Scientific Steering Committee
The Scientific Steering Committee oversees all research endeavors within the Knysna Basin Project. Our aim is to promote research collaborations and to assist and support visiting researchers.
Dr Louw Claassens
Dr Louw Claassens is director of the Knysna Basin Project and holds a Masters Degree in Aquatic Health from the University of Johannesburg. She completed her PhD in 2017, through Rhodes University on: ” Aspects of the population ecology, habitat use and behaviour of the endangered Knysna seahorse (Hippocampus capensis Boulenger, 1900) in a residential marina estate, Knysna, South Africa: Implications for conservation”. Her latest research is focused on the population dynamics of the Knysna seahorse within the Knysna Estuary.
Prof Richard Barnes
Prof Richard Barnes, a brackish-water and invertebrate biologist, is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Zoology & Entomology at Rhodes University, an Emeritus Fellow of St Catharine’s College Cambridge, an Honorary Research Fellow of the Universities of Cambridge (UK) and Queensland (Aus), a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and a member of the Cambridge Conservation Research Institute. He is the author or editor of 13 books, mainly on estuarine, lagoonal and marine ecology, of over 100 scientific papers and of nearly 30 book chapters; was at one time the Chairman of the UK branch of the European Union for Coastal Conservation; and was for many years the Secretary of the Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association.
His interests centre around the fauna of intertidal eelgrass beds and adjacent areas of bare sediment, and in the patterns in which their biodiversity varies from area to area. These interests bring him to Knysna for the first three months of each calendar year, and he also studies equivalent areas in Moreton Bay in Queensland (during the last three calendar months), and until recently undertook further regular research trips to Seychelles, Indonesia and various sites in northwest Europe. He has a large white beard and is often mistaken for ‘Father Christmas’. Further information can be obtained at www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/directory/richard-barnes.
Prof Janine Adams
Janine Adams is a professor in the Botany Department at the Nelson Mandela University, Director of the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research and a member of the Sustainability Research Unit. Her specialist research field is on estuaries; their functioning, conservation and management. She has published over 110 articles in rated journals and made a significant contribution to global knowledge on estuary ecology, aquatic botany and environmental water requirements. Janine is committed to research excellence and passionate about research training and capacity building. She has successfully supervised 30 MSc and 16 PhD students. Eleven postgraduate students are currently registered.
Janine is past president of the Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists, she served as Chairperson of the Water Research Commission and is a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa. In 2013, she received the Nelson Mandela University researcher of the year award and in 2015 the silver medal from the Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists. Current research focus areas are blue carbon ecosystems and response to climate change, mangrove and salt marsh ecology and water quality management of estuaries. Past research has successfully linked science, policy and management through extensive collaboration and networking with different universities, institutes and government departments.
Prof Charles Breen
Charles Breen is an Emeritus Professor and Fellow of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. He lectured at Rhodes University and the University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu-Natal) before being appointed Director of the Institute of Natural Resources where he served for twelve years. He served as Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research for ten years and chaired the Board of the Midlands Community College for Further Education and Training. Breen holds a PhD in plant physiology from Rhodes University and has been a Visiting Professor at a number of institutions in the United States of America. He has devoted much of his life to research on aquatic ecosystems, including estuaries, and their relationships with society. His contribution has been recognized through award of a gold medal by the Southern African Association of Aquatic Scientists, a KwaZulu-Natal Conservation Award and the Mondi Wetlands Award for Wetland Science and Research.
Environmental education intern/coordinator
Nos’phamandla Ndamane is originally from Beaufort West and is an environmental management B-tech graduate from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Spha coordinates all our environmental education programmes.
Peter and Frances Smith
Frances is a zoology graduate with a deep interest in marine biology. Her main interest is the invertebrates that inhabit the inter-tidal zones. Now retired from a career in accountancy she now spends half the year in Knysna where she has developed and manages the ShoreSearch Project with the help of volunteer ‘citizen scientists’ and is involved in outreach programmes with the public and schools. Peter is an agronomist with experience of field research and of working with NGOs.
Water quality coordinator
Ntombi Vudla is a chemistry MSc graduate from the University of KwaZulu Natal. Ntombi coordinates all our water quality research and monitoring.
Board of Trustees
- Charles Breen (Chairman)
- Ian Corbett
- John Kennedy
- John Edwards (Accountant)
- Owen Govender
- James McCarthy
- Craig Bond
- Joby Shaw
- Peter Clayton