Wouter Holleman

Wouter Holleman
Wouter Holleman

Research Interests:

Systematics of Tripterygiidae and Clinidae: Coral reef conservation and Science Education

Position: Research Associate: South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity 

On completion of his Honours degree, Margaret Mary Smith invited Wouter to join the JLB Smith Institute (as it was then) to assist Robin Stobbs with equipping the new building (1976–1977). The following year (1978), Wouter was appointed Deputy Director of the Albany Museum, a position he held from 1978 to 2006. During this period he completed his MSc in fish taxonomy with a special focus on three-fin blennies (Tripterygiidae), a direction instigated by Dr Rick Winterbottom from the Royal Ontario Museum who had been one of Wouter’s undergraduate lecturers.

Taxonomic research led to many collecting trips in the Comores, Mauritius, Rodriques, Phuket, Palau, Morea (French Polynesia), East New Britain, Vietnam, southern Mozambique, Sodwana and the Aliwal Shoal, among others.

On retiring as Director of the Albany Museum in 2009, he joined SAIAB as a research associate, taking on the task as one of the fish taxonomy editors for Zootaxa for about five years, as well as the editorship of Smithiana, the journal of the JLB Smith/SAIAB.

With Dr Phil Heemstra and Elaine Heemstra, Dave Ebert, and Jack Randall, Wouter co-ordinated the compilation of the Coastal fishes of the Western Indian Ocean, seeing the five-volume work through to final publication in 2023.

He continues to carry out research on Tripterygiidae and Clinidae.



Institution and location


BSc Zoology, Geology

Rhodes University, Makhanda


BSc (Hons) Zoology

Rhodes University, Makhanda


MSc Ichthyology

Rhodes University, Makhanda