Meet our Scientists

SAIAB’s research team focuses on the full spectrum of aquatic environments, from marine offshore to continental freshwater catchments. Research covers ecology and conservation biology that links biodiversity at molecular and organism levels with the environment and with genetic and species diversity. See SAIAB’s research team profiles below.

Prof. Albert Chakona
Prof. Albert Chakona

Chief Scientist

Ecology, phylogeography, historical biogeography, systematics and conservation.

Prof. Paul Cowley
Prof. Paul Cowley

Principal Aquatic Biologist (Acoustic Tracking Array Platform (ATAP)

Biology, ecology and movement of coastal fishes; management of declining fishery resources.

Dr Gwynneth Matcher
Dr Gwynneth Matcher

Aquatics Genomics Research Platform (AGRP) Instrument Scientist

Molecular ecology, genomics, and environmental DNA (eDNA).

Prof. Nikki James
Prof. Nikki James

Senior Scientist

Estuarine and coastal fish research; global change and impacts on estuarine and coastal systems.

Dr Anthony Bernard
Dr Anthony Bernard

Marine Remote Imagery Platform (MARIP) Instrument Scientist

National assessment of South Africa’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Roger Bills
Roger Bills

Senior Curator

Conservation genetics and management of threatened freshwater fishes.

Prof. Francesca Porri
Prof. Francesca Porri

Senior Scientist

Coastal systems; marine biology; organismal and population ecology; ecological engineering.

Dr Taryn Murray
Dr Taryn Murray

Acoustic Tracking Array Platform (ATAP) Instrument Scientist

Movement ecology and distribution patterns of aquatic animals.

Dr Mandla Magoro
Dr Mandla Magoro

Instrument Scientist Freshwater Field Ecologist

Freshwater ecology, estuarine ecology and small-scale fisheries.

Dr Lubabalo Mofu
Dr Lubabalo Mofu

Instrument Scientist Freshwater Field and Lab Ecologist

Inland Fisheries and Freshwater Ecology and stable isotopes, and experimental biology.

Dr Carla Edworthy
Dr Carla Edworthy

Postdoctoral Researcher

Monitoring coastal climate change scenarios, the eco-physiological & behavioural responses of coastal species.

Dr Pedro Braganca
Dr Pedro Braganca

Postdoctoral Researcher

Integrative taxonomy and Biogeography of African freshwater fishes.

Dr Chantel Elston
Dr Chantel Elston

Postdoctoral Researcher

The distribution patterns and spatial ecology of selected batoids along the South African coastline.

Dr Lizaan De Necker
Dr Lizaan De Necker

Postdoctoral Researcher

Freshwater ecology and biodiversity in southern Africa in the face of climate change.

Dr Ross-Lynne Gibb
Dr Ross-Lynne Gibb

Postdoctoral Researcher

Monitoring the features, drivers and consequences of harmful algal blooms.

Dr Fortunate Phaka
Dr Fortunate Phaka

Postdoctoral Researcher

Frogs, reptiles and their related cultural practices in South Africa.

Dr Phakama Nodo
Dr Phakama Nodo

Postdoctoral Researcher

Quantifying nursery role of shallow-water subtidal habitats using remote underwater video.

Dr Kerry-Ann var der Walt
Dr Kerry-Ann var der Walt

Postdoctoral Researcher

Evaluating the thermal physiology on early life stages of fish and invertebrates.

Dr Nokubonga Mbandzi
Dr Nokubonga Mbandzi

Postdoctoral Researcher

Understanding how aquatic organisms interact with their environments.

Dr Yonela Sithole
Dr Yonela Sithole

Postdoctoral Researcher

Integrative taxonomy (morphology, osteology, and genetics) of marine and freshwater fishes

Dr Rebecca Welch
Dr Rebecca Welch

Postdoctoral Researcher

Non-lethal effects of predators and how these effects vary across habitat and ”landscape” types.

Dr Phumza Ndaleni
Dr Phumza Ndaleni

Postdoctoral Researcher

Quantifying fish trophic interactions and community structures

Dr Marliese Truter
Dr Marliese Truter

Postdoctoral Researcher

Biodiversity inventory of the undiscovered freshwater fish parasites biodiversity in southern Africa.

Ofer Gon
Ofer Gon

Curator Emeritus and Honorary Research Associate

Marine fish systematics, Biology and ecology of marine fishes, and History of ichthyology in South Africa

Wouter Holleman
Wouter Holleman

Honorary Research Associate

Systematics of Tripterygiidae and Clinidae Coral reef conservation and Science Education

Prof Paul Skelton
Prof Paul Skelton

Honorary Research Associate & Emeritus Managing Director

Systematics and biogeography of African freshwater fishes

Prof Alan Whitfield
Prof Alan Whitfield

Emeritus Chief Scientist & Honorary Research Associate

Estuarine ecology