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Prof Graham Alexander

PROF Graham Alexander

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BSc Hons MSc (Natal), PhD (Witwatersrand)

011 717 1000
graham.alexander@wits.ac.za
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Teaching
Graham Alexander lectures the third year Biogeography course and the Environmental Physiology course in the Zoology Department. He also lectures Physiology, Ecology and Evolution to the first year General Biology students. Graham runs and teaches on the second year field trip and participates in the third year trips. He is the third year Zoology co-ordinator.

Supervision of postgraduates
Completed degrees (dates are dates of graduation)

PhD & MSc

  • Couldridge, V.C.K. (2002). Sexual selection in Lake Malawi cichlids.
    MSc
  • Lailvaux, S. P. (2002) Anti-predatory behaviour and the thermal dependence of performance in the lizard Platysaurus intermedius wilhelmi.
  • Currin, S. (2002) The effect of environmental quality on the thermoregulatory performance of Lamprophis fuliginosus.
  • Haywood. L. (2002). Tadpoles as biological indicators of aquatic health: assessing the mining industries impact on water quality.
  • Lazenby, S. L. (2001). Some factors affecting energy utilisation in the Elapid snake, Hemachatus haemachatus.
  • Couldridge, V. C. K. (2000). Sexual imprinting and its implications for speciation in cichlids. Graduated with distinction.
  • Egan, L.(1998). Retreat-site selection in the common flat lizard (Platysaurus intermedius).
  • Horne, D. W. K. (1996). The effect of Deltamethrin on non-target species in the Karoo.
  • Turner, A. (1993). A biogeographical analysis of the fauna of the Elands River Valley Conservancy.

Current Registrations

PhD
Haywood, L. Tadpoles as bio-indicators of aquatic health: assessing the mining industry s impact on water quality.
Moon, S. The ecophysiology of Pseudocordylus melanotus.

MSc
Marias, J. A conservation assessment of Scelotes inornatus (Reptilia, Sauria, Scincidae).
Wagener, H.P. The postprandial metabolic response in juvenile southern African pythons, Python natalensis.

Professional Memberships

  • American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
  • The Herpetologists League
  • Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
  • Herpetological Association of Africa (Committee member; Journal Editor)
  • Zoological Society of Southern Africa (Associate editor for herpetology)
  • The Royal Society of South Africa

Research Interests

I am currently investigating concepts of causality of range limitation. I am approaching the issue by generating hypotheses at the level of the individual, with the premise that interaction between abiotic environment and physiology of the individual is of overriding causal importance. This is counter to more fashionable ideas that favour the importance of biotic interactions such as competition and co-evolved interactions within ecological communities, which I view as being of lesser importance in most cases. My approach has necessitated linking ideas in ecophysiology and biogeography, resulting in exposure of inadequacies in the current conceptual frameworks.

The main thrusts in my research programme are aimed at using reptiles as model organisms for understanding processes that limit species to particular places and performances. I am actively working towards establishing more acceptable research protocols to make the experimentation more powerful in its predictions. As models, I am also targeting species that either have obvious conservation needs, or are vulnerable from a biogeographic perspective. Not only will my research improve our understanding of animal-environment interaction, but will also generate clear and applicable management proposals for the conservation of species and ecosystems in South Africa.
Areas of Interest:
Zoology, Ecophysiology Herpetology

Publications

Papers

  • Haywood, L.K., G.J. Alexander, M.J. Bryne and E. Cukrowska. (in press) Xenopus laevis embryos and tadpoles as models for testing for pollution by zinc, copper, lead and cadmium. African Zoology.
  • McConnachie, S and G.J. Alexander. (2004). The effects of temperature on digestive and assimilation efficiency, gut passage time and appetite in an extreme ambush foraging lizard, Cordylus melanotus melanotus. J. Comp Physiol. B. 174: 99-105.
  • Lailvaux, S.P., Alexander G.J. and M.J. Whiting. (2003) Wariness or Weariness? Sex-based differences in sprint performance and escape behaviour in the lizard Platysaurus intermedius wilhelmi. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 76(4):511-521.
  • Pillay, N., Alexander, G. J. and S. L. Lazenby (2003). Responses of striped mice, Rhabdomys pumilio, to faeces of a predatory snake. Behaviour 140:125-135.
    Alexander, G. J, Horne, D and S. A. Hanrahan. (2002). An evaluation of the effects of deltamethrin on two non-target lizard species in the Karoo, South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments. 50(1):121-133.
  • Couldridge, V. C. K. and G. J. Alexander (2002). Color patterns and species recognition in four closely related species of Lake Malawi cichlid. Behavioral Ecology 13(1): 59-64.
  • Alexander, G. J., C. van der Heever and S. L. Lazenby (2001). Thermal dependence of appetite and digestive rate in the flat lizard, Platysaurus intermedius wilhelmi. Journal of Herpetology 35: 461-466.
  • Couldridge, V. C. K. and G. J. Alexander (2001). Measurements of mating preferences in a Lake Malawi cichlid. Journal of Fish Biology. 59:667-672.
  • Whiting, M. J. and G. J. Alexander (2001). Oil spills and glue: a comment on a sticky sampling problem for lizards. Herpetological Review 32: 78-79.
  • Alexander, G. J. and R. Brooks. (1999). Circannual rhythms of appetite and ecdysis in the elapid snake, Hemachatus haemachatus, appear to be endogenous. Copeia 1999:146-152.
  • Alexander, G. J., D. Mitchell and S. A. Hanrahan. (1999). Wide thermal tolerance in the African elapid, Hemachatus haemachatus. Journal of Herpetology 33:165-167.
  • Alexander, G. J. and S. Currin (1999). A response to Hertz, Huey and Stevenson. African Journal of Herpetology 48:49-52.
  • Currin S. and G. J. Alexander (1999). How to make measurements in thermoregulatory studies: the heating debate continues. African Journal of Herpetology 48:33-40.
  • McKinon. W. and G. J. Alexander. (1999). Is temperature independence of digestive efficiency an experimental artefact in lizards? A test using the common flat lizard (Platysaurus intermedius). Copeia 1999:299-303.
  • Alexander, G. J. (1998).Understanding distribution. In Frogs and Frog Atlasing in Southern Africa (Harrison, J. A and Burger, M. eds.). avian Demography Unit Cape Town
  • Alexander, G. J. and C. L. Marshall. (1998). Diel activity patterns in a captive colony of rinkhals, Hemachatus haemachatus. African Journal of Herpetology 47:27-30.
  • Lazenby, S. L. and G. J. Alexander. (1998). Do rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus) choose to defecate near water? African Journal of Herpetology 47:23-26.
  • Mason, M. C and G. J. Alexander (1996). Oviposition site selection in Tetradactylus africanus fricanus: A relationship with the ant Anochetus faurei. African Journal of Herpetology 45: 31-37.
  • Mason, M. C and G. J. Alexander (1992). Tetradactylus africanus africanus Reproduction Journal of the Herpetological Association of Africa. 41: 42.
  • Dawson, P., G. J. Alexander and S. Nicholls, S. (1991). The rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus) a southern African venomous snake -housing, husbandry and maintenance. Animal Technology 42: 71-76.
  • Alexander, G. J. (1990). The reptiles and amphibians of Durban, South Africa. Durban Museum Novitates 15: 1-41.

Book Chapters

  • Alexander, G. J., J.A. Harrison, D.H. Fairbanks and R.A. Navarro. (2004). The biogeography of the frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Pp. 31-47. In: (Eds. Minter, L.R., M. Burger, J.A Harrison, H.H. Br ck, P.J. Bishop and D. Kloepfer) Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series #9. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

REVIEWED CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

  • Haywood, L., Alexander G.J., Bryne, M.J. and E. Cukrowska. (2002). Quantifying the impact of acid mine drainage using amphibians. International Association for Impact Assessment, South African Affiliate. National conference 2002, Dikhololo.
  • Haywood, L. K. and G. J. Alexander (1999). The effect of gold mine tailings on Marievale Bird Sanctuary. Proceedings of International Association of Impact Assessment, South African Affiliate Conference: 124-133.
  • Alexander, G. J. (1997). A physiologically-based method for measuring activity patterns in snakes. Proceedings of the Third H. A. A. Symposium: 99-103.
  • Egan, L. and Alexander, G. J. (1997). Fang structure of Hemachatus haemachatus (Serpentes: Elapidae) - a comparison to another spitter and non-spitter. Proceedings of the Third H. A. A. Symposium: 157-158.
  • Van der Merwe, N and Alexander, G. J. (1997). Spatially biased defecation in Hemachatus haemachatus - a predator avoidance strategy? Proceedings of the Third H. A. A. Symposium: 218-221.
  • Alexander, G. J. (1989). The use of a multivariate method of classification (Two-way indicator species analysis) in biogeography. Herp. Assoc. Afr. 36 Proceedings of the 1987 H Stellenbosch Conference: 7-10.

BOOK REVIEWS

  • Alexander, G.J. (2003). Review of Snakes of Zambia: An Atlas and Field Guide. By Donald G. Broadley, Craig T. Doria and J?n Wigge. 2003. Afr. J. Herpetol. 52:135-138.
  • Alexander, G.J. (2003). True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. By David Mallow, David Ludwig and G? Nilson. 2003. Afr. J. Herpetol. 52:139-141.
  • Alexander, G.J. (2003). Review of Guide to the Reptiles of the Eastern Palearctic, 2003 (by N.N. Szczerbak). Krieger, Florida. Afr. J. Herpetol. 52: 77-79.
  • Alexander, G.J. (2002). Book review: Amphibians of Central and Southern Africa. By Alan Channing; 2001. Afr. J. Herpetol. 51: 155-156.
  • Alexander, G. J. (2001). Review of Amphibians and reptiles of Madagascar and the Mascarene, Seychelles, and Comoro islands. By F-H Henkel and W Schmidt; 2000. Afr. J. Herpetol. 50:47-50.
  • Alexander, G. J. (2001). Review of Pythons of Australia By G. Torr 2000. Afr. J. Herpetol. 50:51-52.
  • Alexander, G. J. (2000). Review of Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians (2nd ed) eds H. G. Cogger and R. G. Zweifel; 1998. Afr. J. Herpetol. 49:79-80.

Species Accounts

  • Alexander, G. J. (2004). Genus account for Hemisus. Pp. 112-114. In: (Eds. Minter, L.R., M. Burger, J.A Harrison, H.H. Br ck, P.J. Bishop and D. Kloepfer) Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series #9. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
  • Alexander, G. J. (2004). Species account for Hemisus guttatus. Pp.116-118. In: (Eds. Minter, L.R., M. Burger, J.A Harrison, H.H. Br ck, P.J. Bishop and D. Kloepfer) Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series #9. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
  • Alexander, G. J. (2004). Species account for Hyperolius pusillus. Pp. 146-147. In: (Eds. Minter, L.R., M. Burger, J.A Harrison, H.H. Br ck, P.J. Bishop and D. Kloepfer) Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series #9. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
  • Alexander, G. J. (2004). Species account for Hyperolius semidiscus. Pp. 147-149. In: (Eds. Minter, L.R., M. Burger, J.A Harrison, H.H. Br ck, P.J. Bishop and D. Kloepfer) Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series #9. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
  • Alexander, G. J. (2004). Genus account for Hemisus for Hyperolius tuberilinguis. Pp. 149-150. In: (Eds. Minter, L.R., M. Burger, J.A Harrison, H.H. Br ck, P.J. Bishop and D. Kloepfer) Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series #9. Smithsonian Institution, Washin

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