Dr Marietjie Oosthuizen

PhD, University of Pretoria

MSc, University of Pretoria

BSc, University of Pretoria


Lecturer and researcher

Office: 2-47, Zoology and Entomology Building

Phone: +27 (0)12 420-4618

Email: [email protected]


Researcher ID: K-7923-2012

Behaviour and Physiology of Small Mammals

I investigate the behaviour and physiology of small mammals, and the primary emphasis of my research is chronobiology. I am interested in the modulation of biological rhythms of animals by environmental factors with the aim of predicting their responses to climate change. In particular, I focus on animals that occur in more harsh or challenging habitats that may be more vulnerable to change. Currently I am using a high-altitude rodent, the ice rat, and subterranean African mole-rats as model species in this regard. I am also exploring the influence of social status and environment on the rhythms of animals, with social mole-rat species as a model. Further, I am interested in the reproductive biology of small mammals. Previously, I worked on the endocrinology and neuroendocrinology of solitary and social African mole-rats. More recently, my focus broadened to also include behavioural components such as social recognition and flexibility, solicitation behaviour and pair bonding. At the moment, I work on the ice rat, but these studies will be expanded to include other species of the same genus and species with different life histories.   


Postgraduate students



Dr PJ Jacobs (2020) Project title: Thermotolerance and expression of heat shock proteins under extreme heat conditions in a diurnal and a nocturnal rodent species.

Dr Ingrid van der Merwe (2015) Project title: The retinal photoreceptor topography and daily responses to illumination in a nocturnal and diurnal South African rodent.


Ms Simone Ackermann (2020) Project title: Environmental effects on the circadian systems of a diurnal (Rhabdomys dilectus) and nocturnal (Micaelamys namaquensis) rodent species: with specific reference to light pollution.

Mr Gerhard Goldner (2016) Project title: Social recognition and telencephalic binding sites of oxytocin in a solitary and a social Otomyine species.

Ms Ingrid van der Merwe (2011) Project title: Endogenous activity rhythms and the reproductive response to photoperiod in the reddish grey musk shrew and the eastern rock elephant shrew.

Ms Sonja Streicher (2011) Project title: Circadian rhythms of body temperature in free-living and laboratory Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis).

Mr Julian Muller (2011) External Masters, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Ms Anne-Gita Schleiber (2011) External Masters, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Mr Anton Becker (2009) External Masters, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Ms Caroline Vasicek (2004) Project title: Endogenous circadian rhythms of locomotor activity and plasma melatonin secretion in the Mashona mole-rat, Cryptomys darlingi: the role of light on rhythm entrainment.


Ms Carien Visser (2020) Project title: The effect of different stressors on the cortisol stress responses of breeding and non-breeding Highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae).

Ms Arantxa Blecher (2019) Project title: Endocrine correlates of dispersal in a eusocial mammal: the effect of dispersal on cortisol and prolactin plasma concentrations.

Mr Barry van Jaarsveld (2018) Project title: Locomotor activity and Tb rhythms in the Mahali mole-rat (C.h.mahali): the effect of light and ambient temperature variations.

Ms Andine Erasmus (2018) Project title: Locomotor activity of individual Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis) in intact colonies.

Ms Liezl Kruger (2016) Project title: Is it better to chill? The influence of cold, dilute nectar on the body temperature and activity patterns of white-bellied sunbirds (Cinnyris talatala).

Ms Simone Ackermann (2016) Project title: Circadian rhythms of locomotor activity in captive silvery mole-rats, Heliophobius argentocinereus (Rodentia: Bathyergidae).

Ms Meghan Haupt (2015) Project title: The effect of ambient temperature on locomotor activity and body temperature in the highveld mole-rat (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae).

Ms Carol Hoole (2010) Project title: The locomotor activity rhythm of the spiny mouse, Acomys spinosissimus from Southern Africa: light entrainment and endogenous circadian rhythms.

Mr Low de Vries (2007) Project title: Circadian rhythms of locomotor activity in Ansell’s mole-rat, Fukomys anselli: are mole-rat clocks ticking?

Mr Konrad Schottner (2005)Project title: The chronobiology of the common mole-rat (Cryptomys hottentotus hottentotus) from Sani Pass, South Africa.

Ms Leanne Hart (2003) Project title: The chronobiology of the Natal mole-rat, Cryptomys hottentotus natalensis.

Published by Christopher Weldon

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