Alanna Rebelo studied Zoology and Ecology at the University of Cape Town, where she became passionate about rivers and wetlands. She received the class medal for Inland Water Systems in 2008. She went on to do her Masters research on wetlands in the Kromme River System, where she investigated the hydrological benefits of restoration. She recently completed her MSc cum laude in the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University.
In 2011 she was awarded a prestigious Green Talent Award by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Through this award she was able to spend a fully-funded 3-month research stay at the German Aerospace Agency (DLR) in Munich in 2012. In April 2012 she was invited to attend the Stockholm +40 Conference in Sweden to help prepare for the Rio +20 Conference. She was also selected to attend the Young Researchers School in Sustainable Development in Indonesia in 2012, an initiative of the United Nations University. She was awarded an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to study abroad in 2014, and chose to do her doctorate at Antwerp University (Belgium) on palmiet wetlands and the ecosystem services they provide mankind. She was based at the research group ECOBE (ecosystem management). In November 2017 she graduated with a joint degree at both Stellenbosch University and the University of Antwerp.
Following her PhD, Alanna worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Stellenbosch University for two years on the SEBEI (socio-economic benefits of investing in ecological infrastructure) project, and a following two years on the NATWiP (nature-based solutions for water management in the peri-urban) project. Alanna is now a senior researcher in the Water Science Unit at the Agricultural Research Council - Natural Resources and Engineering, South Africa. She serves on the boards of the National Wetland Society, South African Hydrological Society, Friends of Tokai Park and is currently the incoming co-chair of the Africa Region of the International Society for Wetland Scientists.