Dr Yonela Sithole

Dr Yonela Sithole
Dr Yonela Sithole

Research Interests:

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

Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow: South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity

Dr. Sithole’s journey in the field of fish taxonomy began after completing her junior degree at Walter Sisulu University. She joined the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity in 2013 as a Department of Science and Innovation and National Research Foundation intern. Her passion for fish taxonomy led her to pursue post-graduate studies in the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science (DIFS) at Rhodes University.

Her research projects use an integrative taxonomic approach, combining both morphological and genetic evidence, to understand the taxonomy and diversity of marine fish species like Groupers (Serranus) and Moray eels (Gymnothorax), as well as freshwater species such as catfishes (Parauchenoglanis). Dr. Sithole’s dedication and meticulous work have already resulted in the discovery of two new species, and she is currently in the process of describing eight new species, all stemming from her groundbreaking PhD project.

As part of her academic journey, Dr. Sithole was among five participants selected from African countries to attend a three-month FishBase and Fish identification training at the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) in Belgium, which played a significant role in her PhD research.

Dr. Sithole is currently a Professional Development Programme Postdoctoral fellow, focusing on freshwater and marine fish systematics. Her work is at the forefront of aquatic science, where her expertise and passion enrich our understanding of marine and freshwater fish diversity.



Institution and location


BSc. Biological Science

Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha


BSc. (Hons) Ichthyology and Fisheries Science

Rhodes University, Makhanda


MSc. Ichthyology

Rhodes University, Makhanda


PhD. Ichthyology

Rhodes University, Makhanda



Google Scholar Profile



Twitter: @YonelaSithole