research at melville koppies - Melville Koppies Nature Reserve

1922, Prof. C.E. Moss, first professor of Botany at the University of the
Witwatersrand (Wits), began a study of the vegetation of Melville Koppies which has
continued ever since. To date 548 taxa from Melville Koppies are catalogued in the
Moss Herbarium. All except for 54 are indigenous.
Badenhuizen, N.P. and Mogg, ‘The Melville Koppies, past, present and future.’
Trees in Southern Africa, 1X no.4 (1958)74
Bartlett,J. ‘Orchids of the Witwatersrand.’ 1958.
Berry, 1000 slides of the plants of Melville Koppies, 1960.
Bloch,S. ‘Studies on Moraea mosii N.E.Br’
Bunning, L.J. Birds of the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve, Southern Birds, no 3,
Bunning,L.J. ‘Birds of the Botanical Gardens, Emmarentia Dam and the Melville
Koppies’. Johannesburg House of print, 1998.
Bunning,L.J. Annual reports on bird ringing. 1975 -1992
Co-ordinating Committee for Open Space, ‘River catchments and Ridges of Flora
of Melville Koppies Nature Reserve metropolitan Johannesburg. Unpublished
report, City Engineer’s Department, Johannesburg. 1983
Dickson, J.M. and P.J.Critch, ‘Melville Koppies small mammal survey report.’
Special report 7/67 medical Ecology Centre, Johannesburg. April 1967. Abstract in
Guidebook, part 4, JCNH.
Ellery,E.M. The vegetation Ecology of the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve and
Louw Geldenhuys View Site: Proposals for their management’. Unpublished
report, Jhb Branch, Botanical Society of South Africa. 1994.
Freer, J.S. ‘The Birds of M.K.N.R.’ J.C.N.H. Guide Book. 1962 and 1963.
Friede, H.M. and E. Van Maltitz, ‘Spotted eagle Owl (Bubo africanus) at
M.K.N.R.’ Witwatersrand Bird Club News 73, 1971.
Friede, H.M. and R.H.Steel, ‘An experimental study of iron smelting techniques
used in the South African Iron Age’.J.S.Afrr. Inst. Metall June 1977.
Friede,H.M. ‘Iron smelting furnace and metallurigal traditions of the South
African Iron Age’. J.S.Afr. Inst.Min.Metall. 1970
Friede,H.M. Notes on pre-historic Iron smelting furnace at Melville Koppies
Nature Reserve. Afircana notes and News 23 No 4.1978
Friede,H.M. The Melville Koppies, Johannesburg’s new nature Reserve’. In
African Wild Life, 15 (4) 1961.
Gillard,P. ‘The Grasses on Melville Koppies’. J.C.N.H. Guide Book part 2.1963,
Guidebook, JCNH publication updated on every reprint. Recently updated in 2002
and published by MKMC. The book is sold to visitors to Melville Koppies and
describes aspects of the numbered Nature Trail.
Higgs G and V.Knepp, ‘Preliminary investigation of the Pre-rain flora of the
Witwatersrand’. 1961
Hirsch,D. ‘Management plan for the Sima Eliovson Park’, 1991.
Irvine,G.C. ‘Westdene Spruit – Flood and Erosion Investigation’. 1993
J.C.N.H. ‘An Arboretum of indigenous trees in Johannesburg’. 1966
Ledger, J.A. ‘The Archaeology of Melville Koppies Nature Reserve’, for JCNH,
Ledger, J.A. The arthropoda of Melville Koppies Nature reserve. Guidebook 4
JCNH 1967
Legge, D.R. and M. Macnae, ‘Some characteristics of Succulent Plants growing
on Melville Koppies’. JCNH 1964.
Lloyd,P.L. ‘A report of the studies performed on the Witwatersrand species of
Scilla.’ 1952
Lowrey, T.K. and S.Wright, The Flora of the Witwatersrand, Volume 1: The
Monocotyledons’. Witwatersrand Univ. Press, Jhb, 1987
Lucas, A. ‘The Melville Koppies Nature Reserve. A Botanical report’. J. Bot.Soc.
SA 51 1965
Lucas, A. and F. Hancock, ‘Ferns of the Witwatersrand’. 1973
Lucas, A. and Pike, ‘Flowers of the Autumn and Summer veld’. Enlarged as part
of the M.K.N.R. 1970.
Lucas,A. ‘Flowers of the Witwatersrand’, 1971.
Lucas,A. E.F. von Maltitz, E. Read, ‘Report on Veld Burning at Melville Koppies’,
Macnae, M.M. ‘Trees growing near the Nature Trail’. J.C.N.H Guidebook.
Macnae, Gillard and Lucas, ‘Spring Flowers and grasses’. Part 1 of Flora of
M.K.N.R. 1969
Macnae, M ‘Common Trees and shrubs of Melville Koppies Nature Reserve’.
JCNH Guidebook, part 1 1962.
Macnae, M ‘Fire on Melville Koppies’, in Trees in S.A. 12 (2) 1960.
Macnae, M., P.Gillard and A. Lucas, Flora of the Melville Koppies Nature
Reserve, 2 parts’. JCNH 1969.
Macnae, M.M. ‘Notes on the naming of Plants’. J.C.N.H. Guide Book
Macnae, M.M. ‘Succulents on Melville Koppies, occasional paper 1968.
Macnae,M.M. ‘Common species of the Pre-rain flora’, Melville Koppies Guide
Book, Pt.2 1963
Macnae,M.M. ‘Common trees and shrubs of Melville Koppies’, Melville Koppies
Guide Book, Pt. 1 1962
Macnae,M.M. ‘Fire on Melville Koppies’. Trees in Southern Africa, x11 No2
Mason, R.J. ‘Prehistoric Man at Melville Koppies Johannesburg’ Occasional
Paper 6. Dept Archaeology, Univ of Wits. 1971
Mason, R.J. ‘Prehistory of the Transvaal’. Johannesburg, 1962.
Mason, R.J. ‘The Prehistoric People of the Melville Koppies’. Melville Koppies
Guide Book, Part 2, 1963.
Mason, R.J. and N.J. van der Merwe, ‘Radiocarbon Dating of Iron Age Sites in the
Southern Transvaal: Melville Koppies and Uitkomst Cave’. Suid-Afrikaanse
Tydskrif vir Wetenskap, 1964.
Mason,R.J. ‘Origins of the Black People of Johannesburg and the South
Western Transvaal AD 350-1880’, occasional paper 16 of the Archaeological
Research Unit, Wits, 1986.
Melville Koppies Educational Workshop Report. Held at the Floreum, Jhb Bot.
Gardens, Sept 1996, which led to Curriculum 2005-linked hands-on courses for
grades 4 and 7
Melville Koppies Management Committee, ‘Master Plan for the Conservation and
utilisation of the Melville Koppies Nature reserve, Johannesburg’. Accepted by the
transitional Metro Council 1994. Updated 1998 and 2000.
Newman, K.B.. and L.J. Bunning, ‘A checklist of birds occuring at Melville
Koppies Nature Reserve, Johannesburg.’ Witwatersrand Bird Club News sheet 82
Pelletier, M ‘A Key to the Papilionaceae of the Witwatersrand’. 1958
Roux, E.R. Plant succession on Iron Age 1 sites at MelvilleKoppies. S. Afr.Journal
66 (2) pp 48-50
Sturgess, I.M. ‘Nature Trails’. J.C.N.H. Guide Book.
Thatcher, F.M. ‘An ecological study of the Acacia Robusta’, Hons thesis, Wits,
Trees and Shrubs of the Witwatersrand, compiled by members of the Tree Society
of Southern Africa, Witwatersrand university Press, 1974.
van Biljon, W.J. ‘The geology of the M.K.N.R (Melville Koppies Nature
Reserve).’ J.C.N.H. (Johannesburg Council for Natural History) Guide Book, 1962
Warren, J.L. ‘A report on the Winter Flora of Melville Koppies’. 1961.
Warren, J.L. ‘Taxonomic studies on the Verbenaceae of the Witwatersrand’.
Some of the details of the above research are incomplete as they were taken from verbal
sources and hand written lists.
The record that follows is incomplete because most departments at Wits and UJ work in
isolation so each department has to be contacted. Not all the lecturers respond. (Some of
the research is not exclusive to Melville Koppies but includes other Witwatersrand
indigenous areas as well. This is indicated by the titles.)
Technikon RSA and Wits Technikon do not communicate telephonically so no official
record of their research is included The records we have are from students that we have
worked with.
W.N..Ellery, (Dept of Geolgraphical and Environmental Science, University of Natal)
and K.Balkwill, K.Ellery and R.A Reddy (Dept of Animal, Plant and Environmental
Sciences, Wits), ‘Conservation of the vegetation on the Melville Ridge,
K.Balkwill, in preparation, ‘The composition of the flora of the Witwatersrand
and the factots affecting it. In Flora of the Witwatersrand, Volume 2, eds K.Balkwill
and D.A. MacCullum.
H.Hull, ‘The Diversity of Animals in Urban Environments using Dung Beetles as
a Test case’. Student research supervised by Marcus Byrne, 1995.
K.Pigott, ‘Small Mammals at Melville Koppies Nature Reserve: diversity,
abundance, seasonal variation and diet’. Supervised by Prof.N.Pillay and Dr
Marcus Byrne.
Botany Research topic,’Regeneration Ecology on Mundulea sericea’. Supervised
by Prof Ed Witkowski
Dr Carsten Schaden, who is attached to Wits for this research, has just begun (Feb
2002) research on breeding habits of small mammals at Melville Koppies. He has
set up nesting boxes to entice mice and hopes to be able to film them. He believes that
they will behave differently to those observed under laboratory conditions. This is
post-doctoral research.
A restratigraphy of the ridges from Randfontein to Linkfield ridge, including Melville
Koppies. Done by post graduate geology students from Wits under the supervision of
Prof Kim Hein 2005
A survey of flora and alien vegetation over Melville Koppies, by a Wits post grad
student supervised by Prof Kevin Balkwill. This has been commissioned by MKMC
to update in some measure, the survey done by Ellery in 1994. The survey should be
finished mid year. 2006
A small mammal survey done by Prof Neville Pillay in 2002 and 2006. Regular
surveys are planned for the future.
Dr Marcus Byrne, “I also use the Koppies for demonstrations of how to collect
insects for my third year Entomology courses.” ‘This year (2002) I used the
Koppies for my Biological Control course. The students surveyed the Koppies for
alien weeds and have written a proposal for a management plan which I will pass on
to Richard (Hall, Reserve Manager) when I have marked it.’(Ecophysiological
Studies Research Programme, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences)
Prof Ed Witkowski, “third year Ecology teaching; Ecological communities and
Biodiversity Conservation’ and quantitative surveys on grasses in quadrates.
Teaching the teachers, “Ecology of Melville Koppies (2002) and Grasses of
Melville Koppies (2002).
Prof. Kevin Balkwill takes students to Melville Koppies to collect plants for their
Biotic Diversity Course. He also uses the Koppies for public courses that Wits runs
on trees and Flowering Plants.
Kerry Pile uses Melville Koppies for practicals on Biogeography.
Cheryl Chamberlain and Mandy Esterhuysen take first year geography/archaeology
students to Melville Koppies for practicals.
Prof. Mary Scholes, “I don’t do projects there but I do take students there to teach
them how to measure fuel loads and to determine when and how to burn the veld.
They also learn the importance of fire in grassland systems. I believe Melville
Koppies is a good site to train the students and they thoroughly enjoy the
exercise.” K
Prof. Neville Pillay, “Melville Koppies offers a wealth of teaching and research
opportunities to zoologists at the University of the Witwatersrand. Second and third
year students obtain insects for their collections and simultaneously learn ecological
sampling methods.
Caroline Crump. Sampling Grasshoppers. 3rd year student project.
Insects and other invertebrates and small mammals have been collected at Melville
Koppies by staff at the University. A small but growing arthropod reference collection is
housed in the Zoology museum at the University. In addition, past student projects on
grasshopper populations in various parts of the Reserve are also available. An area of
research that may be pursued in the future in the sampling of macroinvertebrate fauna in
the Westdene Spruit so as to assess biodiversity and water quality.
Small mammal research has focussed on two areas. Firstly, a study of the biodiversity of
small mammals indicates that species composition reflects the results of urbanisation in
Johannesburg, e.g. elephant shrews, which were common in the Koppies. Have now
virtually disappeared, while the numbers of the multimammate mouse have increased.
Secondly, the isolation of populations at Melville Koppies has permitted the study of
population size and inbreeding effects.”
The Witwatersrand Bird Club carries out regular bird-ringing exercises at Melville
Dr June Meeuwis of the Biogeography department at Rand Afrikaans University has
used Melville Koppies for the last 14 years for 8-week student practicals for 2nd years.
They look at soils, water, vegetation, rocks, effects of man on Melville Koppies and
vice versa, and do relief maps.
Andrew Davies researched and laid out a trail on the Louw Geldenhuys Viewsite
(part of Melville Koppies) for a Community Springbok Scout Badge. He produced a
very nice brochure. 1995
Nicole Feldman has collected, mounted and labelled various taxa of plants from
Melville Koppies for Plant Studies 2 at RSA Technikon. 2004
Leigh-Anne Hinton has used Melville Koppies for a study on the effect of fire for a
biology project, grade 10, at St Mary’s School. 2003
Richard Hall, Reserve manager at Melville Koppies for the Melville Koppies
Management Committee (volunteers) has researched and written 14 Eco modules for
the use of guides and for training previously disadvantaged guides.
Louise Matschke of Tech RSA studied plant communities of Melville Koppies for
3rd year botany. (May 1, 2002)under Dr Brown
First year UJ botany students regularly study plants at Melville Koppies under the
guidance of Dr Michelle van der Bank
Ongoing research (2003/4/5/6)of flora of Melville Koppies by Dr Peter Johnson of
MKMC. The aim is to photograph examples of specimens and do GPS recordings of
them all.
An insect survey done by Afribugs. This is part of a survey of 24 sites in Gauteng
commissioned by Strilli Oppenheimer. Data will be collated in July 2008
Delta Environmental Centre runs hands-on courses for grades 4, 7 and 9 at Melville
Koppies. The grade 4 and 7 courses were sponsored by Nedbank and drawn up by
Clacherty and associates. The courses are linked to Curriculum 2005.The grade 9
course was sponsored from the MKMC education fund.
Dr Peter Johnson, an MKMC member, has done extensive research on the flowering
times of plants on MK. These are available in a booklet which is colour coded and
has page references to van Wyk’s Field guide to the flowers if the witwatersrand.
P.R. Johnson, 2008, Flowering times on the Melville Koppies’. Melville Koppies
Management Committee
Irvine-Smith, G.C. supervised by C.J. Brooker, “Melville Koppies Nature Reserve.
Westdene spruit, flood and erosion investigation”. Draft report for comment to the
Botanical society (Johannesburg branch) Feb 1993
C.S.James and A.A. Jordanova, ‘Streambank erosion in Melville Koppies Nature
Reserve’. Centre for water in the environment, School of civil and environmental
engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, 2002.
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