Home > Staff > Support staff > Ms Petra Muller

Ms Petra Muller

Administer & Manage Photography, Photo microscopy, SEM & EDX Analysis Unit -John Day Building management, Maintenance, Budget & Contract Work -Equipment Procurement & Budget -Operational Planning & People Management - Refurbishments, Projects & Space 
Phone: (+27) 021 650 3623 
Room No.: 3.03, John Day Building, University Avenue





I matriculated at Clapham High School in 1983 and worked as a drafting assistant for Paulus Visser & De Villers Architects in Pretoria. I then joined the CSIRO Dung Beetle Research Unit in Pretoria for four years as a Technical assistant, working on a biological control programme for the Australian Government. I was fortunate to be involved in extensive field surveys and collections, and experimental and quarantine work on dung breeding flies and dung beetles. I came to Cape Town in 1988 to register for a BSc and in 1990 worked in the Zoology Department (UCT), as a Research assistant with Dr Nicolson and Prof Gade , on insect physiology, neuropeptides and hormones. I was again employed by CSIRO, for 12 years as a Senior technical officer for the Biological Control Unit (CSIRO, Canberra), based in the Zoology Department at UCT. The work studied the biological control of South African weeds in Australia, using insects or pathogens. The research programme involved extensive plant and insect surveys and experimental work in the field and the laboratory. Of particular interest and fascination were the plant-insect interactions. The field collection components took me all over Southern Africa, Madagascar and Australia, where I met many wonderful people and colleagues, forming mutual collaborations and friendships across the continents (including France and America). In 2004 I completed the CDP Project Management course offered by the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, and then joined UCT as a Chief Technical Officer in the Biological Sciences Department. My aim was to improve facilities to be of the international standards as I had experienced them overseas, and to bring modern technology within reach of our research and teaching. I thrive on creating new user spaces, and love spending time in the digital imaging unit, producing high magnification images for projects, theses, books & publications. Of the broad range of people within the Science Faculty whom I service, the Academics and their secret experiments, and the passion & enthusiasm of the many postgraduates I interact with daily, make my job an absolute pleasure. 


 (1)   Wright EJ, Müller PA & Kerr JD (1989) Agents for biological control of novel hosts: assessing an aleocharine parasitoid of dung-breeding flies. Journal of Applied Ecology 26:453-461

(2)   Wright EJ & Müller PA (1989) Laboratory studies of host finding, acceptance and suitability of the dung breeding fly, Haematobia thirouxi potans [Diptera:Muscidae], by Aleochara sp. (Coleoptera:Staphylinidae). Entomophoga 34:61-71

(3)   Radford IJ, Müller PA, Fiffer S & Michael PW (2000) Genetic Relationships between Australian Fireweed and South African and Madagascan Populations of Senecio madagascariensis Poir. And closely related Senecio species. Australian Systematic Botany 13:409-423

(4)   Winks CJ, Syrette P & Müller PA (2002) Testing the Host Specificity of Chrysanthemoides Leafroller (Tortrix sp.) forNew Zealand. Landcare Report.

(5)   Morin L & Müller PA (2002) Final Report on Puccinia sp.for potential fireweed biocontrol. CRC Report.

(6)   Müller PA (2002) Final Report on the South African Survey of Cape Tulip and associated potential Biological control agents. MRC/CSIRO Report.

(7)   Morin L, Van der Merwe M, Hartley D & Müller PA (2009) Putative natural hybrid between Puccinia lagenophorae and an unknown rust fungus on Senecio madagascariensis in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. Mycological Research 113 :725-736