Dr Phakama Nodo

Post Doc Researcher
Dr Phakama Nodo

Research Interests

Quantifying nursery role of the shallow-water subtidal habitats for coastal fishes using remote underwater video.

Given that mobile species utilize a variety of coastal habitats, it is vital to understand patterns and processes at a seascape level.  The seascape approach provides a better understanding of the patterns of the spatial distribution of wild populations and also provides a critical consideration in the development of effective management and conservation strategies. Such studies are still lacking in South African coastal waters. Monitoring fish assemblages in shallow coastal areas containing rocky reefs and other structured habitats is not possible using traditional sampling gear. Hence, this study uses stereo video cameras which are particularly advantageous as they enable accurate length measurements to be made as well as the examination of the natural behaviour of fish. This study builds on work undertaken as part of a larger Algoa Bay seascape project (NRF: 116042) but will incorporate more sampling sites and replication as well as adopting a larger spatial approach. This research aims to assess at a bay-wide scale the availability and usage of shallow subtidal habitats in Algoa Bay.

My broad research interests include aquatic biology/ecology, with an emphasis on the importance of coastal habitats as nursery areas for fish and understanding the effect of environmental factors on the abundance and distribution of coastal fishes. In addition, given the ever-increasing anthropogenic pressures facing our fish resources within coastal habitats, with our estuaries being heavily polluted due to excessive nutrient enrichment, increasing metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), as well as climate change which have all contributed to severe ecological deterioration in the coastal waters. I’m also interested in assessing the impact of some of these stressors (e.g. harmful algal blooms (HABs), low dissolved oxygen and hypoxia) on fish assemblages and how some important fishery species (specifically early life stages) respond to these events.

I completed my undergraduate studies (BSc Biological Sciences), honours (Hons in Zoology), and masters (MSc in Estuarine Ecology) degrees at Walter Sisulu University. I did my Ph.D. (Ichthyology) at Rhodes University. My Ph.D. focused on demersal fish distribution in the shallow marine nearshore and estuarine seascape of Algoa Bay. In this project, a seascape approach was used in assessing the relative roles of soft-bottom benthic habitats in two permanently open estuaries and the marine nearshore areas as settlement and nursery habitats for fish, and the effect of environmental drivers on demersal fish distribution was assessed.

Supervisor: Prof NC James

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications


Research gate