Prof. Nigel Bennett

PhD, Cape Town

BSc (Hons), Bristol UK



Austin Roberts Chair of African Mammalogy

DST/NRF Research Chair in Mammalian Behavioural Ecology and Physiology

Office: 2-47, Ground Floor, Zoology Building

Phone: +27 (0)12 420-2538

Email: [email protected]

Researcher ID: E-4238-2010


Behavioural Ecology and Physiology of Mammals

The focus of my research is primarily animal physiology and behaviour, and I use the African mole-rat as the model animal. With my co-workers I have investigated the ecological and physiological factors that affect the control of reproduction and the evolution of sociality. My investigation into cooperative breeding in mammals is conducted from a variety of perspectives. The strength of this multi-faceted approach is that it has led to an integrated understanding of reproductive suppression in mole-rats at a level of understanding that has not been achieved for any other taxon. My research has set the benchmark for our understanding of the phylogenetic and ecological constraints that regulate reproductive success and social evolution in mammalian species.

I have a strong interest in chronobiology and biological rhythms in animals and have explored this in subterranean mammals, above ground animals as well as those mammals living in very arid environments. This last interest has led to an active research programme investigating ecophysiology in mammals from the Arabian Peninsula and I hold a visiting professorship at the King Saud University where I am a member of the Mammals Research Chair. However, the field of reproductive physiology is my main interest and I welcome enquiries from potential Masters and Doctoral candidates interested in joining my lab to pursue research in this area.


Postdoctoral researchers and research associates

Dr Timothy P. Jackson 1997 (UK)
Dr Frank Clarke 1999 (UK)
Dr Sarita Maree 2002 (RSA)
Dr Michael Scantlebury 2003 (UK)
Dr Lydia du Toit 2004 (RSA)
Dr Heike Lutermann 2004 (Germany)
Dr Fredrik Dalerum 2006 (Sweden)
D Andrew Young 2006 (UK)
Dr Anushka Kinahan 2007 (Ireland)
Dr Alfred Sichilima 2008 (Zambia)
Dr Nicole Hagenah 2008 (Germany)
Dr Maria Oosthuizen 2008 (RSA)
Dr Fredrik Dalerum 2008 (Sweden)
Dr Alan Harrison 2010 (Ireland)
Dr Gillian Robb 2010 (UK)
Dr Timothy Bray 2011 (UK)
Dr Katarina Medger 2011 (Germany)
Dr Christina Schmidt 2012 (USA)
Dr Cornelia Voigt 2012 (Germany)
Dr Hannah Thomas 2013 (UK)
Dr Jestina Katandukila 2014 (Tanzania)
Dr Johnny Wilson 2015 (USA)
Dr Sonja Streicher 2016 (RSA)
Dr Ingrid van der Merwe (RSA)
Dr Jestina Katandukila 2017 (Tanzania)
Dr Jan Olkruick 2018 (Czech Republic)
Dr Sasha Hoffmann 2019 (RSA)
Dr Dina Fagir 2018 (Sudan)
Dr Tanja Wolf 2019 (Germany)
Dr Samantha Mynhardt 2019 (RSA)
Dr Daniel Hart 2019 (RSA)
Dr Paul Juan Jacobs 2020 (RSA)

Postgraduate students


Dr Andrew C. Spinks
Dr Rosemary Cooney
Dr Lydia du Toit
Dr Maria Oosthuizen
Dr Hannah Thomas
Dr Katarina Medger
Dr Alfred Sichilima
Dr Jestina Katandukila
Dr James van Sandwyk
Dr John Low de Vries
Dr Ingrid van der Merwe
Dr Sonja Streicher
Dr Juan Scheun
Dr Dina Fagir
Dr Carol Hoole
Dr Samantha Mynhardt
Dr Tanja Wolf
Dr Jaco Visser
Dr Sachariah Muteka
Dr Sasha Hoffmann
Dr Rute Mendonca
Dr Amanda Maswanganye
Dr Daniel Hart
Dr Paul Jacobs
Dr Lauren Sahd
Dr Andrea Webster
Dr Vanessa Kamgang
Mr Saeed Mohammadi (pending)
Mr Tobias Suess (pending)
Mr Kyle Finn (pending)
Ms Tshephiso Matjelantle (pending)
Mr Hanna Merchant (pending) External
Mr James Gilbert (pending) External
Ms Esther Matthews (pending)


Miss Ursula Gabathuler cum laude
Miss Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen cum laude
Mr Andrew Molteno cum laude
Miss Maria Oosthuizen cum laude
Miss Desiree Thomas cum laude
Miss Marna Herbst cum laude
Miss Lindi Janse van Rensburg cum laude
Miss Caroline Vasicek cum laude
Miss Hermien Viljoen cum laude
Mr Penda Muteka
Ms Sonja Streicher
Ms Ingrid van der Merwe cum laude
Mr Ruan de Bruin cum laude
Mr Glen Malherbe cum laude
Mrs Ingrid Minnaar cum laude
Miss Marna Costanza cum laude
Mr James van Sandwyk cum laude
Miss Amanda Maswanganye
Miss Elizabeth Archer cum laude
Mr Craig Jackson cum laude
Miss Leanne Hart cum laude
Miss Peaceful Mabeta cum laude
Miss Sasha Hoffman cum laude
Mr Joshua Sarli
Mr Daniel Hart
Ms Chanel Rampartab cum laude (External)
Mr Gerhard Goldner
Mr Mungo Ngalameno cum laude
Miss Stephanie Leonida
Miss Simone Ackermann
Miss Liezl Retief cum laude
Mr Kyle Finn cum laude
Mr Barry van Jaarsveld cum laude
Ms Andine Erasmus cum laude
Ms Monique van Wyk (pending)
Mr Andries van Vuuren (pending)
Mr Dewald Kleynhans (pending)

Published by Christopher Weldon

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