SAIAB's much-loved Professor Olaf Weyl passes away

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Professor Olaf Weyl
Professor Olaf Weyl

The South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science (DIFS) and the whole Rhodes University community were saddened by the recent news of the passing of Professor Olaf Weyl on 14 November 2020.

Herewith SAIAB’s official announcement, which can also be found here:

It is with great sadness that SAIAB announces the passing of Professor Olaf Weyl on Saturday 14th November.

Doing what he loved best, Olaf was chasing fish in mountain streams looking for new trout genetics sampling sites. Olaf joined SAIAB in 2009 from the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science at Rhodes University and wholeheartedly served the Institute, initially as a Senior Scientist and then as Chief Scientist. Testimony to his standing and pursuit of excellence in both inland fisheries and aquatic invasion biology, he was awarded the South African Research Chair in Inland Fisheries and Freshwater Ecology in 2017.

“Olaf was in so many ways a giant of a man with an intellect that could only be matched by his inordinate ability to love and nurture those around him” – Dr Angus Paterson, MD of SAIAB and close friend.

Olaf was so many things to so many people: first and foremost a loving father to his twin daughters Phillipa and Olivia and husband to his dearest Michelle; a formidable scientist and valued colleague and friend to SAIAB and the broader research community; a mentor, guide and support to his closeknit research group of postdocs and post graduate students.

His contributions to inland fisheries and invasive fish biology have placed him as a recognised and highly respected global leader in these fields. We are still trying to grapple with the enormity of this loss for SAIAB and the aquatic biodiversity community in South Africa and abroad. He was highly respected and the impact of his research and larger than life personality will continue to resonate for a long time. Messages of condolence have been pouring in and we thank each and every one of his many friends, colleagues and associates who have contacted colleagues at SAIAB and posted on social media.

To honour Olaf’s life, you are welcome to leave flowers at the front gate or lawns of SAIAB, or to add and share your memories of this amazing man online. Details of an online Memorial event to honour Olaf will be made available as soon as possible.

Should anyone wish to leave a personal message of condolence for Michelle, Olivia and Phillipa and their extended family, we have set up a dedicated email address: These messages will be redirected to the family.

A dedicated memorial page on

Facebook (@NRFSAIAB) (@Olaf’s research at saiab)

Twitter (@NRF_SAIAB)

Source:  SAIAB