Professor Amber-Robyn Childs

Associate Professor

PhD, Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University (2013)


 Amber Childs portrait

Phone +27 [0]46 603 8415


SAFER (South African Fisheries Ecology Research) Lab
Google Scholar Profile
Amber Childs CV

Research Interests

Amber’s research is centred on improving our understanding of the biology, ecology, physiology, movement behaviour and habitat connectivity of estuarine and coastal fishes, with emphasis on the impacts of overfishing and climate change. For the past two decades, her research has focused on the movement ecology and habitat connectivity (using acoustic telemetry), and the role of critical nursery habitats for estuarine and coastal fishes. She realised that identification of essential fish habitats is key to effective marine and estuarine spatial planning. More recently, she has focused on the causes and consequences of fish movement behaviour at an individual, population and species level through pattern-based field and process-based physiological research. As a result, she has recently expanded her research interests into examining behavioural plasticity of fishes through investigating fisheries-induced evolution on fish physiology. This research involves understanding the proximate causes (mechanisms and processes e.g. physiology) and ultimate causes (ecological and evolutionary consequences) of fish behaviour to better understand anthropogenic impacts such as climate change and overexploitation. Amber is also involved in the biological and social aspects of recreational fisheries to ultimately improve angler behaviour and fish health and survival – she came to realise that to effectively manage fish; you need to manage people.


Recent publications

Peer-reviewed scientific publications in ISI-rated journals

Farthing MW, Mann-Lang JB, Childs A-R, Bova CS, Bower SD, Pinder AC, Ferter K, Winkler AC, Butler EC, Brownscombe JW, Danylchuk AJ, Potts WM. 2022. Assessment of fishing guide knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours in global recreational fisheries. Fisheries Research.

Farthing MW, Childs A-R, Mann-Lang JB, Bova CS, Potts WM. 2022. Are recreational fishing guides rolemodels for their clients? Fisheries Research.

Butler EC, Arkert NK, Childs A-R, Pringle BA, Skeeles MR, Foster RM, Farthing MW, Winkler, AC, Potts WM. 2022. Incorporating estuarine-angler behaviour and delayed blood sampling into the rapid assessment of catch-and release angling h on the iconic dusky kob Argyrosomus japonicus. Fisheries Research 253.

Foster RM, Childs A-R, Mann BQ, Potts WM. 2022. Age and growth of the Cape knifejaw Oplegnathus conwayi, an endemic South African teleost. African Zoology.

Bailey L, Childs A-R, James NC, Winkler AC, Potts WM. 2022. Links between behaviour and metabolic physiology in fishes in the Anthropocene. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries.

Butler EC, Childs A-R, Smith MKS, Foster RM, Potts WM. 2022. Spawning observations of Pomadasys commersonnii in the marine section of the Knysna Estuarine Bay, Western Cape, South Africa, African Journal of Marine Science 44: 101–106.

Allison C, Muller C, Childs A-R, Froneman W, Bailey LA, Potts WM. 2021. When cooling is worse than warming: investigations into the thermal tolerance of an endemic reef fish. African Journal of marine Science 1-11.

Muller C, Childs A-R, James NC, Potts WM. 2021. Effects of Experimental Ocean Acidification on the Larval Morphology and Metabolism of a Temperate Sparid, Chrysoblephus laticeps. 2: 26–40.

Butler EC, Childs A-R, Milner MV, Farthing MW, Duncan MI, Winkler AC, Potts WM. 2021. Do contemporary age-growth models overlook life-history complexities in protandrous fishes? A case study on the large protandrous polynemid, the giant African threadfin Polydactylus quadrifilis. Fisheries Research. 105770.

Butler EC, Childs A-R, Duncan MI, Potts WM. 2020. Understanding the effects of recreational catch-and-release angling on an increasingly important foreign fishing tourism species, the giant African threadfin Polydactylus quadrifilis (Cuvier). Fisheries Management and Ecology. 00: 1–12. DOI: 10.1111/fme.12451

Potts WM, Attwood C, Cowley PD, Childs A-R, Winkler AC, Duncan MI, Murray T, Mann B, Mann-Lang JB. 2020. Editorial overview: recommendations for the promotion of a resilient linefishery in the Anthropocene. African Journal of Marine Science 42(3): 255–267. DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2020.1824738

Arkert NK, Childs A-R, Duncan MI, Farthing MW, Potts WM. 2020. Physiological stress response and recovery of an important estuarine fishery species, dusky kob Argyrosomus japonicus, after a simulated catch-and-release event. African Journal of Marine Science. 42(3): 339– 10.2989/1814232X.2020.1801505

Foster R, Childs A-R, Brooks M, Farthing MW, Butler EC, Potts WM. 2020. Quantifying the impacts of abrasion and bacterial transfer when fish are exposed to sand during a catch-and-release event. African Journal of Marine Science. 42(3): 307– 10.2989/1814232X.2020.1792982

Muller C, Childs A-R, Skeeles MR, Duncan MI, James NJ, van der Walt K, Potts WM. Implantation, orientation and validation of a commercially produced heart-rate logger for use in a Perciform teleost fish. Conservation Physiology. 8(01): coaa035; doi:10.1093/conphys/coaa035.

Butler EC, Childs A-R, Saayman A, Potts WM. 2020. Can fishing tourism contribute to conservation and sustainability via ecotourism? A case study of the fishery for giant African threadfin Polydactylus quadrifilis on the Kwanza Estuary, Angola. Sustainability 12(10), 4221. doi:10.3390/su12104221

Pringle BA, Childs A-R, Butler EC, Winkler AC, Duncan MI, Teta C, Potts WM. 2020. Time course of the physiological stress response in bronze bream Pachymetopon grande following a simulated catch-and-release angling event. African Journal of Marine Science. 42(3): 375–380.

Winkler AC, Mannheim S, Childs A-R, Santos C, de Beer C, Potts WM. 2019. A snapshot dietary assessment of the Baίa dos Tigres Cape Fur seal colony. African Journal of Marine Science, 41(4): 443–447.

Potts WM, Jordan T, Childs A-R. 2019. Can long-term content analysis of print media be used to examine species composition, population demography and distributional range changes of recreational fishery species? African Journal of Marine Science, 41(3): 231–245.

Maggs JQ, Cowley PD, Porter SN, Childs A-R. 2019. Should I stay or should I go? Intra-population variability in movement behaviour of wide-ranging and resident coastal fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 619: 111–124. 3354/meps12953


Last Modified: Thu, 16 Feb 2023 08:10:05 SAST