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The Lab currently consists of

Dr Ute Schwaibold (Lab Supervisor)

Dr Ute SchwaiboldUte Schwaibold holds a PhD in Zoology (Animal Behaviour) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from Wits University and has been with the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences since 2006. She spent her first years at Wits working as a consultant in the field of environmental impact assessments and environmental management, which fueled her interest in the relationship between business, society and the environment and has shaped her research interests in urban ecology and sustainability. During her time as an environmental consultant she worked both as a project manager for biodiversity assessments, as well as a mammal and ecological specialist, having been part of and submitted assessments for over 40 EIAs and Basic Assessments.

Dr Schwaibold is a registered member of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions, the Zoological Society of Southern Africa and the International Association for Impact Assessments (SA).

Shalati Baloyi

My project is about business sustainability. I will be evaluating how South African companies assess water risk.




Siphelele Mkhize

My research seeks to interrogate ESG integration in South Africa's investment management process. Are there regulations and standards that manage the integration effectively or is corporate South Africa greenwashing?


Megan Nair

I am currently conducting research regarding the current state and effectiveness of Environmental Education in Gauteng schools. My research is conducted at three levels; involving the analysis of student environmental literacy levels, teacher experiences and motivations and Environmental Education policies. 


Nonhlanhla Ndobe

My name is Nonhlanhla “Nonny” Ndobe, MSc (Environmental Science) candidate. -My research aims to investigate the effects of heavy metals on soil, plants, and surface water bodies in the vicinity of hazardous landfill site. Generally, landfill sites are linked to environmental pollution due leachate leakage and foul smell. It seemed necessary to explore and investigate the possible effects on the existing hazardous landfill site as in most developing countries, the enforcement and monitoring processes have been difficult due to lack of suitable waste expertise and practices.

Faith Chigwanhire

My project aims to assess the extent of EIA follow-up activities at authorised/ approved projects in Gauteng and subsequently identify opportunities to improve the practice.



Abdulhakim Aljareo (PhD)

My research aims to contribute to sustainable development enhancement in Africa. It focuses on improving the performance of impact assessment means such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), based on analyzing the influence of country context on its performance. EIA and it’s role towards sustainability was prototyped and developed, and has been practiced in contexts (enabling environment of EIA), that are very different from the African context. Therefore, discovery of the relationship between country context and EIA, and its influence on EIA performance would provide opportunities for the improvements of such tools compatible with the African context.

Precious Mashiane

I'm an MSc candidate with interests in climate change vulnerability and resilience in the South African corporate space. My research looks at the extent to which different sectors address climate-related risks and systems resilience to climate change in their strategic management and decision making. 


Muhammad Jassat

I am working on a study that aims to assess the extent to which the City of Johannesburg embeds climate change resilience in its policies and to determine whether climate resilience thinking is implemented in the City.


Kirsten Butler

My research aims to assess the potential conservation benefits and sustainability of the Klipkraal biodiversity stewardship programme.



Nicole Atcheson

I am completing my Masters in urban ecology. Specifically, my project investigates the quality of ecological corridors and its associated ecosystem services in Johannesburg. I hope to conclude whether or not these ecological corridors have the potential to increase climate change adaptation in the city.


Neliswa Dhlamini

My name is Neliswa “Neli” Dhlamini. I’m conducting research in the field of climate change. I’m hoping to discover the opportunities and challenged of corporate climate action in South Africa. I hope my research can make meaningful recommendations that can help move the private sector in the right direction.


Viratha Hariram

My research aims to critique the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's environmental requirements of its listed companies against the environmental priorities and areas of concern of South Africa.


Completed Postgraduate Research

PhD research topics
  • The ecology of Otters in an urban environment: Adapting to a changing world (Dr. Damian Ponsonby) ABSTRACT
  • Strategic environmental risk management in South African companies (Dr. Claudia Kitsikopoulos) ABSTRACT 
MSc research topics
  • Does habitat modification and population size of ice rats (Otomys sloggetti robertsi) contribute to soil erosion in Lesotho? (Thabiso Mokotjomela; Dissertation) ABSTRACT 
  • The Impact of Sinkholes on Species Richness and Diversity: Implications for Mine Rehabilitation (Bronwyn Keiller; MSc CW/RR) ABSTRACT 
  • Assessing the presence/absence of environmental reporting in the annual reports of South African listed companies using a hierarchical framework. (Simon Gear; MSc CW/RR) ABSTRACT 
  • The environmental soundness and consumer understanding of eco-labelled food products in South Africa (Kathryn Stausebach; MSc CW/RR) ABSTRACT 
  • Advancing integrated research at the University of the Witwatersrand: an investigation using integral theory (Kanina Foss; MSc CW/RR) ABSTRACT 
  • Effective Impact Prediction: How accurate are predicted impacts in EIAs? (Noella Molefe; Dissertation) ABSTRACT 
  • An assessment of the environmental sustainability guidelines and requirements set by international stock exchanges (Brandon Urdang; Dissertation) ABSTRACT 
  • Biodiversity management principles: a cross sectoral comparison of South African companies (Guro Kristiansen; MSc CW/RR) ABSTRACT 
  • Comparing the implementation of sustainability initiatives in national and multinational fast-moving consumer goods companies (Alexander Haw; MSc CW/RR) ABSTRACT 
  • Urban ecosystem services in Johannesburg, South Africa (Veronika Els; Dissertation)
  • Assessing the potential risk of accumulation of selected freshwater contaminants in urban and peri-urban otters (Kaylee Clark; Dissertation) ABSTRACT 
  • A sociological and biological study of human-wildlife interactions within the urban edge of Johannesburg (Emily Taylor; Dissertation) ABSTRACT 
  • Determinants that influence renewable energy investments in Africa: a case study (Charlene Wrigley; MSc CW/RR) ABSTRACT 
  • Environmental Impact Assessments: Have EIA regulation amendments influenced report quality (Kariesha Tilakram; MSc CW/RR) ABSTRACT 
  • The impact of environmental contamination on the morphology of small mammals (Dominique Greeff; Dissertation) ABSTRACT 
  • A review of environmental journalism in South Africa and trends in environmental reporting (Lutfiyah Suliman; Dissertation) ABSTRACT 
  • Ecological corridors in urban landscapes: identifying and assessing an ecological corridor in Johannesburg (Tyrone McKendry; Dissertation) ABSTRACT 
  • The ecological state of the Braamfontein Spruit – an urban river (Kyle Fiddes; Dissertation) ABSTRACT 
  • Social-ecological systems: Assessing the current state of social-ecological systems resilience reflected in South African integrated reports (Andrew Robson; Dissertation) ABSTRACT 
  • Assessing climate change adaptation measures in rural areas: A case study of Matangari Village, Thulamela Local District, Limpopo Province (Muofhe Ravhura; MSc CW/RRABSTRACT