NTUTHUZELO MAKHASI

NTUTHUZELO MAKHASI
Research Title: 
I have assessed within-group and between-group genetic variation in samango monkey populations in South Africa.

Ntuthuzelo Makhasi (BSc, BSc Hons in Zoology, MSc in Zoology), is the prospective trainee research doctor (i.e., prospective PhD in Zoology ), under the supervision of Professor Judith Masters and Doctor Fabien Genin at the University of Fort Hare, Main Campus, who  has officially qualified as the very first black primatologist in South Africa. He was born and bred in Venterstad in the Eastern Cape Province, a small beautiful town between three provinces, i.e. Eastern Cape, Free State and Northern Cape Province. Primatology is a scientific specialisation field of zoology under the discipline of biology. It has various subdivisions, to name the few in which Ntuthu has specialised, taxonomy, systematics, biogeography, and genetics. Ntuthu is a specialist in endangered samango monkey research in which he acquired scientific research skills through different techniques. In addition to APIES, he is also the member of PEGG-SA, Primate Ecology and Genetics Group South Africa; SASSB, Southern African Society for Systematic Biology. He had given powerpoint and oral presentations on his research around South Africa. His poster was sent to the International Primatological Society (IPS) meeting which was held in Mexico.

He was thought that the only way to explore in this field was only through medicine, when he joined the medical school at the University of the Witwatersrand in Gauteng, but later he realised that Biology is a multidisciplinary field which includes Zoology and Primatology.

During the course of my studies, I have been introduced to several of the bodies of theory relating to biodiversity. I have learned how biodiversity is commonly measured for making decisions about conservation action and/ or for future planning, and to assess how biodiversity has changed through time, where it occurs, and how it can be maintained. I have studied species and speciation, and learned how species definitions can influence our understanding of biodiversity. Variation in biodiversity is seen as variation in species numbers by many people.

I have attended courses in conservation biology, and am aware of the consequences of habitat fragmentation for species’ survival. I follow the literature on climate change and global warming, and am keenly interested in how human beings can influence the future of the earth.

I have learned the values of museum collections as biodiversity archives, and how they can be used to extract information on species richness and past distributions. I have visited all the museums in southern Africa to study samango monkey specimens, where I used photography and morphometrics methods to collect data. Furthermore, I have gained experience in field research, and had the opportunity to learn first-hand about interaction between plant and animal species diversity.

Moreover, species richness is related to many other kinds of variation in biodiversity, namely, genetic diversity. I have assessed within-group and between-group genetic variation in samango monkey populations in South Africa. The observed morphometric variation was compared spatially (geographically using GIS) with observed genetic variation.

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