Dr Marliese Truter

Dr Marliese Truter
Dr Marliese Truter

Research Interests:

Freshwater fish parasite biodiversity in southern Africa

Position: Professional Development Programme Postdoctoral Fellow: South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity; Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Water Research Group; Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management: North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus.

Dr Marliese Truter completed her undergraduate (Zoology and Microbiology) and Honours (Aquatic Ecosystem Health) degrees at the North-West University (NWU). She joined NRF-SAIAB in 2016 as a MSc student after being awarded a DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology Masters Bursary (Open Bursary Programme). Her MSc research was conducted in a collaborative capacity between SAIAB and North-West University where the focus was on invasive fish and their parasitological communities and invasion biology. Thereafter, she continued her research as a SAIAB-NWU doctoral candidate on the parasitological communities of native and translocated freshwater catfish as well as environmental aspects influencing and potentially driving parasitical community assemblages in southern Africa.

Her current research focus is on the biodiversity inventory of the undiscovered freshwater fish parasites of hosts across all conservation categories in selected National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas in South Africa. This research integrates classical techniques to identify parasitic species, assess parasitic community assemblages, and it incorporates a new sub-discipline, the historical ecology of parasitism, in characterising and tracking the shifts in parasitic communities of freshwater fishes in South Africa over time. This research forms part of the Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP)-funded project, REFRESH, that aims to renew and fill gaps in research and knowledge of freshwater species of South Africa that are important in biodiversity assessments and crucial in informing ecosystem conservation.

This research is founded in the fact that South African rivers are home to diverse and unique freshwater fishes, with several endemic species, but we do not have a clear picture of the parasitic communities that are present within these systems. Furthermore, the exclusion of parasites from biodiversity assessments in the past prove detrimental. These tiny organisms contribute substantially to the functioning of our ecosystems’ biomass as well as to food web connectivity and should be included in all biodiversity assessments to provide accurate assessment data sets for future predictions on shifts and the fate of our aquatic ecosystems and their associated biodiversity.



Institution and location


BSc. in Zoology and Microbiology

North-West University, Potchefstroom


BSc. (Hons) Environmental Science

North-West University, Potchefstroom


MSc. Environmental Science (cum laude)

North-West University & South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Potchefstroom


PhD. Science with Environmental Science (cum laude)

North-West University & South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Potchefstroom



Google Scholar Profile



Twitter: @TruterMarliese