Lab members

Prof. Carol Simon

Principal Investigator
Associate Professor
MSc (Rhodes University), PhD (Rhodes University)

My interest in polychaetes started during my PhD research at Rhodes University (Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science) when I investigated the reproduction of a polychaete worm that was infesting farmed abalone. – Read more here

Dr Jyothi Kara

Post-doctoral associate
Project title: Towards resolving the taxonomy of pseudocosmopolitan Marphysa species.

Dr Arturo Alvarez Aguilar

Post-doctoral associate
Project title: Ecological impact of Diopatra aciculata as an ecosystem engineer in estuaries of South Africa.

Msc. (Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, UNAM), PhD (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California)


In my bachelor’s thesis, I proposed to study the main groups of macrobenthic invertebrates but when I saw the complexity of the world of polychaetes, I decided to learn about the taxonomy and ecology of this group. After that, in my master and PhD thesis, I had the opportunity to deepen my understanding of the role of polychaetes in the benthic ecology and marine pollution on the coasts of Mexico.

Nowadays, I am interested in studying the impact of alien species as an ecosystem engineer in estuaries in South Africa.

Hendré van Rensburg

PhD Candidate
Project title: Trophic ecology of Diopatra aciculata, a non-indigenous polychaete worm used as bait in South African estuaries.

Stephanie Schoeman

PhD Candidate
Project title: Reproductive and local dispersal patterns of Diopatra aciculata in the Knysna Estuary.

Nikki Rodewald

MTech (registered at Cape Peninsula University of Technology)
Project title: Resolving the taxonomy of a non-indigenous Polydora species on farmed oysters.

Helene van Niekerk

Student assistant
Project title: Resolving taxonomy of possible non-indigenous sabellid polychaete

Past Lab members

Amore Malan – Student assistant
Project title: Resolving the taxonomy of Polydora cf. haswelli, a pest of farmed oysters.

Amy Williams – Student assistant
Project title: Taxonomy of bait polychaetes

Dr Jyothi Kara – PhD Student
Project title: Taxonomic and Molecular assessment of the apparently alien and cosmopolitan Nereididae Blainville, 1818 polychaetes from South Africa

Dr Andrew David – PhD Student
Project title: Larval development and population genetics: An integrated approach for predicting the establishment and dispersal potential of a recently introduced polychaete (Annelida: Spionidae) in southern Africa.

Hendré van Rensburg – Masters student
Project title: Taxonomy and distribution of moonshine worms (Diopatra sp.) in Knysna Estuary

Ms Safiyya Sedick – Masters student
Project title: Syllidae Grube, 1850 (Annelida) from southern Africa. A taxonomic update, with a focus on Syllis Lamarck, 1818

Mr Lee-Gavin Williams – Masters student
Project title: Genetic structure of pest polydorids (Annelida: Spionidae) infesting Crassostrea gigas in southern Africa: Are pests being moved with oysters?

Ms Sandy van Niekerk – Masters student
Project title: A systematic review of the so-called cosmopolitan polydorid Polydora hoplura Claparède, 1869 (Polychaeta: Spionidae) on the South African coast