Graduation 2019 for the CBC

Dr Egbon with his supervisors
Dr Egbon with his supervisors

Graduation 2019 saw nine post-graduate students from the Centre for Biological Control receiving their degrees. The ceremonies occurred on 11th and 12th of April 2019. The seven MSc graduates are Prinavin, Thifhe, Sandiso, Jufta, Slindile, Clint and Ben while Egbon and Kudzai graduated with the Doctorates. Below are the thesis titles of the graduates including the citations of the two PhD students.

Prinavin Naidu - MSc Botany.
Title: The invasion ecology of Nymphaea Mexicana Zucc. (Mexican Waterlily) in South Africa.

Thifhelimbilu Mulateli- MSc Entomology
Title: Augmentative releases of Dactylopius austrinus De Lotto (Dactylopiidae; Hemiptera) for biological control of Opuntia aurantiaca Lindley (Cactaceae), in South Africa.

Sandiso Nguni- MSc Entomology
Title: Reproductive isolation mechanisms of two cryptic species of Eccritotarsus (Hemiptera: Miridae), biological control agents for water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes (Matrius.) Salms-Laubach. (Pontederiaceae).  

Jufta Musedeli- MSc Entomology
Title: Interaction between the root-feeding beetle Longitarsus bethae (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica (Nematoda: Heteroderidae): Implications for the biological control of Lantana camara L. (Verbenaceae) in South Africa.  With Distinction

Slindile Mnguni- MSc Entomology
Title: Climatic suitability of Dichrorampha odorata Brown and Zachariades (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), a shoot-boring moth for the biological control of Chromolaena odorata (L.) R.M. King and H. Robinson (Asteraceae) in South Africa.  With Distinction.

Clint Mac Aleer- MSc Entomology
Title: An Integrated Management System to reduce False Codling Moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) infested citrus fruit from being packed for export. 

Benjamin Miller- MSc Entomology
Title: Post-Release Evaluation of Megamelus scutellaris Berg. (Hemiptera: Delphacidae): A biological control agent of water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms-Laub (Pontederiaceae) in South Africa. With Distinction

Ikponmwosa Egbon- PhD Entomology
Title: the performance and preference of a specialist herbivore, Catorhintha schaffneri (Coreidae), on its polytypic host plant, Pereskia aculeata (Cactaceae).
Citation: When a plant is grown outside of its indigenous distribution it escapes the specialist insect herbivores that feed on it. This escape from herbivory has evolutionary consequences. Ikponmwosa Egbon investigated the evolutionary changes that have occurred in a South American plant that has become a problematic weed in South Africa. This plant has evolved weed-like traits in South Africa, which is bad news. However, the weed is still susceptible to herbivory suggesting that biological control, using specialist insects, could be an effective management solution.

Kudzai Mtambanengwe - PhD Microbiology
Title: Genetic characterisation of a range of geographically distinct Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus (HearNPV) isolates and evaluation of biological activity against South African populations of the African bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).
Citation: The African bollworm is an insect pest causing severe damage to a wide variety of staple crops adversely affecting food production. In South Africa and other countries, the pest is partly controlled using a virus named HearNPV which, in contrast to chemical insecticides, is environmentally friendly and not harmful to beneficial insects. In his thesis, Kudzai isolated and characterised a novel South African HearNPV which he recovered from bollworms infesting a green pepper plantation outside Grahamstown. The novel virus was found to be genetically distinct and has superior virulence against.

The CBC congratulates all of our graduates on their hard work and excellent achievements and for flying the flag high for biological control research. A list of all past students, and a link to their theses is available on the CBC website, links to the above theses will be added soon. 


Prof. Martin Hill, Thife Mulateli, Prinavin Naidu, Dr Iain Paterson and Prof. Julie Coetzee after Thursday's

Prof. Martin Hill, Clint Mac Aleer and Prof. Sean Moore after Thursday's ceremony

Dr Iain Paterson and Sandiso Mnquni

Dr Kudzai Mtambanengwe getting hooded at the Friday ceremony

Dr Iain Paterson, Dr Ikponmwosa Egbon, Prof Julie Coetzee and Prof. Martin Hill after Friday's ceremony

Source:  Staff Reporter

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