Biodiversity Postgraduate Programmes


Honours Modules

SZOO070: Zoology Research Project
Credits: 40 Co-requisite / Prerequisite:
Students will undertake a research project of original research of the student’s own choice of an approved topic within one of the following research programmes: Parasitology, Limnology, Small Mammal ecology, Avian ecology or Molecular Population Genetics. Please contact the relevant staff for available research projects.

SBOT070: Botany Research Project Credits: 40 Co-requisite / Prerequisite:
Research project on an approved topic, based on the student’s interest and in consultation with the Head of Department.

SZOB071: Parasitology Credits: 20 Co-requisite / Prerequisite:
This module is an introduction to the interesting World of Parasites.  Apart from their economic importance, an understanding of parasitic diseases is of considerable practical importance.  Although the widest possible scope of parasites is dealt with, the emphasis will mostly be on parasites of freshwater fish.  The course will focus on the following parasitic groups with reference to morphology (form and function), biology and economic importance: Protista, Platyhelminthes, Aschelminthes, Arthropoda, Minor groups (e.g. Acanthocephala, Pentastomida, etc).  Applicable research techniques will be illustrated for different groups.

SBOA071: Plant Micro-propagation and its Application Credits: 20 Co-requisite / Prerequisite:
Introduction to general techniques in plant cell culture (callus and suspension culture, protoplast culture and its application, the regeneration of plants from cultured cells and tissues), the bio-technological application of regeneration techniques, natural products and metabolites from plants and plant tissue culture.

SBOB071: Plant Transformation Credits: 20 Co-requisite / Prerequisite:
Purpose of plant transformation, Agrobacterium, T-DNA, plasmids, selectable marker genes, micro-projectile bombardment, silencing of genes, molecular biology of plants (organisation of plant genes, functional genes, gene isolation, cloning strategies, regulation of gene expression), manipulation of plant product quality and quantity (improving various aspects).

SZOA072: Wildlife Management in Arid Regions Credits: 20 Co-requisite / Prerequisite:
This unit of learning covers the main principles of ecological science and how this can be applied to solve issues of conservation and wild life management.  The following topics form the basis of the study: biotic zones of southern Africa, identification and management of veld types and plant communities with special reference to the Limpopo Province, succession within veld types, planning and development of conservation areas, determining the composition and maintenance of wild life populations in isolated areas, carrying capacity, effects of isolation on: population dynamics, behaviour, predation.

SZOB072: Freshwater Ecosystems Credits: 20 Co-requisite / Prerequisite:
The focus of this component of the programme will be on the understanding and management of water bodies in Arid Zones as the LimpopoProvince, in particular, is situated in a region with a semi-arid climate.  The module will look at an overview of freshwater ecosystems, types of wetlands, wetlands of arid regions, management of wetlands in the arid regions, biomonitoring and research and sustainable utilization, Fish Health Assessment Index (HAI) and an overview of freshwater biota with reference to fish, plants, invertebrates, amphibians and birds.

SZOC072: Biological Systematics Credits: 20 Co-requisite / Prerequisite:
This module is an introduction to estimate evolutionary relationships among organisms through phylogenetic trees.The learning content of this module strives to introduce the student to the use of biological systematics in efforts to name and classify taxa. This is based on an understanding of the underlying evolutionary history among taxa and the usage of this knowledge in estimating relatedness among various levels of taxa. The module includes the following topics: cladistics, including aspects about parsimony, character matrices, character states, homology, homoplasy, fit and robustness; introduction to phylogenetics, including aspects about methods for creating trees, evolutionary models, gene trees and species trees, coalescent process, applications of phylogenies, molecular phylogenetics, sources of molecular information, techniques of molecular biology, sequence alignment, databases, genetic distance; introduction to phylogeography and bioinformatics and their uses.  

SBOA072: Savannah Ecology Credits: 20 Co-requisite / Prerequisite:
Plant community development involving species structure and community processes in time, concepts such as carrying capacity, population management, species diversity, veld rehabilitation and succession, factors influencing vegetation change (African examples), ecological and other relevant survey techniques (the use, value, execution and interpretation), application and integration of the above concepts and techniques n the understanding and characterization of African savannahs, with specific examples from the vegetation of the Limpopo Province.
SBOB072: Plant Responses to Environmental and Climate change Credits: 20 Co-requisite / Prerequisite:
Eco-toxicology and bio-monitoring, Pollution and its eco-toxicological consequences (agrochemicals, air pollution, sewage, heavy metals), bio-concentration of heavy metals in plants, heavy metal tolerance in plants, phyto-remediation of metal-contaminated soils, phytomining, bio-indication with transgenic plants, environmental bio-monitoring legal problems, bio-remediation. Climate change and the effect on plants.