Prof Alan Whitfield

Prof Alan Whitfield
Prof Alan Whitfield

Research Interests

Estuarine ecology

Position: Emeritus Chief Scientist: South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity; Honorary Associate Professor: Rhodes University

Professor Alan Whitfield joined the JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology (precursor to NRF-SAIAB) in 1978 and retired from the NRF-SAIAB in 2018. He has strong interests in estuarine ecological research, with particular emphasis on the ichthyofauna. His early work focused on the feeding ecology of estuary-associated fish species, and this evolved into gaining an understanding of the use of fishes as indicators of ecological and environmental change within estuaries. In recent decades, he has also focused on the classification of estuaries, fish larval ecology, stable isotopes in estuaries, fish nursery areas in estuaries, conservation of fishes in estuaries, fish population dynamics, and the importance of river flow to estuarine functioning. These research areas coincided with a growing interest in global change, in particular the influence of climate change on the distribution patterns and ecology of fishes in southern African estuaries. Since his retirement, Alan has focused on global reviews, including books, dealing with the biology and ecology of fishes in estuaries.



Institution and location


BSc. Zoology, Botany

University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg


BSc. (Hons) Zoology

University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg


MSc. (cum laude) Ichthyology

University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg


PhD. Ichthyology

University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg


DSc. Ichthyology

Rhodes University, Makhanda



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