Although research is focused under the three Research Themes, facilitating interdisciplinary research, members are arranged into various research groups and units.



Sandy Beaches


Research Diving Unit

The ecology of estuaries, mangroves and salt marshes, conservation and management of ecosystems, water and estuarine resources, and pollution.

Contact: Prof Janine Adams

Study of surf diatoms and sandy beach phytoplankton, beach macrofauna, dune and groundwater dynamics, integrated conservation planning for coasts.

Contact: Prof Eileen Campbell

Research on birds, intertidal biota, phytoplankton and physico-chemical conditions of the islands is conducted locally, and on the sub-Antarctic islands.

Contact: Dr Paul-Pierre Steyn

Commercial diving training school. Also, the dive team supports all underwater research in the Institute, and undertakes contracted dive work.

Contact: Mr Anton Cloete

Marine Apex Predators Research Unit

Fish Ecology


SRChI Identities and Social Cohesion

Studies on all top predators, including responses to environmental change and anthropogenic disturbances such as noise, boat activity and pollution.

Contact: Dr Pierre Pistorius
Website and Facebook

Research on the fish ecology, particularly of juvenile fish and larvae. Studies also include investigating pollution in fish and related food webs, including birds, crustaceans, sediments.

Contact: Prof Nadine Strydom

Breeding biology, ecology, spatial distribution, conservation planning, population genetics and dynamics of loggerheads, leatherbacks, and juvenile green turtles and hawksbills.

Contact: Prof Ronel Nel

Interrelations between art forms, identities, knowledge production and social cohesion.


Contact: Prof Andrea Hurst

Agulhas Research

Resource Utilisation and Management

Ocean Current Energy

Coastal Palaeoecology

Understanding large marine ecosystems of the Agulhas Current region of the western Indian Ocean and coastal waters, with focus on Algoa Bay, Agulhas bank, and unique features (seamounts,eddies).

Contact: Dr Tommy Bornman

Research covers phytoplankton of the mariculture areas in the bay, biology of perlemoen and agar-producing Gelidium pristoides as well as other useful seaweeds.

Contact: Dr Derek du Preez

Research into designs that could be implemented to harness ocean current energy in an ecologically sustainable manner (based in Mechanical Engineering with links to Agulhas Research Group).

Contact: Dr Russell Phillips

How terrestrial palaeoecology was affected by shifting coastlines, including terrestrial climate and vegetation as well as searching for signatures of change linked to the exposure of the Agulhas plain.

Contact: Dr Alastair Potts

SARChI Chair: Shallow Water Ecosystems

SARChI Chair: Marine Spatial Planning

SARChI Chair: Law of the Sea and Development in Africa

SARChI Chair: Food Security (Oceanography)

Integrated ecosystem functioning of estuarine and coastal systems, specifically: invertebrate diversity; food webs and benthic-pelagic coupling; alien invasive species; eutrophication; and biological-physical-chemical interactions. [Read more]

Contact: Prof Renzo Perissinotto

Compilation, creation and analysis of spatial biodiversity, habitat and process data, ecosystem services and ecological infrastructure, and other ancilliary information to contribute to marine spatial planning. [Read more]

Contact: Prof Mandy Lombard


Research in the Faculty of Law, considering: state ocean jurisdiction, the law of the sea in Africa, transnational organised fisheries crime, port law and marine tourism law. [Read more]

Contact: Prof Patrick Vrancken


Recently appointed Chair. More information to follow soon. [Read more]

Contact: Prof Mike Roberts