National assessment of South Africa’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
My research is focussed on understanding the ecology of subtidal reef ecosystems within South Africa and the roles that natural disturbance, such as climate change, and anthropogenic disturbances, such as fishing, play in shaping community and population structures. Integral to this research is the role marine protected areas play for biodiversity conservation and as experimental controls, or baselines, from which to measure the impacts of direct anthropogenic disturbances. A large component of my research activity is also directed towards the selection and development of sampling methods to best survey fish and invertebrate populations associated with reefs from the shallow subtidal down to the edge of the continental shelf.
I am currently involved in a national assessment of South Africa’s MPAs to determine their effectiveness at protecting reef fish assemblages and to infer the impact that fishing has had on the diversity, abundance and size distribution of fish from the shallow subtidal down to the edge of the continental shelf. I am also involved in the development of deep water sampling technology to improve our ability to quantitatively survey benthic and demersal fish communities occurring on the outer regions of South Africa’s continental shelf and deeper. Furthermore, through the post-graduate students that I am currently supervising we are looking into the associations between fish and their habitats and how fish communities change in responses to diel and tidal cycles.
2003: BSc Biological Sciences, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
2005: MSc Marine Biology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
2013: PhD Marine Biology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa