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Mark Keith, Ph.D.

E-mail: mark.keith(AT)

Senior Lecturer

Mammal Research Institute

Centre for Wildlife Management

University of Pretoria

Academic Record
  • Ph.D. - University of Pretoria (2005)

  • M.Sc. - University of Pretoria (1999)

  • B.Sc. Hons - University of Pretoria (1997)

  • B.Sc. - University of Pretoria (1996) 

Research Interests

My research focuses on the understanding how species and communities respond to land use, land-use change, and changes associated with various management decisions. In particular, I have been investigating how species (e.g. lion and elephant) respond to different types, policies, and practices of land-use, and management decisions across a spectrum spatial and temporal scales. From a broader ecological perspective, I have been conducting research on how animals, for example ecosystem engineers such as elephants, affect populations and communities of other sympatric species (e.g. bats, rodents and shrews) and how these other species respond; or whether these mammals are affected by different impacts or processes such as land use (e.g. agricultural, mining, urbanization), and land-use change (e.g. bush encroachment), and management decisions (e.g. re-introduction of lion and elephant etc.). Early findings of my current studies point to several drivers that ultimately define how species/communities are structured, and the subsequent, often very specific responses to certain land-use conversions. The ultimate driving factor, however, seems to be the continued impact of the land-use legacy, which appears to be the long-term driver defining the species and community responses, including behavioural, to recent management decisions. I have benefitted greatly from collaborative work, providing invaluable opportunities for my own research development, and opportunities for my post-graduate students. As result, I have been working on a large range of mammalian species, from little rodents to mega-herbivores, to coastal cetaceans. This broad comparative, and collaborative research has been most exciting; working with established and strong researchers have allowed me to refine my own research skills and approach which leads to improved research outputs.

Board Member
  • Board of Directors: – Developing regional and continent-wide research and conservation strategies for bats (Chiroptera) in Africa. (2011 – present).

  • Member of interim steering committee (2012-13) and Advisory board: African Mammal Map 2013-2014. (Animal Demography Unit of the University of Cape Town and Mammal Research Institute of the University of Pretoria). 

Peer-reviewed Papers

Journal articles

Yiu, S.-W., Karczmarski, L., Parrini, F., Keith, M.  (upcoming). Habitat selection by reintroduced lions (Panthera leo) in a South African wildlife reserve: a process of adapting to a new environment.  (Submitted, Under Review)

Yiu, S.-W., Parrini, F., Karczmarski, L., Keith, M.  (2017).  Home range establishment and utilization by reintroduced lions (Panthera leo) in a small South African wildlife reserve.  Integrative Zoology 12: 318–332  DOI: 10.1111/1749-4877.12243  

Kearny, T., Keith, M., & Seamark, E. (2017).  New records of bat species occupying Gatkop Cave in the maternal season. Mammalia DOI 10.1515/mammalia-2015-0043

Karczmarski, L., Huang, S.-L., Wong, W.-H., Chang, W.-L., Chan, S.C.Y., Keith, M. (2017). Distribution of a coastal delphinid under the impact of long-term habitat loss: Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins off Taiwan’s west coast. Estuaries and Coasts 40: 594–603.  DOI: 10.1007/s12237-016-0146-5

Atkins, S., Cantor, M., Pillay, N. Cliff, G., Keith, M., Parra, G.J. (2016). Net loss of endangered humpback dolphins: integrating residency, site fidelity and bycatch in shark nets. Marine Ecology Progress Series 555: 249–260.

Labuschagne, L, Keith, M., Taylor, P.J., Balmain, S. and Swanepoel, L.H. (2016).  Are avian predators effective biological control agents for rodent pest management in agricultural systems? Biological Control 101:94-102.

Smith, A., Schoeman, M.C., Keith, M, Erasmus, B.F.N., Monadjem, A., Moilanen, A., Di Minin, E. (2016). Synergistic effects of climate and land-use change drive declines in African bats. Ecological Indicators. 69:276-283.

Karczmarski, L., Huang, S-L., Or, C.K.M., Gui, D., Chan, S.C.Y., Lin, W., Porter, L., Wong, H-O., Zheng, R., Ho, Y-W. Chui, S.Y.S., Tiongson, A.J.C., Mo, Y., Chang, W-L., Kwok, J.W.H, Tang, RWK, Lee, ADT, Yiu, SW, Keith, M., Gailey, G., Wu, Y. (2016). Humpback Dolphins in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta: Status, Threats and Conservation Challenges. Advances in Marine Biology 73: 27-64.

Yiu C.W, Keith, M., Karczmarski, L., Parrini, F. (2015). Early post-release movement of reintroduced lions (Panthera leo) in Dinokeng Game Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa. European Journal of Wildlife Research 61:861–870.

Reisinger, R.R., Keith, M., Andrews R.D., de Bruyn, PJN. (2015). Movement and diving of killer whales (Orcinus orca) at a Southern Ocean archipelago. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 473: 90–102.

McManus, J., Dalton, D., Kotze, A., Smuts, B., Dickman, A., Marshal, J., and Keith, M. (2015). Gene flow and population structure of a solitary top carnivore in a human-dominated landscape. Ecology and Evolution 5(2): 335-344 doi: 10.1002/ece3.1322.

Keith, M., Atkins, S., Johnson, A.E., and Karczmarski, L. (2013). Area utilization patterns of humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea) in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Journal of Ethology 31(3): 261-274. DOI 10.1007/s10164-013-0375-z

Sprong, L., Keith, M. and Seamark, E.C.J. (2012). Determining the limitations and effect of waterproofing on three different bat detectors. African Bat Conservation News 28: 4-14.

Pierce, M.W., Kearney, T., Seamark, E.C.J., Curran, M., Kopp, M and Keith, M. (2011). New records and echolocation information of Laephotis botswanae (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae) from Southern Africa. Durban Natural Science Museum Novitates 34:39-44.

Thorn, M., Green, M.; Keith, M.; Marnewick, K., Bateman, P., Cameron, E.Z.; Scott, D. (2011). Distribution patterns and implications for the status of carnivore populations in northern South Africa. Oryx 45(4): 579–586.

Pierce, M. and Keith M. (2011). Healing rates of wing membranes in two species of Vespertilionid bats. African Bat Conservation News 25: 3-5.

Keith, M. and Ginsburg, G. (2010). Active herding of fish by the Nile water monitor (Varanus niloticus) in Kruger National Park. African Herpetology News 51:19-21.

Schipper, J. Chanson, J.S., Chiozza, F. Cox, N., Hoffmann, M., Katariya, V. Lamoreux, J., Rodrigues, A.S.L., Stuart, S.N., Temple, H.J., Baillie, J., Boitani, L., Lacher Jr., T.J., Mittermeier, R.A., Smith, A.T., Absolon, D., Aguiar, J.M., Amori, G., Bakkour, Baldi, R., Berridge, R.J., Bielby, J., Black, P.A., Blanc, J.J., Brooks, T.M., Burton, J.A., Butynski, , T.M., Catullo, G., Chapman, R., Cokeliss, Z., Collen, B., Conroy, J., Cooke, J.G., da Fonseca, G.A.B., Derocher, A.E., Dublin, H.T., Duckworth, J.W., Emmons, L., Emslie, R.H., Festa-Bianchet, M., Foster, M., Foster, S., Garshelis, D.L., Gates, C., Gimenez-Dixon, M., Gonzalez, S., Gonzalez-Maya, J.F., Good, T.C., Hammerson, G., Hammond, P.S., Happold, D., Happold, M., Hare, J., Harris, R.B., Hawkins, C.E., Haywood, M., Heaney, L.R., Hedges, S., Helgen, K.M., Hilton-Taylor, C., Hussain, S.A., Ishii, N., Jefferson, T.A., Jenkins, J.K.B., Johnston, C.H., Keith, M., Kingdon, J., Knox, D.H., Kovacs, K.M., Langhammer, P., Leus, K., Lewison, R., Lichtenstein, G., Lowry, L.F., Macavoy, Z., Mace, G.M., Mallon, D.P., Masi, M., McKnight, M.W., Medellín, R.A., Medici, P., Mills, G., Moehlman, P.D., Molur, S., Mora, A., Nowell, K., Oates, J.F., Olech, W. Oliver,W.R.L., Oprea, M., Patterson, B.D., Perrin, W.F., Polidoro, B.A., Pollock, C., Powel, A., Protas, Y., Racey, P., Ragle, J., Ramani, P., Rathbun, G., Reeves, R.R., Reilly, S.B., Reynolds III, J.E., Rondinini, C., Rosell-Ambal, R.C., Rulli, M., Rylands, A.B., Savini, S., Schank, C.J., Sechrest, W., Self-Sullivan, C., Shoemaker, A., Sillero-Zubiri, C., De Silva, N., Smith, D.E., Srinivasulu, C., Stephenson, P.J., van Strien, N., Talukdar, B.K., Taylor, B.L., Timmins, R., Tirira, D.G., Tognelli, M.F., Tsytsulina, K., Veiga, L.M., Vié, J.-C., Williamson, E.A., Wyatt, S.A., Xie, Y., Young, B.E. (2008). The Status of the World's Land and Marine Mammals: Diversity, Threat, and Knowledge. Science 322 (5899): 225 – 230.

Wilson, J.W., van Rensburg, B.J., Ferguson, J.W.F. & Keith, M. (2008). The relative importance of environment, human activity and space in explaining species richness in bird orders. Journal of Biogeography 35: 342–352.

Keith, M. & Warren, M. (2007). Can the relationship between anthropogenic variables and South African plants richness be used as a threat proxy? Bothalia 37(1): 79–88.

Keith, M., Chimimba, C.T., Reyers, B., & van Jaarsveld, A. S. (2007). Prioritising South African terrestrial mammals for regional conservation action. African Zoology 42:97-111.

Keith, M., Reyers, B., Chimimba, C.T. & van Jaarsveld, A. S. (2005). Taxonomic and phylogenetic distinctiveness in regional conservation assessments: A case study based on extant South African Chiroptera and Carnivora. Animal Conservation 8(3): 279-288.

Victor, J. E. & Keith M. (2004). The Orange List: a safety net for biodiversity in South Africa. South African Journal of Science 100: 139-141.

Keith, M. (2003). Threatened Species Programme – an overview of succulent plants in South Africa. Aloe 40 (3&4): 64-67.

Keith, M., Peddemors, V.M., Bester, M.N. & Ferguson, J.W.H. (2002). Population characteristics of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins at Richards Bay, South Africa: implications for incidental capture in shark nets. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 32 (2): 153–162.

Keith, M. & van Jaarsveld, A.S. (2002). Revisiting Green Data Species Lists. Biodiversity and Conservation 11: 1313-1316.

Keith, M., Bester, M.N., Bartlett, P.A. & Baker, D. (2001). Killer whales (Orcinus orca) at Marion Island, Southern Ocean. African Zoology 36(2): 163–175. 


Germishuizen, G., Meyer, N.L., Steenkamp, Y. & Keith, M. (eds) (2006). A checklist of South African plants. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 41. SABONET, Pretoria.

Technical reports

Keith, M. and Marnewick, K. (2010). An assessment of the conservation status of wild dogs and other carnivores and the extent of human – carnivore conflict in the Western Kgalagadi Conservation Corridor, Botswana. Commissioned by Conservation International. The Carnivore Conservation Programme, a programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Johannesburg, South Africa.

Keith, M. (2010). Geographic Information System (GIS) data of South African mammals. Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, South Africa. [Website:].

Peddemors, V.M., de la Mère, S., & Keith, M. (1999). Indo-Pacific hump-backed dolphin (Sousa chinensis) reactions to pingers: implications for effective long-term deployment of active acoustic devices in permanently set coastal fisheries. Unpublished manuscript - SC/51/SM28. 51st Scientific Committee Meeting of the International Whaling Commission, Grenada, Caribbean. 

Membership of Professional Bodies
  • American Society of Mammalogy – Member since 2007

  • Southern African Wildlife Management Association (SAWMA) – Member since 2009

  • Zoological Society of South Africa (ZSSA) – member 2003, 2004, 2012 – present  

  • Biodiversity Portfolio Council member of the ZSSA (2012 – present) 


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