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Staff Profile

Doctor Ute Schwaibold

QualificationsBScHons, PhD
Phone 0117176482
Organisational Unit School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences

Over the past two years my research interest has shifted from animal behaviour studies which have driven my postgraduate research to applied studies focussed on environmental impacts and change. Much research has been published on the effects of industry and mining on habitat destruction and water quality, yet very little is known about how these impacts affect fauna, specifically mammals, and whether/how fauna can be a useful asset in the rehabilitation of disturbed areas.
As an animal behaviourist by training, I have come across several examples of mammals that are able to adapt quite successfully to changes in their environment, and in many cases do not behave as expected based on classic animal behaviour theory. The focus of my research is thus to identify the real impact of disturbances and contamination on mammal communities, specifically small mammals, and their response to these impacts.

M y position in the University is a rather unique one in that it not only involves a certain degree of research, teaching and postgraduate supervision, but to a large extent centres around business development and sourcing of externally funded work for AP&ES.

Much of my time is spent on environmental consulting projects, coordinating specialist work within the department, liaising with industry partners to identify their needs and provide appropriate expertise, preparing specialist reports (primarily mammal assessments) and biodiversity assessments for Basic and Environmental Impact Assessments as well as monitoring programmes. Projects I have been involved with over the last three years include housing developments, golf estates, gold and platinum mines, water and energy supply, roads and rail networks. Some of our largest clients include international mining companies and engineering firms.


  1. Schwaibold, U. and Pillay, N. 2001. Stereotypic behaviour is genetically transmitted in the African striped mouse Rhabdomys pumilio . Applied Animal Behavioural Science 74(4): 273-280.
  2. Schwaibold, U. & Pillay, N. 2003. The gut morphology of the African ice rat, Otomys sloggetti robersti , shows adaptations to cold environments and sex-specific seasonal variation. Journal of Comparative Physiology (B) 173: 653-659.
  3. Schwaibold, U. and Pillay, N. 2005. Behavioral strategies of the African ice rat Otomys sloggetti robertsi in the cold. Physiology and Behavior 88: 567-574.
  4. Mokotjomela, T., Schwaibold, U. and Pillay, N. (2009). Does the ice rat Otomys sloggetti robertsi contribute to habitat change in Lesotho? Acta Oecologica 35 (3): 437-443.

tel. ( 27 11) 717 6482