Menu Close

Cecilia Cerrilla

Ceci obtained her BSc degree in environmental science from Brown University in 2016. After a couple of years spent working on ornithological field projects, she enrolled at the University of Cape Town for her MSc in conservation biology and obtained her degree in 2020. Her thesis examined the population trends of the most threatened migratory freshwater fish in South Africa: the Clanwilliam sandfish. She found that the Oorlogskloof River population of sandfish has declined by nearly 93% since 2013 and that two North American invasives (bluegill sunfish and smallmouth bass) are almost entirely excluding young sandfish from the invaded stretch of the river. Ceci returned to Cape Town in early 2021 to continue her work with this highly threatened species. Her PhD, co-supervised by Dr. Jeremy Shelton at the FRC and Dr. Charles Griffiths at the University of Cape Town, focuses on updating sandfish population trends throughout their shrinking range, describing various aspects of their little-known life history, further assessing the impact of invasive fish species and evaluating the efficacy of current sandfish conservation efforts. She is especially interested in following the development of the various cohorts of translocated sandfish in order to inform an adaptive conservation plan for the species.

Formal Education
MSc (Conservation Biology, University of Cape Town)
BSc Honours (Environmental Science, Brown University)
BSc (Environmental Science, Brown University)


  • –present
    PhD student, University of Cape Town


  • 2020 
    University of Cape Town, MSc Conservation Biology
  • 2016 
    Brown University, BSc Environmental Science