variation in the rooting pattern of Terminalia sericea along a rainfall gradient, at an Arid Zone Ecology Forum at Grootfontein Agricultural College, Middelburg (27-30 August).

  • 2003: Presented a talk on my PhD work, entitled, The physiology of sprouting and its ecological implications in savanna woodland dynamics at SAAB at Pretoria University.

Membership to Professional Bodies:

  • South African Association of Botanists
  • Botanical Society of South Africa
  • Natural Areas Association

Training Attended

  • Techniques for plant Ecophysiology: In Italy, Rapolano Terme Town.
  • Use of Infra Red Gas Analyser (IRGA): In Cape Town, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

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Prof BCW Van Der Waal

Selected Publications

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1974. Observations on the breeding habits of Clarias gariepinus (Burchell). J. Fish Biol. 6: 23-27.

  • Van der Waal, B C W1975. Age and growth studies of Clarias gariepinus (Burchell) (Clariidae) in the Transvaal, South Africa. J. Fish Biol. 7: 227-233.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1978a. Production and growth of Aischgrund Carp at the Lowveld Fisheries Research Station, Transvaal. J. sth. Afr. Wildl. Mgmt. Ass. 5(1): 63-67.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1978b. Some breeding and production experiments with Clarias gariepinus (Burchell) in the Transvaal. S. Afr. J. Wildl. Res. 8: 13-17.

  • Seaman, M T, W E Scott, R D Walmsley, B C W van der Waal and D F Toerien 1978c. A limnological investigation of Lake Liambezi, Caprivi. J. Limnol. Soc. sth. Afr. 4(2): 129-144.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1980. Aspects of the fisheries of Lake Liambezi, Caprivi. J. Limnol. Soc. sth. Afr. 6(1): 19-31.

  • Stegman, P, A J H Pieterse, M T Seaman and B C W van der Waal 1981. A preliminary limnological survey of Swartwater Dam (Qua-Qua). Water S A 7(1): 16-27.

  • Van der Waal, B C W and P H Skelton 1984a. Check list of fishes of Caprivi. Madoqua 13(4): 303-320.

  • Van der Waal, B C W and L Polling 1984b. Successful handstripping of male Clarias gariepinus. Water S A 10(4): 215-217.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1985a. Aspects of the biology of larger fish species of Lake Liambezi, Caprivi, South West Africa. Madoqua 14(2): 101-144.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1985b. Stripping male Clarias gariepinus of semen. Aquaculture 48: 137-142.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1986a. Note on artificial fertilization and early development of Synodontis nigromaculatus (Pisces: Mochokidae). S. Afr. J. Zool. 21(3): 269-271.

  • Skelton, P H, M N Bruton, G S Merron and B C W van der Waal 1986b. The fishes of the Okavango Drainage System in Angola, South West Africa and Botswana: Taxonomy and distribution. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J L B Smith Institute of Ichthyology 50:21 pp.

  • Polling, L, B C W van der Waal and H J Schoonbee 1987. Improvements in the large scale artificial propagation of the sharptooth catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell) in South Africa. S. Afr. J. Anim. Sci. 17(4): 176-180.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1990. Aspects of the fishery of the Eastern Caprivi, Namibia. Madoqua 17(1): 1-16.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1991a. Fish life of the oshana delta in Owambo, Namibia and the translocation of Cunene species. Madoqua 17(2): 201-209.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1991b. A survey of the fisheries in Kavango, Namibia. Madoqua 17(2): 113-122.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1996a. Some observations on fish migrations in Caprivi, Namibia. Sth. Afr. J. aquat. Sci. 22(1/2): 62-80.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1996b. Importance of grasshoppers as traditional food in villages in Northern Transvaal, South Africa. In Jain, S. K. (Ed). Ethnobiology in Human welfare.Deep Publications, New Delhi:35-41.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1997a. Fundudzi, a unique, sacred and unknown South African lake. Sth. Afr. J. aquat. Sci. 23(1): 42-55.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1997b. Some observations on the fish life in a seasonal sand river. Sth. Afr. J.aquat. Sci. 23(1):95-102.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1998. Survival strategies of sharptooth catfish Clarias gariepinus in desiccating pans in the northern Kruger National Park. Koedoe 41 (2):131-138.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 1999. Ethnobiology and uses of grasshoppers in Venda, Northern Province, South Africa. South African Journal of Ethnology 22(2):103-109.

  • Moralee, R D, F H van der Bank, and B C W van der Waal. 2000. Biochemical markers to identify hybrids between the endemic Oreochromis mossambicus and the alien species O. niloticus (Pisces:Cichlidae). Water SA 26(2):263-268.

  • Van der Waal, B C W and R Bills 2000. Oreochromis niloticus (Teleostei: Cichlidae) now in the Limpopo River System. S. Afr. J. Sci. 96:47-48.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 2001a. Fish as a resource in a rural river catchment in Northern Province, African Journal of Aquatic Science 2000 25:56-70.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 2001b. Nile tilapia in South Africa – a threat or fish farming candidate? Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa Newsletter 2(5):16-20.

  • Van der Waal, B C W 2002. Mozambique tilapia are endangered by Nile tilapia. http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za.

Contract Research Report:

  • Van der Waal, B C W 2001. The importance of fish as a resource in the Mutshindudi River catchment. In: Dederen, JJ, Fouche, PSO, Gaigher, IG, Gaigher, MJ, John, RP, Ligavha, M, Mashau, E, Menne, PF, Nethononda, LO, Szubarga, A, Todd, C, Van der Waal, BCW, Van Ree, T, Venter, C, Wood, C and Weisser, P. A socio-biological study of the aquatic resources and their utilization in an underdeveloped rural region, the Mutshindudi River catchment. WRC Report no 714/2/01: 63-111.
  • Tweddle, D, Skelton, PH, Van der Waal, B C W, Bills, IR, Chilala, A and Lekoto, OT. 2004. Aquatic Biodiversity survey for the “Four Corners” Transboundary Natural Resources Management Area. Final Report – July 2004. African Wildlife Foundation, Kasane.

Chapters in Published Books:

  • Todd C B, Khorommbi K, van der Waal B C W and Weisser P J 2004. Conservation of woodland biodiversity: a complementary indigenous and european approach towards protecting a threatened woodland tree Brackenridgea zanguebarica. Chapter in: Use and Value of Indigenous Forests and woodlands in South Africa (ed. M Laws, H Eeley, C Shackelton and H Geach).
  • Van der Waal, B C W. 2004. Woodland grasshoppers as a free source of protein to rural households. Chapter 23 in: Use and Value of Indigenous Forests and woodlands in South Africa (ed. M Laws, H Eeley, C Shackelton and H Geach.)

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Mr. S. Foord

Selected Publications

  • Foord, S.H., Van Aarde, R.J., Ferreira, S.M. 1994. Seed dispersal by vervet monkeys in rehabilitating coastal dune forests at Richards Bay. S. Afr. J. Wildl. Res. 24: 56-59.

  • Bredenkamp, G.J., Ferguson, J.W.H., Foord, S.H., De Frey, W.H. 1999. Floristic assessment of an Afromontane fragmentation experiment in a pine plantation. Afr. J. Ecol. 37: 49-60.
    http://www.blackwellsynergy.com/servlet/useragent?func=showIssues&code=aje.

  • Foord, S.H., Dippenaar-Schoeman, A.S., Van der Merwe, M. 2002. A check list of the spider fauna of the Western Soutpansberg, South Africa (Arachnida: Araneae). Koedoe 45: 35-43.

  • Foord, S.H., Ferguson, J.W.H. & Van Jaarsveld, A.S. 2002. Endemicity of Afromontane grasshopper assemblages and its implications for grassland conservation. Afr. J. Ecol. 40: 318-327.
    http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/servlet/useragent?func=showIssues&code=aje.

  • Ferguson, J.W.H., Van Jaarsveld, A.S., Johnson, R., Bredenkamp, G.J., Foord, S.H., Britz, M. 2003. Rodent-induced damage to pine plantations: a South African case study. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment 95: 379-386.

  • Foord, S.H., Ferguson, J.W.H. & Van Jaarsveld, A.S. 2003. Coleopteran assemblages in Afromontane grasslands reflect fine-scale variation in vegetation. Environ. Entomol. 32:797-806. http://esa.edoc.com/server-java/Propub/esa/en-v32n4.contents.

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Mr. P. Fouche

Selected Publications

  • Lee, M.E., Moller, A., Fouche, P.S.O and Gaigher I.G. 1992. Morphology of fish scales: a technique study.EMSSA vol. 21.

  • Lee, M.E., Moller, A. and Fouche, P.S.O. 1992. Atechnique for the cross-sectional analysis of decalcified fish scales. EMSSA vol. 22.

  • Lee, M.E., Moller, A., Fouche, P.S.O and Gaigher I.G. 1992. SEManalysis of fish scale cross sections: a technique study. Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of Electron Microscopy Society of America. G.W. Bailey, J. Bentley and J.A. Small.(Eds.)

  • Fouche, P.S.O. 1994. Studies of fish scales – Just an academic exercise? Luvhone vol. 3 5.

  • Fouche, P.S.O. 1995. An investigation of Scale Morphology and Scale Annulus formation and an evaluation of the scale methods for the age determination of Labeo umbratus (Smith) (Pisces, Cyprinidae). Unpublished MSc. Thesis, University of Venda.

  • Gaigher , I.G. and Fouche P.S.O. 2001. A rapid method of habitat integrity assessment of small perennial streams in the Northern Province, South Africa, based on rheophilic fishes . SIL Verhandlung, vol 27 7. Fouche, P.S.O. and Gaigher, I.G. 2001. Niche differentiation in the rheophilic fishes of the Mutshindudi. In Gaigher, I.G. (Ed) “A Socio-biological study of the aquatic resources and their utilization in an underdeveloped rural region, the Mutshindudi River Catchment.” WRC project report 714/3/01, 52 – 69.

  • Gaigher , I.G. and Fouche P.S.O. 2001. An index of biotic integrity based on rheophilic fish in Gaigher, I.G. (Ed) “A Sociobiological study of the aquatic resources and their utilization in an underdeveloped rural region, the Mutshindudi River Catchment. WRC project report 714/3/01, 70 – 76.

  • Giaigher, I.G., Van der Waal, B.C.W. and Fouche, P.S.O. 2001. Fish distribution in the Mutshindudi River system. In Gaigher, I.G. (Ed) “A Sociobiological study of the aquatic resources and their utilization in an underdeveloped rural region, the Mutshindudi River Catchment.” WRC project report 714/3/01, 45 – 51.

  • Fouche, P.S.O., Vlok, W. and Angliss, M.K. 2003. The habitat preferences and food selection of Labeobarbus marequensis in the Luvuvhu and Mutale Rivers. Proceedings of the 7th Yellow fish Working Group conference.

  • Vlok, W. and Fouche P.S.O. 2003. Why invertebrates and fish? – an important link, Proceedings of the 7th Yellowfish Working Group conference.

  • Fouche, P.S.O. 2003. River Health and Water Quality. In Berger, K. et al (Eds). A First synthesis of the Environmental, Biological and Cultural assets of the Soutpansberg, Proceedings of the Workshop held at Lajuma Retreat 9 – 10 May 2003.

  • Fouche, P.S.O. and Giagher, I.G. Fishes. In Berger, K. et al (Eds). A first synthesis of the Environmental, Biological and Cultural assets of the Soutpansberg, Proceedings of a Workshop held at Lajuma Retreat 9 – 10 May 2003.

Reports

  • State of the rivers: Letaba and Levuvhu river systems. WRC report TT165/01.
  • Assessment of the riparian vegetation of the Mokolo River catchment. 2003. Report prepared for the Department of Environmental Affairs, Limpopo Province.
  • Assessment of the river health of the Nzhelele River within the Maremani Reserve, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Conferences

Poster papers

  • Fouche, P.S.O., Gaigher, I.G. and Van der Waal. 1988 – Aquatic Congress, Pretoria. “Evaluation of duckweed, Lemna minor, as feed for Oreochromis mossambicus in a recirculating system.
  • Fouche, P.S.O., Gaigher, I.G. and Lee, M.E. 1991 – Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Ecosystems Conference, Grahamstown. “Annulus formation in Labeo umbratus.”
  • M.E. Lee, A. Moller, P.S.O. Fouche and I.G. Gaigher 1991 – EMMSA Conference, Cape Town. “ Morphology of fish scales – a technique study”.

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The following is a list of staff members in the department of Biological Sciences:

Designation Name Contacts
Mr. R.T Tshivhandekano Tel: +27 15 962 8261
Email:robie@univen.ac.za
Mr. M.P Tshisikhawe Tel: +27 15 962 8450
Fax: +27 15 962 8648
Email: tshisip@univen.ac.za
  Mr. A Masevhe Tel: +27 15 962 8617
Email: