Dr Jackie Dabrowski was invited to present at Nelson Mandela University, George campus on the 9th of March 2016. She presented her research on “Pansteatitis in tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus): untangling the links to fish diet, thyroid status, water quality and drought”.

The research was based in the upper catchment of the Olifants River. During 2006 and 2007 the area experienced mass die-off of Mozambique tilapia and Nile crocodiles due to a disease known as Pansteatitis. Pansteatitis is a disease effecting a wide range of domestic animals, and more increasingly in free ranging wildlife. It causes hardening of fatty reserves in vertebrates, effecting metabolism, resulting in loss of mobility and death.

Dr Dabrowski researched the links between water quality, drought, fish diet, thyroid status and Pansteatitis in Mozambique tilapia in the Loskop dam, on the Olifants River. Her results indicated that Pansteatitis in these fish are due to complex interaction of water pollution, cyanobacteria algae blooms and diet. While results were enlightening as to the system dynamics of the Loskop dam, more research needs to be done to understand if organic pollutant run-off from agriculture are also a contributing factor to the disease.

The SRU would like to thank Dr Dabrowski for taking the time to share her interesting research with staff and students of Nelson Mandela University.  For more information on Dr J Dabrowski, please click here to see her biography.