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Conservation Research Institute



After his BSc Hons in Zoology at University College London (1965) and PhD at the University of Queensland, Brisbane (1968), Richard spent short periods at the University of Bristol and at the CERL Fawley Marine Laboratory before becoming a UTO in the Cambridge Zoology Department from 1972 to 2011.  His fieldwork is now carried out mainly from Rhodes (South Africa) and Queensland (Australia), via his honorary positions on the research staff of those universities, being then based at the Knysna Field Laboratory and Moreton Bay Research Station respectively.  He is also an Emeritus Fellow of St Catharine's College Cambridge. 

  • Hon Research Professor, Department of Zoology & Entomology, Rhodes University, South Africa
  • Hon Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences and Centre for Marine Science, University of Queensland, Australia
  • Research Fellow, Biodiversity Program, The Queensland Museum, Australia
  • Research Fellow, Aquatic Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

At various times in the recent past he has been Chairman of the European Union for Coastal Conservation (U.K.) and Secretary of the Estuarine & Coastal Sciences Association (of which he was one of the founders). He is also the author of several books, including An Introduction to Marine Ecology (with Roger Hughes of Bangor) [Blackwell Science 1982, 1988, 1999], The Invertebrates (with Peter Calow of Sheffield and Peter Olive of Newcastle) [Blackwell Science 1988, 1993, 2001], Estuarine Biology [Arnold 1974, 1984], Coastal Lagoons [CUP 1980] and The Brackish-Water Fauna of Northwestern Europe [CUP 1994]. He is a recipient of the Linnean Society of London's bicentenary medal. In total his publications have received >4,000 citations, with a Google Scholar h-index of 30 & an i10 of 83. In total his publications have received >5,000 citations, with a Google Scholar h-index of 32 and an i10 of 91.


Richard Barnes is a marine biologist who works with the relevant National Parks authorities in South Africa, Australia and (until recently) Indonesia, Seychelles and the UK, on estuarine, lagoonal and semi-enclosed marine bay habitats within their jurisdiction.  His specific research area revolves around how and why benthic invertebrate biodiversity varies across relatively small-scale space and across microhabitat interfaces in fish nursery areas, and how this impinges – or should impinge – on conservation management strategies and artisanal exploitation, including on the zonation of human activities that usually occurs within such National Parks.  It should perhaps be noted that he is now in the middle tertile of his 70s and hence operates from honorary research staff positions that he holds in various academic institutions in Queensland, South Africa and the UK, around which he rotates each year.


Key publications: 

Barnes, R.S.K. & Claassens, L.  2020. Do beds of subtidal estuarine seagrass constitute a refuge for macrobenthic biodiversity threatened intertidally?  Biodiversity and Conservation, 29, 3227-3244.

Claassens, L., Barnes, R.S.K., Wasserman, J., Lamberth, S.J., Miranda, N.A.F., van Niekerk, L. & Adams, J.B.  2020. Knysna Estuary health: ecological status, threats and options for the future.    African Journal of Aquatic Science, 45, 65-82.

Barnes, R.S.K. 2019. Context dependency in the effect of Ulva-induced loss of seagrass cover on estuarine macrobenthic abundance and biodiversity. Aquatic Conservation, 29, 163-174.

Barnes, R.S.K. 2017. Are seaward pneumatophore fringes transitional between mangrove and lower-shore system compartments? Marine Environmental Research, 125, 99-109.

Barnes, R.S.K. 2016. Spatial homogeneity of benthic macrofaunal biodiversity across small spatial scales. Marine Environmental Research, 122, 148-157.

Clifton, J., Etienne, M., Barnes, D.K.A., Barnes, R.S.K., Suggett, D.J. & Smith, D.J. 2012. Marine conservation policy in Seychelles: Current constraints and prospects for improvement. Marine Policy, 36, 823-831.

Geographical region

Southern Africa
Emeritus Fellow, St Catharine's College Cambridge
Professor Richard S K Barnes


Departments and institutes: 
Research keywords: 
Conservation Biology
Estuaries & Lagoons