The University of Pretoria conferred 20 postgraduate degrees – 13 PhD degrees and seven MSc degrees – to FABIans during the Spring graduation ceremony. Congratulations to these FABIans on their remarkable achievements!


Istifanus Aiki

Title of thesis: Diversity, nesting behaviour, thermoregulation and cephalic secretions of termites from two Nigerian savannahs.

Supervisor: AA Yusuf

Co-supervisor: CWW Pirk

Mahukpe Ayelo

Title of thesis:  Identification of kairomones for the biological control of Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) and Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood), two major pests of tomato Solanum lycopersicum L.

Supervisor: AA Yusuf

Co-supervisor: CWW Pirk

External co-supervisor: ÉMM Delétré (French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, France)

Bethelihem Bekele

Title of thesis:  Semiochemicals from the African weaver ant Oecophylla longinoda (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and their repellency on mango fruit flies.

Supervisor: AA Yusuf

Co-supervisor: CWW Pirk

External co-supervisor : ÉMM Delétré (French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, France)

Juanita Engelbrecht

Title of thesis:  Population genetics and genomics of Phytophthora cinnamomi.

Supervisor: N van den Berg

Quentin Guignard

Title of thesis: Visual and chemical ecology of Sirex noctilio.

Supervisor: JD Allison

Co-supervisor: B Slippers

Minette Havenga

Title of thesis:  Biology and pathology of the Eucalyptus foliar pathogen Teratosphaeria destructans.

Supervisor: J Aylward

Co-supervisors: BD Wingfield, MJ Wingfield, LL Dreyer (Stellenbosch University), F Roets (Stellenbosch University)

Caroline Kung'u

Title of thesis: Biological traits, plant sugar feeding patterns and chemical ecology of Aedes aegypti.

Supervisor: CL Sole

Co-supervisors: CWW Pirk, B Torto

Mammoloro Malefo

Title of thesis: Functional characterization of transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing the maize Bowman-Birk serine protease inhibitor gene under biotic and abiotic stress.

Supervisor: BG Crampton

Co-supervisor: BJ Vorster

Marja Mostert O'Neill

Title of thesis: Genomic consequences of natural and artificial selection in wild and advanced breeding populations of Eucalyptus grandis.

Supervisor: AA Myburg

External co-supervisors: JOC Borevitz (Australian National University, Australia), JJ Acosta Jaramillo (North Carolina State University, United States of America)

Wilma Nel

Title of thesis: Ophiostomatoid fungi associated with fungus farming insects in South Africa.

Supervisor: TA Duong

Co-supervisors: ZW de Beer, MJ Wingfield

Mmatshepho Phasha

Title of thesis: Functional characterization of pathogenicity genes in Fusarium circinatum.

Supervisor: ET Steenkamp

Co-supervisor: MPA Coetzee, BD Wingfield, MJ Wingfield

Joséphine Queffelec

Title of thesis: Influence of reproductive biology on the invasion dynamics of Sirex noctilio.

Supervisor: B Slippers

Co-supervisors: JM Greeff, JD Allison

Yosef Hamba Tola

Title of thesis: Characterization of the honey bee and stingless bee gut microbiota: A hidden diversity and host-specific microbiomes from sub-Saharan-African region.

Supervisor: B Slippers

External co-supervisor: JC Paredes Escobar (International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya)


Nhlanhla Shabangu

Title of dissertation: Effect of long-term inorganic fertilizer combinations on weed abundance and diversity in maize.

Supervisor: D Marais

Co-supervisor: BJ Vorster

Juanita Hanneman

Title of thesis: Analyses of the in vitro effects of phosphite on Phytophthora cinnamomi isolates.

Supervisor: N van den Berg

Co-supervisor: SA Prabhu, J Engelbrecht

Stephan Henning

Title of thesis: Genome-wide diversity assessment for genetic resource management of Eucalyptus dunnii, E. grandis, E. nitens and E. urophylla.

Supervisor: AA Myburg

Co-supervisor: NA van der Merwe

Lomile Khoete

Title of thesis: Population genetic tools for Gonipterus sp. 2 and its egg parasitoid Anaphes nitens.

Supervisor: MPA Coetzee

Co-supervisors: I Barnes, BP Hurley, B Slippers, ML Schröder

Pozisa Majaja

Title of thesis: Fusarium species diversity from maize and teff in the northern Free State.

Supervisor: NA van der Merwe

Co-supervisor: N Yilmaz

Shannon Wilson

Title of thesis: Systemic defence responses induced by Chrysoporthe austroafricana in Eucalyptus grandis.

Supervisor: S Naidoo

External co-supervisor: LS Shuey (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Australia)

Garyn Townsend

Title of thesis: Initial assessment of the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) in indigenous afrotemperate forests.

Supervisor: ZW de Beer

External co-supervisors: MP Hill (Rhodes University), F Roets (Stellenbosch University)