Dr Berndt van Rensburg
PhD (University of Pretoria)
My research interests span a broad range of topics, including biogeographic and macroecological studies, spatial ecology, invasion biology and the integration of these fields. I therefore have a general interest to understand the mechanisms, both biological and anthropogenic, that account for changes in environmental variables and that translate into altered patterns in the distribution of biodiversity. Understanding such patterns at different spatial scales while considering different taxonomic groups is in my opinion an important component of efficient conservation planning. I also have a major interest in topics related to conservation focusing on the identification of bioindicator species that may reflect some measure of the character of the habitat within which they are found. As coordinator of the Masters of Conservation Biology course, I will be responsible for the development and running of the course. I hold an Extra-ordinary Professor position with the University of Pretoria (Dept. Zoology & Entomology).
Greve, M, Chown, S.L., van Rensburg, B.J., Dallimer, M. & Gaston, K.J. 2011. The ecological effectiveness of protected areas: a case study for South African birds. Animal Conservation 14, 295-305.
Van Rensburg, B.J., Levin, N. & Kark, S. 2009. Spatial congruence between ecotones and range restricted species: implications for conservation biogeography at the national scale. Diversity and Distributions 15, 379-389.
Hugo, S. & van Rensburg, B.J. 2008. The persistence of a positive spatial correlation between South African bird species richness and human population density. Global Ecology and Biogeography 17, 611-621.
Botes, A., McGeoch, M.A. & van Rensburg, B.J. 2006. Elephant- and human-induced changes to dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) assemblages in the Maputaland Centre of Endemism. Biological Conservation 130, 573-583.
Van Rensburg, B.J. , Chown, S.L. & Gaston, K.J. 2002. Species richness, environmental correlates, and spatial scale: a test using South African birds. American Naturalist 159, 566-577.
Long-term altitudinal gradient research in the Drakensberg, South Africa.
Grant Body: Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology
Grant Period: 2006 - 2014
Long-term monitoring of African elephant impacts on Sand Forest in the Maputaland Centre of Endemism
Grant Body: Dartmouth College
Grant Period: 2008 - onwards
Richards Bay Minerals Senior Prestige Award for best PhD dissertation in the Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria (2003)
Mellon Foundation Mentoring Programme award (2002)
Zoological Society of Southern Africa