Alan Whitfield has strong interests in estuarine ecological research, with particular emphasis on the ichthyofauna. His early work focused on the feeding ecology of estuary-associated fish species and this evolved into gaining an understanding of the use of fishes as indicators of ecological and environmental change within estuaries. In recent decades he has also focused on estuarine classification, fish larval ecology, stable isotopes in estuaries and the importance of river flow to estuarine functioning. These research areas coincided with a growing interest in global change, in particular the influence of global warming on the distribution patterns and ecology of fishes in southern African estuaries.
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