Gordon O’Brien has a PhD in Aquatic Health awarded from the University of Johannesburg in 2012. Gordon is the Director of Rivers of Life, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Mpumalanga, School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, registered Professional Scientist (SACNASP) and South African National Research Foundation rated aquatic ecologist. Dr. O’Brien has 13 years of experience in ecological risk assessments, aquatic ecology, Ichthyology and fisheries, environmental flow assessments, ecotoxicology and water resource management.  Gordon has worked in 16 African countries and currently collaborates with >10 international universities and institutes.  Clients and funders of Dr. O’Brien’s research includes governments and non-governmental organisations and international funding organisations (e.g. South African Water Research Commission, South African National Research Foundation, US AID, European Union, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)). He has >30 peer reviewed publications and >20 book chapters with >360 citations of his research. Gordon has supervised/co-supervised >30 post-graduate students at South African and international Universities. His career vision is to undertake evidence based research on aquatic ecosystems and their response to multiple stressors for the sustainable future.

Gordon is on Research Gate, and ORCID where all publications are available.

Key publications:

O’Brien GC, Swemmer R and Wepener V. 2009. Ecological integrity assessment of the fish assemblages of the Matigulu/Nyoni and Umvoti estuaries, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. African Journal of Aquatic Sciences, Volume 34, Issue 3, Pages 293-302

O’Brien GC and Wepener V. 2012. Regional-Scale Risk Assessment methodology using the Relative Risk Model (RRM) for surface freshwater aquatic ecosystems in South Africa. Water SA. 38(2):155-166

O’Brien GC, Bulfin JB, Husted A and Smit NJ. 2012. A. Comparative behavioural assessment of an established and new Tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus) population in two artificial impoundments in the Limpopo catchment, southern Africa. African Journal of Aquatic Sciences 37(3): 253-263.

O’Brien GC, Jacobs FJ, Nel L, Wepener W and Smit NJ. 2013. Habitat use, home ranges, migrations and general behaviour of yellowfishes in the Vaal River, with management considerations for the river. South African Journal of Science. 109:7/8. 1-8.

O’Brien GC, Jacobs F, Evans SW and Smit NJ. 2014. First observation of African tigerfish Hydrocynus vittatus predating on barn swallows Hirundo rustica in flight. Journal of Fish Biology. 84(1): 263–266.

O’Brien GC, Smit NJ and Wepener V. 2014. Conservation of fishes in the Elands River, Mpumalanga, South Africa: Past, present and future. Koedoe; 56(1) DOI: 10.4102/koedoe.v56i1.1118

O’Brien, G. C., Dickens, C., Hines, E., Wepener, V., Stassen, R., Quayle, L., Fouchy, K., MacKenzie, J., Graham, P. M., and Landis, W. G.: A regional-scale ecological risk framework for environmental flow evaluations, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 957-975, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-957-2018, 2018.

O’Brien, G. C., Ross, M., Hanzen, C., Dlamini, V., Petersen, R., Diedericks, G. J. and Burnett M. J. 2019. “River connectivity and fish migration considerations in the management of multiple stressors in South Africa.” Marine and Freshwater Research. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF19183

Lynch, A. J., Baumgartner, L. J., Boys, C. A., Conallin, J., Cowx, I. G., Finlayson, C. M., Franklin, P. A., Hogan, Z., Koehn, J. D., McCartney, M. P., O’Brien, G. C., Phouthavong, K., Silva, L. G. M., Tob, C. A., Valbo-Jørgensen, J.,  Vi Vu, A., Whiting, L., Wibowo, A. and Duncan, P. 2019. Speaking the same language: can the sustainable development goals translate the needs of inland fisheries into irrigation decisions?. Marine and Freshwater Research. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF19176

Fouchy K. McClain M., Conallin J and O’Brien GC. 2019. Multiple Stressors In African Freshwater Systems. In: Sabater, S., Elosegi, A., & Ludwig, R. (Eds.). (2019). Multiple Stressors in River Ecosystems: Status, Impacts and Prospects for the Future. Elsevier. In Multiple Stressors in River Ecosystems (pp. 179-191). Elsevier.

Wade, M., O’Brien, G.C., Wepener, V. and Jewitt, G., 2020. Risk Assessment of Water Quantity and Quality Stressors to Balance the Use and Protection of Vulnerable Water Resources. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. ttps://doi.org/10.1002/ieam.4356

O’Brien G.C., Wepener, W. Smit N.J. (2021) Regional scale risk to the ecological sustainability and ecosystem services of an African Floodplain system. Risk Analysis. DOI: 10.1111/risa.13689

O’Brien, G.C. Dickens, C., Baker, C., Stassen, R. and van Weert, F. 2020. Sustainable Floodplains: Linking E-Flows to Floodplain Management, Ecosystems, and Livelihoods in the Sahel of North Africa. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10578; doi:10.3390/su122410578