Applied Behavioural Ecology & Ecosystem Research Unit (ABEERU)

The Applied Behavioural Ecological & Ecosystem Research Unit (ABEERU) was established in 2003. The unit resulted from international academic research collaboration on a research project registered at UNISA. Different specialists involved in the project realised that their combined efforts had broad academic and practical application. The intention of ABEERU is to provide appropriate research training to learners from UNISA, other local academic institutions and abroad via coursework and research. ABEERU offers appropriate research services to the broader community and conservation bodies it collaborates with. Acquired basic knowledge is applied to improve the management and understanding of ecosystems to ensure sustainability and preservation of biodiversity.

ABEERU conducts basic and applied research to solve industry-related problems within the field of behavioural ecology. The scope of research focuses on the reaction of all components (biotic and abiotic) of ecosystems to changes in the urban and natural environment. This integrated approach has clear academic and practical value and is in line with UNISA's education philosophy and the approach followed by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of establishing and supporting centres of excellence that involve interdisciplinary research teams.

Research is conducted to acquire knowledge about indigenous wildlife and vegetation (species and habitats) in their natural environment, as well as monitoring the responses of ecosystems to change and management actions. ABEERU focuses on the management of associated cultural resources to ensure optimised and responsible utilisation of such resources to the benefit of all involved, without destroying the resources.

Research Unit Organisation

The unit functions as a centre of excellence within the College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences (CAES). The unit is managed by an advisory member panel consisting of Prof. LR Brown (Head: ABEERU - UNISA), Prof. SP Henzi (University of Lethbridge - Canada), and Prof. L Barrett (University of Lethbridge - Canada).  The CAES dean of research is an ex officio member of the panel.

Target market

National, regional and international learners that are interested in ecology, behavioural ecology, ecosystems functioning, nature conservation and related fields are targeted.

Infrastructure

The unit has permanent research facilities at various sites in South Africa and collaborates with key industry role players. Research facilities are located in various biomes and are able to cater for between five to fourteen learners at a time (site dependent).

For more information, please contact us:

Ms T de Beer (Administrative Officer)
Applied Behavioural Ecology Research Unit
School of Environmental Sciences
University of South Africa
Private Bag X6
Florida
1710

Tel: (011) 471 3294
E-mail:  dbeert@unisa.ac.za

Prof L.R. Brown (Head of ABEERU)
Applied Behavioural Ecology Research Unit
School of Environmental Sciences
University of South Africa
Private Bag X6
Florida
1710

Tel: (011) 471 2339
E-mail:  lrbrown@unisa.ac.za