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Research @ Mandela

Research Chair: Shallow Water Ecosystems


Janine Adams


Professor Janine Adamas

Faculty: Science, Institute for Coastal and Marine Research

Biosketch of Interim Chair Professor Janine Adams

The specialist research field of Professor Janine Adams is estuaries: their functioning, conservation and management. Current research focus areas are blue carbon ecosystems and response to climate change, mangrove and salt marsh ecology, and water quality management of estuaries. Janine plays an important role in ensuring that science and knowledge on aquatic environments is communicated to managers and policy makers.

Janine has published over 120 articles in peer-reviewed research journals and has made a significant contribution to global knowledge on shallow water ecosystems. Her work is nationally and internationally acclaimed, and she is regularly sought out as an expert on international scientific panels and symposiums. She is currently Associate Editor for the international journal Wetlands and involved with collaborative projects with the University of Glasgow, Delft University of Technology, and University of Wollongong. In South Africa Janine works with scientists from a wide range of institutes including CSIR, University of Western Cape, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON).

Prof. Adams has an excellent postgraduate training record and has successfully supervised over 45 Masters and PhD students over the course of her career. She works tirelessly to train the next generation of research scientists. She is a role model for woman scientists and with her dedication, passion and enthusiasm, she leads by example and ensures that postgraduate students have a quality education through exposure to diverse opportunities.

In 2015 Prof Adams was awarded the silver medal of the Southern African Society of Aquatic Sciences and in 2013 and 2017 she received the Nelson Mandela University researcher of the year award. Janine is a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, which aims to foster and advance science in South Africa and she has served as Chairperson of the Water Research Commission.

Relevance of research

Water is a scare 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 shallow water ecosystems and their health.

Current research interests

Shallow water ecosystems, particularly estuaries, with a focus on:

  • Conservation and management of estuaries
    • including environmental flow requirements, ecological health & importance indices
  • Blue carbon ecosystems and responses to climate change
    • Salt marsh, mangroves, seagrasses
  • Ecophysiology of estuarine macrophytes
  • Water quality management and harmful algal blooms