Roger Bills

Roger Bills
Roger Bills

Research Interests:

Biogeography and systematics of freshwater fishes. Conservation genetics and management of threatened freshwater fishes.

Position: Senior Curator, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity


Systematic and Taxonomic studies of Central African Fishes

Tropical central-southern Africa has a diverse Zambezian-dominated fauna. Large areas are, however, poorly explored at the finer scale and intensive surveys are producing increasing numbers of new species. Expeditionary research on fish distributions, taxonomy and systematics of the region’s freshwater fishes have been continuing since the 1980s. Environmental Impact Assessments and varied conservation programmes have provided numerous opportunities for such research during the last decade. The main short-term objective is to describe the diversity of the central-southern African region. A longer-term goal is to understand the biogeography of the southern African fauna and how it links with the northern Congo and southern systems. 

Freshwater fishes of Mozambique

The freshwater fishes of Mozambique have been studied since 1997. Through a series of field surveys funded by various conservation and government agencies, SAIAB has had the opportunity to study fish collections from key areas within this country. The Mozambique region is of particular interest in understanding the biogeography of the African east coast and Zambezian freshwater fish fauna.

Systematic studies of fishes of Swaziland of Eastern South Africa

The tropical and sub-tropical freshwater fish communities of the African east coast region are of special interest. The high species diversity in the region and the complex geological history has resulted in many disjunct fish populations, which are interesting from scientific and conservation perspectives. The Swaziland fish and fisheries project started our most recent interests in this region and these have continued with projects on Chiloglanis and Kneria.

The objective of this project is to gain a better understanding of diversity and distribution patterns of the ichthyofauna of the eastern region of South Africa, Swaziland and southern Mozambique; to aid conservation efforts for various species by assisting with revising the taxonomy of some fish groups and, more directly, with dedicated conservation projects.