The Institute for Coastal and Marine Research (CMR) is a leading ocean and coastal sciences research entity of the Nelson Mandela University, based on the Ocean Sciences Campus in Gqeberha. The CMR is a University-wide research and engagement institute directly reporting to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Internationalisation. The Institute strives for excellence in transdisciplinary research and spans across all seven Nelson Mandela University Faculties, while including members from external national and international entities. The CMR conducts cutting-edge research and builds capacity to advance our understanding of the coastal and marine environment and of its sustainable use, when serving the needs of South Africa, the African continent and beyond. This knowledge provides a basis for optimal management strategies in order to maintain biodiversity and the sustainable use of resources, and contributes to the education of the community at large in all matters pertaining to the ocean and coast.

The CMR strives for excellence in interdisciplinary research and training relating to coastal and marine environments. This will advance scientific knowledge and the Nelson Mandela University institutional research themes; provide a scientific basis for management strategies that optimise maintenance of biodiversity and sustainable use of resources; and contribute to the education of the community at large in matters pertaining to the coast and ocean.

The CMR prides itself on its diverse team of dedicated researchers, collaborators and stakeholders, its pool of expertise being the widest in the region. The Institute continually challenges itself to grow and develop its expertise to address the global issues that the ocean and coastal environment is facing.

The CMR’s activities will promote the Nelson Mandela University’s values, with emphasis on the following three:

  • Respect for the natural environment and adherence to the principle of sustainability;

  • Inclusion of staff and students from disadvantaged backgrounds to promote respect for diversity; and

  • Emphasis on excellence in all aspects of research, training and outreach.

The CMR has a long history of ocean and coastal marine research and engagement at the Nelson Mandela University. It comprises a multi-disciplinary collection of staff and postgraduate students across all seven faculties within the University, additionally including research associates, collaborators from external research entities, and local and international collaborators.

Members form several research groups and units that span a variety of coastal and marine taxa, consider ecological/physical processes, and tackle management issues. Among our members are five South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) holders in Shallow Water Ecosystems, Law of the Sea and Development in Africa, Marine Spatial Planning, Ocean Cultures and Heritage and the UK-SA Bilateral Research Chair in Ocean Science and Marine Food Security.       



The core activities of the members are fundamental and applied research, research-based training of postgraduate students in masters and doctoral programmes, and consulting.

Most of the work undertaken follows one (or more) of three of the Institute's research themes: Global Change; Living Resources and Food Security; and Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. Many of these activities are supported by the Research Diving Unit, that facilitates underwater research and provides training for commercial divers.