University of Pretoria Logo
English |  Afrikaans |    
  
Departement Dierkunde en Entomologie
 

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

Information for prospective students

Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences Yearbook 2010

ZEN 161 
Name: Animal Diversity
Level: 1st year
Credits: 8
Term: S2
Description:
Animal classification, phylogeny, organisation and terminology. Evolution of the various animal phyla, morphological characteristics and life cycles of parasitic and non-parasitic animals. Structure and function of reproductive, respiratory, excretory, circulatory and digestive systems.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Berndt van Rensburg

[TOP]

ZEN 251 
Name: Invertebrate Biology
Level: 2nd year
Credits: 12
Term: Q1
Description:
Origin and extent of modern invertebrate diversity; parasites of man and domestic animals; biology and medical importance of arachnids; insect life styles; the influence of the environment on insect life histories; insect phytophagy, predation and parasitism; insect chemical, visual, and auditory communication.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Dr. Kerstin Krüger

[TOP]

ZEN 261 
Name: African Vertebrates
Level: 2nd year
Credits: 12
Term: Q3
Description:
Introduction to general vertebrate diversity; African vertebrate diversity; vertebrate structure and function; vertebrate evolution; vertebrate relationships; aquatic vertebrates; terrestrial ectotherms; terrestrial endotherms; vertebrate characteristics; classification; structural adaptations; habits; habitats; conservation problems; impact of humans on other vertebrates.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Chris Chimimba

[TOP]

ZEN 351 
Name: Population Ecology
Level: 3rd year
Credits: 18
Term: Q1
Description:
Scientific approach to ecology; evolution and ecology; the individual and its environment; population characteristics and demography; competition; predation; plant-herbivore interactions; regulation of populations; population manipulation.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Elissa Cameron

[TOP]

ZEN 352 
Name: Mammalogy
Level: 3rd year
Credits: 18
Term: Q1
Description:
Mammalian origins and their characteristics: evolution of African mammals; structure and function: integument, support and movement; foods and feeding; environmental adaptations; reproduction; behaviour; ecology and biogeography; social behaviour; sexual selection; parental care and mating systems; community ecology; zoogeography. Special topics: parasites and diseases; domestication and domesticated mammals; conservation.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Marthan Bester

[TOP]

ZEN 353 
Name: Community Ecology
Level: 3rd year
Credits: 18
Term: Q2
Description:
The scientific approach; characteristics of the community; the community as a super organism; community changes; competition as a factor determining community structure; disturbance as a determinant of community structure; community stability; macro-ecological patterns and mechanisms.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Rudi van Aarde

[TOP]

ZEN 354 
Name: Physiology
Level: 3rd year
Credits: 18
Term: Q2
Description:
This module in animal physiology is designed to promote understanding of animals as integrated systems at every level of organisation. The module focuses on the function of tissues, organs and organ systems of multicellular organisms in chemical and physical terms. Animal physiology is the study of how a living animal functions. This module adopts a systems-based approach that covers many of the subdisciplines of physiology, ranging from neural physiology and endocrinology to mechanoreception and osmoregulation.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Andrew McKechnie

[TOP]

ZEN 355 
Name: Insect Diversity
Level: 3rd year
Credits: 18
Term: Q1
Description:
The extent and significance of insect diversity. Functional insect morphology. The basic principles of taxonomy and the classification of taxa within the Insecta. Insect orders and economically and ecologically important southern African insect families. Identification of insect orders and families using distinguishing characteristics. General biological and behavioural characteristics of each group. Grouping of insects into similar lifestyles and habitats.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Clarke Scholtz

[TOP]

ZEN 361 
Name: Ecophysiology
Level: 3rd year
Credits: 18
Term: Q4
Description:
The costs of living; factors affecting metabolic rate; limitations to the acquisition of energy and nutrients; the principles of nutritional ecology; problems associated with herbivorous diets; the effects of temperature on whole-organism processes and the response of species to temperature variation; ectothermic and endothermic temperature regulation; animal responses to high and low temperatures; water balance physiology of insects and vertebrates; osmoregulation in aquatic and terrestrial environments; the importance of physiological ecology for understanding geographic variation in body size, range size, and abundance.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Sue Nicolson

[TOP]

ZEN 362 
Name: Evolution and Phylogeny
Level: 3rd year
Credits: 18
Term: Q3
Description:
Evolution as a process and pattern, prime movers in evolution: selection, drift, general population genetics. Population differentiation, clines, subspecies and species, adaptation as a major force in evolution and the panglossian paradigm, molecular evolution. Phylogeography, phylogenetic reconstruction. Evolutionary biogeography. Adaptation, Darwin's formulation, proximate and ultimate causation, genetic and development constraints, optimality. Phenotypic models, the comparative method, convergent evolution. Evolution of complex biological systems, origin of life and sex, macro-evolution, punctuated equilibrium, human evolution. Levels of selection. Species concepts.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Dr. Catherine Sole

[TOP]

ZEN 363 
Name: Behavioural Ecology
Level: 3rd year
Credits: 18
Term: Q3
Description:
The history of behavioural ecology. A causal, developmental, evolutionary and adaptive approach. Sensory systems and communication. Sexual selection, mate choice and sperm competition. Kin selection and group living. Special reference to social insects. The behavioral ecology of humans. Phylogenetic basis of behavioural analysis. The role of behavioural ecology in conservation planning.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Dr. Christian Pirk

[TOP]

ZEN 364 
Name: Conservation Ecology
Level: 3rd year
Credits: 18
Term: Q4
Description:
This course is intended to provide students with skills to undertake field surveys that are essential for research and planning in the conservation of biodiversity. The course has a large fieldwork component. A field trip will be conducted over a ten-day period during the September vacation in the Sani Pass region of the Drakensberg (including South Africa and Lesotho). The students will be actively involved in planning and executing the field surveys, and will be responsible for analysing and presenting the results. The students will gain valuable practical experience in the field by applying a number of survey techniques and focusing on several different taxa that are relevant to conservation ecology.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Berndt van Rensburg

[TOP]

ZEN 365 
Name: Insect Pest Management
Level: 3rd year
Credits: 18
Term: Q4
Description:
Definition, classification and characteristics of insect pests. Concepts of economic levels. Monitoring, surveys, sampling and forecasting. Yield loss assessment. Philosophy and context of integrated pest management. Alternative methods of pest control. Insecticide resistance and management. Important pests of South African agricultural crops, gardens and lawns.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Dr. At Schoeman

[TOP]

 

POSTGRADUATE

The Department of Zoology & Entomology has experience in a wide array of biological disciplines, including systematics and evolution, conservation biology, population and community ecology, physiological ecology, behavioural ecology and pest management. Refer to the alphabetical list of academics and their research topics for more details.

More information about Regulations and Syllabi for Postgraduate Studies can be found in the Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences Postgraduate Yearbook 2010


 

HONOURS

The BSc (Hons) degree is presented on a full-time (one year) basis.

Honours course coordinators:
Prof. Andrew McKechnie: tel. (012) 420-3232; email aemckechnie@zoology.up.ac.za
Dr Christian Pirk: tel. (012) 420-4616; email cwwpirk@zoology.up.ac.za 

For further information:
Prospective students

The candidate specializes in either Entomology or Zoology. The course comprises a total of 10 modules. Six/four are compulsory. In addition one/three choice modules are to be selected from the remaining six modules.

BSc (Hons) Entomology

Compulsory six modules
ZEN 701 Research Project (50%)
ZEN 702 Research Methods (10%)
ZEN 707 Pest Management (10%)
ZEN 713 Scientific Communication (10%)
ZEN 782 Insect-Plant Interactions (10%)
BAS 751 General Research Methodology

Choice of one module (10% each)

ZEN 703 Systematics and Evolution
ZEN 704 Environmental Physiology
ZEN 705 Ecology
ZEN 710 Mammal Ecology
ZEN 712 Behavioural Ecology
ZEN 783 Global Climate Change and Biodiversity

BSc (Hons) Zoology

Compulsory four modules
ZEN 701 Research Project (50%)
ZEN 702 Research Methods (10%)
ZEN 713 Scientific Communication (10%)
BAS 751 General Research Methodology

Choice of 3 modules (10% each)

ZEN 703 Systematics and Evolution
ZEN 704 Environmental Physiology
ZEN 705 Ecology
ZEN 707 Pest Management
ZEN 710 Mammal Ecology
ZEN 712 Behavioural Ecology
ZEN 782 Insect-Plant Interactions
ZEN 783 Global Climate Change and Biodiversity

 


ZEN 701 
Name: Research Project
Level: Honours
Credits: 80
Term: One-year course
Description:
A student will complete a research project under the supervision of one of the members of staff. The purpose of the project is to provide a thorough grounding in the planning, execution, analysis and scientific writing phases of a research project. A student needs to perform all the background reading, observations, and experiments pertaining to the project. All academic staff members contribute to the list of available research projects. Projects are designed so as to allow for their successful completion within the Honours year, but in many circumstances have sufficient depth and academic merit to warrant extension towards an MSc degree.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Andrew McKechnie
2. Dr. Christian Pirk

[TOP]

ZEN 702 
Name: Research Methods in Zoology
Level: Honours
Credits: 16
Term: Q1
Description:
This module provides students with the planning, data handling, writing and presentation skills required in zoological research. Philosophy of science. What science is and how it differs from other philosophies. Experimental design. The prodecures involved in planning and executing a well-designed research programme. Mathematical techniques for biologists. The concepts and applications of data manipulation procedures used in biological research. Scientific writing. The writing style and formats required for reseach proposals, report writing and scientific publications. Scientific public speaking. The elements of a good scientific presentation.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Andrew McKechnie
2. Dr. Christian Pirk

[TOP]

ZEN 703 
Name: Systematics, Evolution and Biogeography
Level: Honours
Credits: 16
Term: Q2
Description:
The object of this module is to introduce students to several contemporary problem areas in systematics, evolutionary theory and biogeography, and to use this as a basis for exploring current approaches and methods in systematics.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Chris Chimimba
2. Prof. Clarke Scholtz
3. Dr. Catherine Sole

[TOP]

ZEN 704 
Name: Environmental Physiology
Level: Honours
Credits: 16
Term: Q4
Description:
We have selected major environmental variables, such as day length, temperature, water and energy, and will examine their action on the physiology of selected animals. We discuss selected aspects of ecophysiology which are currently active research areas and show how important these environmental variables are at different levels.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Nigel Bennett
2. Prof. Sue Nicolson
3. Prof. Andrew McKechnie

[TOP]

ZEN 705 
Name: Ecology
Level: Honours
Credits: 16
Term: Q1
Description:
The module focuses on the dynamics of populations and communities from a demographic, conservation and evolutionary perspective. Special attention is given to the consequences of habitat fragmentation, long-term dynamics, viability, and the processes involved in maintaining the structure and function of communities in the African context. Group discussions, also during a field excursion, provide opportunities to apply theoretical principles and design research projects directed at solving environmental problems.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Rudi van Aarde
2. Prof. Berndt van Rensburg

[TOP]

ZEN 707 
Name: Integrated Pest Management in Africa
Level: Honours
Credits: 16
Term: Q3
Description:
Pest outbreaks and the role of integrated pest management; the socio-economic imlications of these actions; estimates, monitoring and yield loss assessment of pests; approaches and objectives of different control methods like chemical, physical, cultural and biological control. The use of semiochemicals and genetic engineering as interference methods; politics, legislation and philosophy of IPM; pest models; expert systems; application and use of computer technology in pest management decisions (databases, modelling); decision tools and techniques.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Dr. Prem Govender

[TOP]

ZEN 710 
Name: Large Mammal Ecology
Level: Honours
Credits: 16
Term: Q2
Description:
This module will provide the foundation of understanding required by honours students who wish to either move directly into a career involving the management of large mammals, or else advance into field research and further postgraduate studies on the ecology of large mammals in African savannas. The key principles upon which the ecological understanding of large mammals currently rests at population, community and ecosystem levels in the African savanna biome will be discussed.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Elissa Cameron

[TOP]

ZEN 712 
Name: Behavioural Ecology
Level: Honours
Credits: 16
Term: Q4
Description:
The module will cover key disciplines currently enjoying prominence in the field of behavioural ecology. Animal communication: sensory bases of communication, communication and the environment, evolution of communication, communication in social groups, dominance and dominance hierarchies. Living in groups; hormones and behaviour; mate choice; evolution of behaviour; carnivore behavioural ecology.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Willem Ferguson
2. Dr. Christian Pirk

[TOP]

ZEN 713 
Name: Scientific Communication
Level: Honours
Credits: 16
Term: Q2
Description:
Essays must be completed from a selected list of essay topics presented by staff members. Each student will have an oral examination at the end of the year. Students will be examined on general aspects of zoology, prescribed eading and on their individual research project. The panel will comprise internal staff and the external examiner.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Andrew McKechnie
2. Dr. Christian Pirk

[TOP]

  ZEN 782 
Name: Insect-Plant Interactions
Level: Honours
Credits: 16
Term: Q4
Description:
This course will provide an overview of the fascinating and complex world of insect-plant interactions. Insects and plants have co-occurred and co-evolved on this planet for at least 400 million years, and in many systems insects are the primary consumers of plant tissue. We will sample the diversity of strategies and counter-strategies that have evolved at the interface between herbivory and plant defence, using case studies and applying unifying theory wherever possible.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Sue Nicolson
2. Dr. Kerstin Krüger
3. Dr. Jeff Garnas

[TOP]

  ZEN 783 
Name: Global Climate Change and Biodiversity
Level: Honours
Credits: 16
Term: Q4
Description:
The course aims to provide students with an understanding of some of the challenges faced by conservation as a result of global climate change. Content: Global climate change; global change; biodiversity and biodiversity data; ecological niche modelling; ecosystem services and conservation.

Course Coordinator(s):

1. Prof. Clarke Scholtz
2. Prof. Andrew McKechnie
3. Dr. Mark Robertson

[TOP]

 

MASTER'S DEGREES

Admission to master's studies is dependent on the candidate being in possession of a BSc (Honours) degree in Zoology or Entomology or an equivalent degree as evaluated by the Head of the Department.

The study will involve a research project with a dissertation under guidance of a supervisor who will be a suitable academic staff member of the department. Potential candidates should contact staff members to discuss possible projects based on their own and the staff members’ research interests.

 

 

DOCTORAL DEGREES

Admission to doctoral studies is dependent on the candidate being in possession of a Masters degree in Zoology or Entomology or an equivalent degree as evaluated by the Head of the Department.

The study will involve a doctoral research project with a thesis under guidance of a supervisor who will be a suitable academic staff member of the department. Potential candidates should contact staff members to discuss possible projects based on their own and various staff members’ research interests.

[TOP]