Blog Archive

Hazel Govender



Hazel Govender

PhD student

Development of a Regional Scale Ecological Risk Assessment Model for the management of water resources in the uMngeni Catchment, KwaZulu-Natal

The uMngeni River catchment contains a wide range of land use practices, including the economically important urban centres of Durban and Pietermaritzburg.   The majority of the economically important water resource use activities in the catchment are totally dependent on the ecosystem services provided by the uMngeni River. To ensure sustainability, the balance between the use and protection of the water resources of the uMgeni River is urgently required. Since the 1960s there have been concerns related to the wellbeing of the water resources in the uMgeni River catchment due to stressors associated with water resource use. With the recent development of preliminary Water Classification classes and associated Resource Quality Objectives (RQOs) for the uMgeni Catchment the opportunity to establish a suitable balance between the use and protection of water resources may now be available. Do these RQOs address the threats to water resources adequately and if implemented will the desired balance between the use and protection of local water resources be achieved? Ecological risk assessment techniques may provide the information required to address these aims.

In this study, the Relative Risk Method (RRM) was implemented to conduct an ecological risk assessment of multiple stressors to selected ecological endpoints using macroinvertebrates as indicators in the uMngeni Catchment. Initial low confidence analyses suggest that the RQOs will address the need to achieve a balance between the use and protection of water resources and if implemented will contribute to the sustainable management of water resources in the study area.

Rendani Luthada-Raswiswi


Ms Rendani Luthada-Raswiswi is a Principal Technician and a PhD Candidate in Ecology in School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her PhD is focusing on the use of crocodile meal as a replacement of fishmeal for the commercial production of fish. She has a Master of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Zululand, where she was a Senior Technician in the Department of Zoology for 9 years and acquired experiences in aquaculture facilities management, artificial breeding of catfish, feeding management, live feeds production, water quality management, laboratory and equipment’s maintenance and management. She served Limpopo Department of Agriculture, in Tompi Seleka College of Agriculture as an Aquaculture Intern for 12 months and gained experience in extensive aquaculture. She is currently contributing to first-years and Science Access Biology Practicals, disposal of hazardous chemical wastes, curation of all preserved teaching specimens, maintenance of laboratories and equipment, as well as zebrafish research platform in School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal.


Key publications:

  • Luthada-Raswiswi R.W., Mukaratirwa, S., and O’Brien G. 2019. Nutritional value of the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) Meal for Aquaculture Feeds in South Africa. Journal of 20-25.
  • Luthada R.W. & Jerling H.L. 2013. Effect of feeding frequency and feeding rate on growth of Oreochromis mossambicusfry.  African Journal of Aquatic Sciences38(3): 273-278.

Céline Hanzen

Dr Céline Hanzen is a post-doctoral researcher at Center for Functional Biodiversity, University of KwaZulu-Natal, where she focuses on the conservation and ecology of African freshwater eels. She has a PhD in Ecology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal obtained in 2020. Dr Hanzen has almost 10 years’ experience in both terrestrial and aquatic ecology and conservation and has worked in different countries in Europe and Africa. As a senior researcher of Rivers of Life, Céline contributes to the implementation of different projects relating to fish migration and river connectivity in Kwazulu-Natal in particular and in the Western Indian Ocean Region in general. Céline’s current research topics include the migratory ecology of African eels and the associated fisheries in east and southern Africa.  Céline is an enthusiastic member of the advisory board of “Eel Town”, an international non-profit organization for eel conservation and citizen science education.

Key publications:

Hanzen C., Lucas M., O’Brien G., Downs C., Willows-Munro S., 2020. African freshwater eel species (Anguilla spp.) identification through DNA barcoding. Marine and Freshwater Research, Online Early.

Hanzen C., Lucas M., O’Brien G., Calverley P., Downs C., (in review). First successful surgical implantation of radio tags in freshwater eels (Anguilla spp.) in Africa. Journal of Fish Biology 96, 847–852.

Hanzen C., Weyl O., Lucas M., Brink K., Downs C., O’Brien G., 2019. Distribution, ecology and status of anguillid eels in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean, in Coulson P. & Don A. (eds.) EELS – biology, monitoring, management, culture and exploitation (pp 33-58). Proceedings of the International Eels Sciences Symposium, 2017. 5M Publishing, Sheffield, UK. 

O’Brien, G. C., Ross, M., Hanzen, C., Dlamini, V., Petersen, R., Diedericks, G. J., & Burnett, M. J, 2019. River connectivity and fish migration considerations in the management of multiple stressors in South Africa. Marine and Freshwater Research 70, 1254-1264.

Ovidio M., Hanzen C., Gennotte V., Michaux J., Benitez J. P., & Dierckx, A., 2016. Is adult translocation a credible way to accelerate the recolonization process of Chondrostoma nasus in a rehabilitated river? Cybium, 40(1), 43-49. 


Find her on ResearchGate and ORCiD.