Dr Nikki James

Aquatic Biologist
Dr Nikki James
Tel : +27 46 6035839
Fax : +27 46 6222403

View CV

Research Interests

Estuarine and coastal fish
Global change and impacts on estuarine and coastal systems

Dr Nikki James has 12 years of coastal and estuarine research experience in South Africa. Her PhD research (graduating from Rhodes University) involved a long-term study of a temperate estuarine fish community. After a joint post-doc at SAEON and SAIAB she was appointed as an aquatic biologist at SAIAB in 2009 focussing on global change research.

Her broad research interests include climate and global change, estuarine population studies, ecological studies and fisheries ecology. Prior to moving to the Eastern Cape Nikki was based in Durban at the Oceanographic Research Institute where she completed her MSc (graduating from the University of Natal) and later worked as an assistant scientist focussing mainly on coastal and estuarine fisheries species. After this, and during her PhD research, Nikki worked as an environmental consultant.

Outputs from Nikki’s research include papers on estuarine fisheries, inter-annual variability in recruitment and estuarine and coastal fish community structure, papers on the effects of climate change on estuarine fish communities and stock assessments of coastal fish species. Nikki is a sub-editor for African Zoology.

Current Students
University of the WitwaterstrandDepartment of Agriculture and FisheriesNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityOceanographic Research Institute Eduardo Mondlane UniversitySouth African Environmental Observation Network

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications


Bailey, S.E. & James, N.C. 2013. Fish sampling in the marine-dominated Kariega Estuary, South Africa, using a demersal otter trawl: Day/night effects. African Journal of Aquatic Science, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 115-120.

James NC, van Niekerk L, Whitfield AK, Potts WM, Götz A, Paterson AW. 2013. Effects of climate change on South African estuaries and associated fish species. Clim Res 57:233-248


James, N.C., Götz, A., Potts, W.M. & Cowley, P.D. 2012. Temporal Variability of a Temperate Fish Assemblage in Africa's Oldest Marine Protected Area. African Journal of Marine Science, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 15-26.

Lombarte, A., Gordoa, A., Whitfield, A.K., James, N.C. & Tuset, V.M. 2012. Ecomorphological analysis as a complementary tool to detect changes in fish communities following major perturbations in two South African estuarine systems. Environmental Biology of Fishes, vol. 94, no. 4, pp. 601-614.