Tanja van de Ven

Tanja van de Ven

John Day Building: 2.20
Tel: +27 (0)21 650 3310
Fax: +27 (0)21 650 3295

Email: tanja.vandeven@uct.ac.za

Tanja completed her BSc in Agricultural Sciences in the Netherlands in 2007 and decided to continue her studies in South Africa, an effortless decision as a result of her love of southern African biodiversity and conservation. Her BSc honours, through Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, involved the study of black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) predation on an Eastern Cape springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) population. Her extensive outdoor exposure, through fieldwork, fuelled an ever increasing interest in the beauty and diversity of the country’s avifaunal community. She therefore undertook an MSc on the physiological response of a small Afrotropical bird (Euplectes orix) to seasonal changes in ambient temperature. The project was supervised by Dr Nomakwezi Mzilikazi (NMMU) and Prof Andrew McKechnie (University of Pretoria).

In 2012 Tanja joined the Percy FitzPatrick Institute to begin a PhD with predominantly ethological with physiological components. The project involves investigating aspects of climate change-related effects on the reproductive behaviour and performance of the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas). Promoted by Prof Phil Hockey, in collaboration with Dr Susie Cunningham and Prof Andrew McKechnie, the research is based in the Kalahari Desert and falls within the ‘Hot Birds Project’, an international research thrust investigating the consequences of temperature increases on desert-dwelling birds.

Thesis (submitted March 2017)

Implications of climate change for the reproductive behaviour and performance of the desert-dwelling Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) (Supervisors: Phil Hockey, Susie Cunningham & Andrew McKechnie).

Peer-reviewed publications


Van de Ven, T.M.F.N., Martin, R.O., Vink, T.J.F., McKechnie, A.E. and Cunningham, S.J. 2016. Regulation of heat exchange across the hornbill beak: functional similarities with toucans? PLoS ONE 11: e0154768. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154768


van de Ven, T.M.F.N., Mzilikazi, N. & McKechnie, A.E. 2013. Seasonal metabolic variation in two populations of an Afrotropical euplectid bird. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 86:19-26.

van de Ven, T.M.F.N., Mzilikazi, N. & McKechnie, A.E. 2013. Phenotypic flexibility in body mass, basal metabolic rate and summit metabolism in southern red bishops (Euplectes orix): Responses to short term thermal acclimation. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 165:319-327.