Change the world

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

Prof Adams’ current research focus areas are blue carbon ecosystems and response to climate change, mangrove and salt marsh ecology, and water quality management of estuaries.

Prof Adams plays an important role in ensuring that science and knowledge of aquatic environments is communicated to managers and policymakers.

She has published over 150 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 for a special issue on southern hemisphere estuaries and coasts for the journal Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science.  Prof Adams is involved with collaborative projects with the University of Rennes; France, University of Essex; the United Kingdom, Eduardo Mondlane University; Mozambique, University of Oldenburg; Germany,  and the University of Wollongong; Australia. 

In South Africa, Prof Adams works with scientists from a wide range of institutes, including the CSIR, the University of the Western Cape, the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON).

She has an excellent postgraduate training record and has successfully supervised over 55 masters and PhD students throughout her career.

She works tirelessly to train the next generation of research scientists.  As 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.

She is a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, which aims to foster and advance science in South Africa and 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