Pumla Dlamini

Pumla Dlamini

Pumla Dlamini

MSc Student

Fish communities and aspects of the biology of KwaZulu-Natal yellowfish, Labeobarbus natalensis in the uMngeni River.    

Growing urbanization and industrialization in South Africa have increasingly deteriorated the water quality of most river systems, the effects of which have only been exacerbated by water storage reservoirs and human use. This has resulted in (sometimes) drastic reductions of certain species, including fish species. In my study I will be using two levels of biological organization, namely fish communities and populations, as an indicator of ecosystem wellbeing in the uMngeni River. Fish communities are very useful when assessing the biotic integrity of an aquatic ecosystem as they are relatively easy to identify, include an array of species (representing a range of trophic levels), can be linked to the effects of stress and toxicity and are usually present in even the smallest streams. At the population level I will be looking at the reproductive and feeding behavior of the KwaZulu-Natal yellowfish, (Labeobarbus natalensis) as well its migration behavior.

The aims of my study are as follows:

  1. Evaluate the wellbeing of fish communities and their water quality, quantity and physical habitat preferences of the uMngeni River using multiple lines of evidence
  2. Characterise the reproductive biology and
  3. feeding biology of the KwaZulu-Natal yellowfish, Labeobarbus natalensis in the Umgeni River.


  1. Characterise the fish community structures at eight selected River Ecostatus Monitoring Programme sites in the uMngeni River.
  2. Evaluate the water quality (nutrients, salts, system variables and toxics), quantity (velocity-depth biotopes, discharge) and habitat (substrate, depth, cover features) preference of fishes in the uMngeni River using multivariate statistical techniques.
  3. Apply the Fish Response Assessment Index to evaluate the wellbeing of fish communities in the uMngeni River and relate the outcomes to the statistical evaluation of fish communities.
  4. Monitor the seasonal reproductive state and recruitment of yellowfish in the uMngeni River.
  5. Evaluate the location, timing and duration of spawning migrations of yellowfish in the uMngeni River
  6. Characterise the diet of yellowfish in the uMngeni River, and relate the diet to macroinvertebrate availability and trout competition in the uMgeni River.
  7. Update the state of yellowfish wellbeing in the uMngeni River.


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