I am interested in the ecology of estuaries, lagoons and intertidal systems. My primary research interest lies in understanding the roles of dominant species in structuring ecosystems and communities and predicting the consequences of their losses or shifts in range. These are important areas in modern marine ecology as several key species are affected by human activities and changing climates. The information gained is pertinent to developing fundamental ecological theory and to the management of coastal systems.
UCT College of Fellows Young Researcher Award (2011)
1. Pillay D, Branch GM, Forbes AT (2007a). The influence of bioturbation by the sandprawn Callianassa kraussi on feeding and survival of the bivalve Eumarcia paupercula and the gastropod Nassarius kraussianus. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, vol 344: pages 1-9.
2. Pillay D, Branch GM, Forbes AT (2007b). Experimental evidence for the effects of the thalassinidean sandprawn Callianassa kraussi on macrobenthic communities. Marine Biology, vol 152 (3): pages 611-618.
3. Pillay D, Branch GM, Forbes AT (2007c). Effects of Callianassa kraussi on microbial biofilms and recruitment of macrofauna: a novel hypothesis for adult-juvenile interactions. Marine Ecology Progress Series (Feature Article), vol 347: pages 1-14.
4. Pillay D, Perissonotto R (2008). The macrofauna of the St. Lucia Estuary during the 2005 drought year. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol 77: pages 35-46.
5. Pillay D, Branch GM, Forbes AT (2008). Habitat change in an estuarine embayment: anthropogenic influences and a regime shift in biotic interactions. Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol 370: pages 19 – 31.
6. Pillay D, Perissonotto R (2009). Community structure of epibenthic meiofauna in the St. Lucia Estuarine Lake (South Africa) during a drought phase. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol 81: pages 94 – 106.
7. Pillay D, Branch GM, Steyn A (2009). Complex effects of the gastropod Assiminea globulus on benthic community structure in a marine-dominated lagoon. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, vol 380: pages 47 - 52.
8. Pillay D, Branch GM, Steyn A (2010). Unexpected effects of starfish grazing on sandflat communities following an outbreak. Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol 398: pages 173 – 182.
9. Carrasco NK, Perissinotto R, Pillay D (2010). Zooplankton of the St Lucia Estuary during the 2002 - 2008 drought cycle: a comparison between open- and closed-mouth conditions. Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol 399: 157-171.
10. Perissinotto R, Pillay D, Bate G (2010). Microalgal biomass in the St. Lucia Estuary during the 2004-2007 drought period. Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol 405: 147-161.
11. Pillay D (2010). Expanding the envelope: linking invertebrate bioturbation with micro-evolutionary change. Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol 409: 301-303.
12. Pillay D, Branch GM, Griffiths C, Williams C, Prinsloo A (2010). Ecosystem change in a South African marine reserve (1960–2009): role of seagrass loss and anthropogenic disturbance. Marine Ecology Progress Series vol 415: 35–48.
13. Pillay D, Branch GM, Dawson J, Henry D (2011). Contrasting effects of ecosystem engineering by the cordgrass Spartina alterniflora and the sandprawn Callianassa kraussi in a marine dominated lagoon. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science vol 91: 169-176.
14. Pillay D, Branch GM (2011). Bioengineering effects of burrowing thalassinidean shrimps on marine soft-bottom ecosystems. Oceanography and Marine Biology: an Annual Review vol 49: 137-192.
15. Dawson J, Pillay D (2011). Influence of starfish grazing on lagoonal microalgal communities: non-competitive mechanisms for unimodal effects on diversity. Marine Ecology Progress vol 435: 75-82.
16. Pillay D, Williams C, Whitfield A (In Press). Indirect effects of bioturbation by the burrowing sandprawn Callichirus kraussi on the growth of a benthivorous fish (Liza richardsonii). Marine Ecology Progress Series