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Research @ Mandela

Research Chair: Shallow Water Ecosystems


Prof Renzo Perissnotto


Professor Renzo Perissinotto

Faculty: Science

Biosketch of Chair incumbent

Professor Perissinotto initiated his research career in the early 1980s, working on estuarine projects, first in his birth place, the Lagoon of Venice, and then in the Gullmar Fjord of Sweden and the Swartkops Estuary of South Africa. Eventually, PhD studies led him towards the Southern Ocean, where 10 years of investigations resulted in over 50 publications in the primary international literature. He returned to the estuarine field in 1996, and has since worked on numerous projects involving the ecosystem functioning of estuaries, with special emphasis on the temporarily open/closed systems of southern Africa. These have so far generated over 50 peer-reviewed publications, among which is a book on the Temporarily Open/Closed Estuaries in South Africa published by Nova Science (New York) and another titled Ecology and Conservation of Estuarine Ecosystems: Lake St. Lucia as a Global Model, published by Cambridge University Press.

Relevance of research

Water is a scarce commodity in southern Africa, where many aquatic ecosystems are currently on a trajectory of rapid deterioration. The sustainable use of our water resources, and their rehabilitation where necessary, requires that adaptive management structures are continuously provided with scientific knowledge on the processes that govern aquatic ecosystems and their health.

Current research interests

Integrated ecosystem functioning of estuarine and coastal systems, with focus on:

  • Invertebrate diversity;
  • Zooplankton grazing and phytoplankton production;
  • Food webs and benthic-pelagic coupling;
  • Alien invasive species;
  • Anthropogenic eutrophication; and
  • Biological-physical-chemical interactions.