My research encompasses freshwater riverine, floodplain and wetland habitats in southern Africa with a particular focus on the ecology, food web structure and biodiversity of fish and aquatic invertebrates of these ecosystems. This has applications towards the management and conservation of these ecosystems as they are severely under threat by not only humans, but future predicted climate change as well.
Presently, I am working on a Water Research Commission funded project regarding the present and future predicted distribution of schistosomiasis (bilharzia) transmitting snails and their parasites in South Africa. The goal is to address the lack of knowledge regarding the present distribution of schistosomiasis in South Africa using a combined field and desktop-based study approach. The study also aims to determine whether the ranges of schistosomiasis intermediate host snails and their associated parasites have changed in the past half-century, and investigate whether this may further expand or change given future predicted climate change. We will also assess the existing knowledge, attitudes, perceptions and practices surrounding schistosomiasis in endemic communities. This research will provide updated information on the present and potential future distribution of schistosomiasis in South Africa as well as public health associated with the disease and exposure risk. This will may aid in informing policy and decision-makers of the potential risks that climate change poses to humans and their livestock, particularly through changing ranges and increased occurrences of schistosomiasis.