Phumza Ndaleni

PhD Candidate
Phumza Ndaleni


Larval fish abundance along ocean-estuarine gradients in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Although it is well understood that estuaries serve as important nurseries for fish and invertebrates, with many species in South Africa thought to be estuarine dependent, comparative data on the degree of estuarine and marine nursery habitat use by marine species is lacking. A mixed-method approach assessing habitat quality and settlement stage larval fish concurrently in estuaries and nearshore coastal habitats will be conducted in the warm-temperate coastal region from Cape Recife to Kenton. Results from this study will help fill knowledge gaps critical to the understanding of nursery habitat use by several economically and ecologically important fish species.

 The overall aim of this study is to assess the functionality of the estuary-ocean ecotone and the degree of connectivity between estuarine and marine habitats, with the main aim being to assess the relative roles of these two areas as settlement areas for marine fishes found in the same region. It will also evaluate the possible use of coastal systems in cases where habitat requirements are no longer met by the estuary due to transformation of the natural habitat.

Registered: Rhodes University (Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science).

Supervisor: Dr Nikki James (SAIAB)
Co-supervisors: Dr Paula Pattrick (SAEON), Dr Shirley Parker-Nance  (SAEON)