Research in the CMR's three broad Research Themes is undertaken by numerous individual researchers, students and research groups that generally contributes to decision support to coastal and marine managers. These Research Themes are not rigid compartments and some projects may span more than one Theme. The focus of the CMR resides within the University's Ocean and Coastal Sciences Theme, and contributes to the developing Ocean Sciences Strategy.



Projects on global change are aimed at monitoring and understanding natural and anthropogenic change and how this impacts coastal and marine systems and human communities dependent on them. It includes monitoring climate change through: 

  • physical and biological processes, its drivers and implications;
  • pollution monitoring;
  • biodiversity loss;
  • building socio-ecological resilience in light of global changes;
  • understanding risks and vulnerabilities due to environmental change.

Further specific areas of research activity in the CMR under this theme include: the UK-SA Bilateral Research Chain in Ocean Science and Marine Food Security; long-term observations in coastal and offshore areas of sea-level rise, ocean acidification and harmful algae blooms; pollution monitoring of PCBs, metals, etc; coastal vulnerability; responses of top predators to change; long-term trends in turtle nesting success;  fresh water requirements over river and estuary systems; river and wetland management; and multi-scale adaptations to climate change.





Projects on living resources and marine food security are focused on studying and developing coastal and marine living resources which are, or can be, utilised as food sources, with the emphasis on sustainability.  This CMR Research Theme contributes to the University's institutional Health and Sustainable Livelihoods research theme.

     It includes:

  • sustainable utilisation of living resources;
  • fisheries and aquaculture;
  • resource economics;
  • legislation and policy;
  • poverty alleviation;
  • sustainable development; 
  • governance;
  • common property resource management;
  • adaptive management.


Some specific areas of research activity under this theme include: the UK-SA Bilateral Research Chair in Ocean Science and Marine Food Security; abalone seeding project; fish studies; line and pelagic fish biology; mangroves; rocky shore invertebrates; studies of contamination; and other work by the Sustainability Research Unit.



Projects on Biodiversity, Conservation and Management broadly relate to understanding, protecting and managing coastal and marine ecosystems, both for conservation and for sustainable human useIt includes:

  • conserving environments, ecosystem processes and biodiversity;
  • marine spatial planning;
  • sustainable tourism;
  • legislation and policy;
  • coastal engineering;
  • sand mining and use of other non-living resources and their economic implications;
  • sustainable livelihoods.


Some specific areas of activity under this theme include: the SARChI Shallow Water Ecosystems; SARChI Marine Spatial Planning; Marine Apex Predator Research Unit (MAPRU); sandy beach and turtle group; estuaries group; underwater cultural heritage; estuarine, beach and rocky shore biodiversity; coastal dune flora; coastal fish ecology; coastal management strategies.