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Associate Professor Coleen Moloney

Ecological modelling 
Phone: 021 650 2681 Lab 021 650 3613 





My broad research area involves the variability and dynamics of marine food webs and ecosystems under global change. Locally, my research focus is on the productive marine ecosystems of the west and south coasts of southern Africa (the Benguela ecosystem), although I have also worked on projects in the more oligotrophic east coast region. As an ecosystem researcher, my work spans taxa from microbes to top predators, focusing on ecosystem responses to global change. My main research tools are ecological models for understanding complex interactions and feedbacks among physical, chemical and biological processes on many time and space scales. Current research is on "end-to-end" dynamics of eastern boundary upwelling ecosystems, involving field and modelling studies and with a focus on microbial dynamics.

Current positions and responsibilities

Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Deputy Head of Department

Member, Marine Research Institute (

Academic co-ordinator of third-year course on Marine Ecosystems (BIO3002F)

Postdoctoral collaborators

Ronaldo Angelini (2007) (Brazil)

Morag Ayers (2013-2014) (New Zealand)

James Howard (2014-2015) (United Kingdom)

Ainhoa Lezama (2013-2014) (Spain)

Hilkka Ndjaula (2009-2014) (Namibia)

Margaux Noyon (2014-2016) (France)

Barbara Paterson (2006-2010) (Namibia)

Emma Rocke (2015+) (Canada)

Franck Touratier (1997) (Belgium)

Anne Treasure (2012-2014) (South Africa)

Natascha Visser (2015-2016) (South Africa)

Current PhD students (with (co)-supervisors)

Nicole Dames (with Ed Rybicki and Emma Rocke)

Louis du Buisson (with Frederic Menard, Olivier Maury and Anne Lebourges-Dhaussy)

Zimkhitha Gebe (with Maya Pfaff and Emma Rocke)

Grea Groenewald (with Carl van der Lingen)

Nandipha Mhlongo (with Olivier Maury, Janet Coetzee and Dawit Yemane )

Current MSc students (with (co)-supervisors)

James de Haast

Ignatius Kauvee (with Hans Verheye )

Kanakana Mushanganyisi (with Janet Coetzee, Carl van der Lingen and Larry Hutchings)

Phd Graduates (with (co)-supervisors)

2017 Ffion Atkins (with Stewart Bernard and Eric Machu)

2017 Amy Harrington (with Mike Lucas and Alex Poulton)

2017 Saachshaini Sadchatheeswaran (with Tammy Robinson, Lynne Shannon and George Branch)

2015 Bernardino Malauene (with Francis Marsac, Michael Roberts, Pierrick Penven and Christophe Lett)

2014 Shannon L. Hampton (with Paulette Bloomer and Carl van der Lingen)

2014 Yonss Jose (with Frank Shillington, Olivier Maury, Pierrick Penven, Olivier Aumont and Eric Machu)

2014 David Ricardo Oliveros Ramos (University of Montpellier 2, member of thesis committee)

2012 Margit R. Wilhelm (with Astrid Jarre, Jean-Paul Roux and Deon Durholtz)

2010 Rodrigo Silvestre Martins (with Michael Roberts and Erica Vidal)

2008 Sergio E. Neira Alarcón (with Philippe Cury, Lynne Shannon, Villy Christensen and Astrid Jarre)

2007 Paul de Bruyn (with Mike Schleyer)

2006 David C.M. Miller (with Carl van der Lingen and Christophe Lett)

2006 Kasturi Reddy-Lopata (with Peter Cook and Andreas Lopata)

2003 Wendy D. Robertson (with Michael Schleyer)

2002 Colin G. Attwood (with George Branch)

2001 Lynne J. Shannon (with John Field and Astrid Jarre)

1998 Anthony J. Richardson (with John Field and Hans Verheye)

1996 Franck Touratier (member of thesis committee)

MSc Graduates (with (co)-supervisors)

2018 Alice Mcgrath (with Carl van der Lingen, Juliet Hermes and Claude Roy)

2017 Samantha P. Grusd (with Enrico Gennari and Greg Distiller)

2017 Fisokuhle L. Mbatha (with Marek Ostrowski and Marek Lipinski)

2016 Ben Brooker (with Tamara Robinson)

2015 Pavanee Annasawmy (with Frédéric Ménard, Jean-François Ternon and Michel Potier)

2015 Antonio Massot Mascaro (with Peter Ryan)

2014 Sifiso Mbambo (with Sue Jackson and Grant Pitcher)

2014 Robert Schlegel (with Mike Roberts and Carl van der Lingen)

2013 Annerie Lamprecht (with Peter Ryan)

2012 Solange Bih Awa (with Cecile Reed)

2012 Thulwaneng Brilliant Mashifane (with Hilkka Ndjaula)

2012 Kathryn J. McLaverty (with Carl van der Lingen)

2011 Erich Koch (with Astrid Jarre)

2010 Izwandy Idris (with Carl van der Lingen)

2010 Bernadino Malauene (with Frank Shillington and Mike Roberts)

2009 Grea Wessels (with Carl van der Lingen)

2008 Yonela Geja (with Deon Durholtz)

2008 Qayiso K. Mketsu (with Carl van der Lingen)

2008 Sandisiwe Sono (with Carl van der Lingen)

2008 Mbeurora Beau Tjizoo (with Anja Kreiner, Laurent Drapeau and Carl van der Lingen)

2007 Tarryn-Lee Duthie (with Carl van der Lingen)

2007 James Howard (with Astrid Jarre and Allen Clark)

2005 Lucinda Fairhurst (with Colin Attwood and Deon Durholtz)

2005 Gcobani Popose

2005 Mussie G. Sebhatu (with Hans Verheye)

2005 Nontsasa P. Tobi

2004 Philiswa P. Tukwayo (with Larry Hutchings)

2003 Mbulelo T. Dopolo (with Carl van der Lingen)

2003 Alana Duffell-Canham (with Colin Attwood)

2001 Terence P. Jayiya (with John Field and Robin Leslie)

1998 M. Verónica Toral-Granda (with Jean Harris)

Recent scientific publications (2010 onwards...)

Atkins, J.F., Moloney, C.L., Probyn, T.A., Bernard, S. 2016. In situ measurements and model estimates of NO3 and NH4 uptake by different phytoplankton size fractions in the southern Benguela upwelling system. Frontiers in Marine Science 3: 194. DOI: 10.3389/ fmars.2016.00194.

de Haast, J.A., Treasure, A.M., Ruzicka, J., Moloney, C.L. 2018. A donor-driven approach to modelling anchovy-sardine dominance shifts in the southern Benguela ecosystem. Journal of Marine Systems (in press)

Geja, Y., Durholtz, M.D., Moloney, C.L. 2016. Age and growth of redeye round herring Etrumeus whiteheadi off the South African coast. African Journal of Marine Science 38(4): 493–501. DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2016.1247013

Hampton, S.L., Moloney, C.L., van der Lingen, C.D., Labonne, M. 2018. Spatial and temporal variability in otolith elemental signatures of juvenile sardine off South Africa. Journal of Marine Systems (in press)

Idris, I., Moloney, C.L., van der Lingen, C.D. 2016. Spatial variability in branchial basket meristics and morphology of southern African sardine Sardinops sagax. African Journal of Marine Science 38(3): 351–362. DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2016.1204942.

José, Y.S., Aumont, O., Machu, E., Penven, P., Moloney, C.L., Maury, O. 2014. Influence of mesoscale eddies on biological production in the Mozambique Channel: several contrasted examples from a coupled ocean-biogeochemistry model. Deep-Sea Research II 100: 79-93. DOI: 10.1016/ j.dsr2.2013.10.018.

José, Y.S., Penven, P., Aumont, O., Machu, E., Moloney, C.L., Shillington, F., Maury, O. 2016. Suppressing and enhancing effects of mesoscale dynamics on biological production in the Mozambique Channel. Journal of Marine Systems 158: 129-139. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2016.02.003.

Lett, C., van der Lingen, C.D., Loveday, B.R., Moloney, C.L. 2015. Biophysical models of larval dispersal in the Benguela Current ecosystem. African Journal of Marine Science 37(4): 457-465.

Malauene, B.S., Shillington, F.A., Roberts, M.J., Moloney, C.L. 2014. Cool, elevated chlorophyll a waters off northern Mozambique. Deep-Sea Research II 100: 68-78. DOI: 10.1016/ j.dsr2.2013.10.017.

Martins, R.S., Roberts, M.J., Chang, N., Verley, P., Moloney, C.L., Vidal, E.A.G. 2010. Effect of yolk utilization on the specific gravity of chokka squid (Loligo reynaudii) paralarvae: implications for dispersal on the Agulhas Bank, South Africa. ICES Journal of Marine Science 67: 1323–1335. 10.1093/icesjms/fsq098

Martins, R.S., Roberts, M.J., Lett, C., Chang, N., Moloney, C.L., Camargo, M.G., Vidal, E.A.G. 2014. Modelling transport of chokka squid (Loligo reynaudii) paralarvae off South Africa: reviewing, testing and extending the 'Westward Transport Hypothesis'. Fisheries Oceanography 23 (2): 116–131. DOI: 10.1111/ fog.12046.

Martins, R.S., Roberts, M.J., Vidal, E.A.G., Moloney, C.L. 2010. Effects of temperature on yolk utilization by chokka squid (Loligo reynaudii d'Orbigny, 1839) paralarvae. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 386: 19–26. DOI: 10.1016/ j.jembe.2010.02.014.

Moloney, C.L., Fennessy, S.T., Gibbons, M.J., Roychoudhury, A., Shillington, F.A., von der Heyden, B.P., Watermeyer, K. 2013. Reviewing evidence of marine ecosystem change off South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science 35(3): 427–448.

Moloney, C.L., Jarre, A., Kimura, S., Mackas, D.L., Maury, O., Murphy, E.J., Peterson, W.T., Runge, J.A., Tadokoro, K. 2010. Dynamics of marine ecosystems: ecological processes. pp. 179–218. In: Barange, M., Field, J.G., Harris, R.H., Hofmann, E.E., Perry, I., Werner, F. (eds). Marine ecosystems and global change. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 412 pp.

Moloney, C.L., St John, M.J., Denman, K.D., Karl, D.M., Köster, F., Sundby, S., Wilson, R.P. 2011. Weaving marine food webs from end to end under global change. Journal of Marine Systems 84: 106–116. DOI: 10.1016/ j.jmarsys.2010.06.012.

Ndjaula, H.O.N., Gerow, K.G., van der Lingen, C.D., Moloney, C.L., Jarre, A. 2013. Establishing a baseline for evaluating changes in body condition and population dynamics of sardine (Sardinops sagax) in the southern Benguela ecosystem. Fisheries Research 14: 253– 263. DOI: 10.1016/ j.fishres.2013.06.006.

Neira, S., Moloney, C., Christensen, V., Cury, P. Shannon, L., Arancibia, H. 2014. Analysing changes in the southern Humboldt ecosystem for the period 1970–2004 by means of dynamic food web modelling. Ecological Modelling 274: 41–49. DOI: 10.1016/ j.ecolmodel.2013.09.022.

Neira, S., Moloney, C., Shannon, L.J., Christensen, V., Arancibia, H., Jarre, A. 2014. Assessing changes in the southern Humboldt in the 20th century using food web models. Ecological Modelling 278: 52–66. DOI: 10.1016/ j.ecolmodel.2014.01.003.

Osman, W., Moloney, C.L., van der Lingen, C.D. 2010. Vertical distribution of small pelagic fish eggs and larvae on the eastern Agulhas Bank, South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science 32(1): 115–125.

Paterson, B., Isaacs, M., Hara, M., Jarre, A., Moloney, C.L. 2010. Transdisciplinary co-operation for an ecosystem approach to fisheries: a case study from the South African sardine fishery. Marine Policy 34: 782–794.

Ryan, P.G., Bouwman, H., Moloney, C.L., Yuyama, M., Takada, H. 2012. Long-term decreases in persistent organic pollutants in South African coastal waters detected from beached polyethylene pellets. Marine Pollution Bulletin 64: 2756–2760. DOI: 10.1016/ j.marpolbul.2012.09.013.

Ryan, P.G., Lamprecht, A., Swanepoel, D., Moloney, C.L. 2014. The effect of fine-scale sampling frequency on estimates of beach litter accumulation. Marine Pollution Bulletin 88 (1–2): 249–254. DOI: 10.1016/ j.marpolbul.2014.08.036.

Ryan, P.G., Perold, V., Osborne, A., Moloney, C.L. 2018. Consistent patterns of debris on South African beaches indicate that industrial pellets and other mesoplastic items mostly derive from local sources. Environmental Pollution (in press)

Sadchatheeswaran, S., Branch, G.M., Moloney, C.L. Robinson, T.B. 2018. Impacts of alien ecosystem engineers overwhelm inter-annual and seasonal shifts in rocky-shore community composition on Marcus Island, South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science (in press)

Travers-Trolet, M., Shin, Y.-J., Shannon, L.J., Moloney, C.L., Field, J.G. 2014. Combined fishing and climate forcing in the southern Benguela upwelling ecosystem: an end-to-end modelling approach reveals dampened effects. PLoS ONE 9(4): e94286. DOI: 10.1371/ journal.pone.0094286.

Treasure, A.M., Moloney, C.L., Bester, M.N., McQuaid, C.D., Findlay, K.P., Best, P.B., Dowan, D.A., de Bruyn, P.J.N., Dorrington, R.A., Fagereng, A., Froneman, P.W., Grantham, G.H., Hunt, B.P.V., Meiklejohn, K.I., Pakhomov, E.A., Roychoudhury, A.N., Ryan, P.G., Smith, V.R., Chown, S.L., Ansorge, I.J. 2013. South African research in the Southern Ocean: new opportunities and challenges. South African Journal of Science 109 (3/4): Art. #a009, 4 pages. DOI: 10.1590/ sajs.2013/ a009.

Treasure, A.M., Ruzicka, J.J., Moloney, C.L., Gurney, L.J., Ansorge, I.J. 2015. Land-sea interactions and consequences for sub-Antarctic marine food webs. Ecosystems 18(5): 752–768. DOI: 10.1007/ s10021-015-9860-2

Wessels, G., Moloney, C.L., van der Lingen, C.D. 2010. The effects of freezing on the morphometrics of sardine Sardinops sagax. Fisheries Research 106: 528–534. DOI: 10.1016/ j.fishres.2010.10.004.

Wilhelm, M.R., Jarre, A., Moloney, C.L. 2015. Spawning and nursery areas, longitudinal and cross-shelf migrations of the Merluccius capensis stock in the northern Benguela. Fisheries Oceanography 24 (Suppl. 1): 31–45.

Wilhelm, M.R., Jean-Paul Roux, J.-P., Moloney, C.L., Jarre , A. 2013. Data from fur seal scats reveal when Namibian Merluccius capensis are hatched and how fast they grow. ICES Journal of Marine Science 70 (7): 1429-1438. DOI: 10.1093/ icesjms/ fst101.

Wilhelm, M.R., Moloney, C.L., Paulus, S., Roux, J-P. 2017. Fast growth inferred for northern Benguela shallow-water hake Merluccius capensis using annual survey- and monthly commercial length-frequency distributions. Fisheries Research 193: 7–14. DOI: 10.1016/j.fishres.2017.03.001

Wilhelm, M.R., Moloney, C.L., Paulus, S.C., Kashava, S., Brinkman, F.R.V., van der Plas, A.K., West, W.M., Jarre, A., Roux, J.P. 2018. Biannual otolith zonation of Cape hake (Merluccius capensis) in response to fish physiology and environment in the northern Benguela. Journal of Marine Systems (in press). DOI: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2017.08.001

Wilhelm, M.R., Roux, J.-P., Jarre, A., Moloney, C.L. 2015. Biannual otolith zone formation of young shallow-water hake Merluccius capensis in the northern Benguela: age verification using otoliths sampled by a top predator. Journal of Fish Biology 87: 1–16. DOI: 10.1111/jfb.12684.