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Home » Annemariè Avenant-Oldewage

Name: Annemariè Avenant-Oldewage
Location: D3 Lab 127 Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Zoology Academic Staff  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: +27 (0)11 559 2449


About Annemariè Avenant-Oldewage

I started my research group in 1994 and trained 70+ postgraduate students, mainly as the sole supervisor. Initially, I focused on Branchiura (Crustacea), but thereafter included the Copepoda and eventually also other fish parasitic groups. South Africa is a water-scarce and mineral and metal-rich country. Water pollution, related to mining activities occurs and threatens biodiversity and human health. Therefore, the focus of my research expanded to include the role of water quality on parasite diversity and infection. With my postgrad students, we developed a knowledge base on various parasite groups and their application as effect and accumulation indicators. We also developed unique techniques to support our research.


Snail hunting in 2020

My research focuses on using fish parasites as sentinels of environmental degradation. This includes the impact on fish parasite biodiversity, the intensity of infection and analysing of parasites as accumulators of metals. We confirm the parasite identity applying an integrated approach including morphology and DNA analysis, which results in redescriptions of species and descriptions. The work on the Branchiura resulted in a Monograph on the group and co-publications with various colleagues from Brazil. I studied the morphology and anatomy of various Crustacean genera, focusing particularly on the wound inflicting structures related to pathology, and the reproductive systems and morphological transformation of life stages.

DRC field trip
I am on the Editorial boards of the Journal of Morphology, Journal of Fish Disease, African Zoology, PeerJ and Acta Zoologica. I was invited and sponsored to lecture on Crustacea as Fish Parasites at Brno University, Czech Republic and on African Parasites at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany (2016). My labs research was featured in a one-hour national television program on water quality (50/50, 24 February 2019). It also trended internationally on EurekAlert with “Fish lice could be early indicators of metal pollution in freshwater” on 23 Aug 2018. In 2016, I organized the Parasites as indicators of pollution session at the Pathways conference on Human impact on Nature, in Kenya and arranged a 3-day workshop on Metals in the environment, presented by international colleagues to 23 staff and students at my university.

I am a Council Member of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology- African Foundation that has already awarded funds that enabled 80 young African parasitologists from 18 countries to attend WAAVP conferences. On the National level, I represent the Deputy Vice-chancellor on the Nano Science board on a ministerial level. I am a previous President of the Parasitological Society of southern Africa. I regularly review NRF ratings and project reviews (nationally and internationally) and evaluate colleagues for appointment and promotion (national and internationally. I received the faculty Top Lecturer award in 1996 and Top Senior Researcher award in 2019. In 2016, I was awarded with an honorary medal from the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (South African Academy for Science and Art) for advancing science. In 2017, the Elsdon Dew medal from the Parasitological Society of southern Africa (the society’s highest honour) was awarded to me.

Awarding of the honorary medal from the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns

Awarding of the Elson Dew medal by the Parasitological Society of southern Africa

NRF rating: C1; ORCID number 0000-0001-8820-7679; Web of Science ResearcherID: A-7778-2011