Research is the primary activity of the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research, and it forms the core on which other activities are based. Members address both fundamental and applied problems through their research under three broad themes that are not necessarily mutually exclusive: Global Change; Living Resources and Marine Food Security; Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. Members of the Institute also provide research-based training through masters and doctoral programs based in participating academic departments. The Institute particularly encourages research and student programs that are interdisciplinary. Prospective students are welcome to contact relevant staff members about potential projects. Research and student training is conducted in smaller research groups, or under one of five research chairs. Projects are generally field based, and depend heavily on field equipment. 


The CMR Audio Project endeavours to introduce CMR members, the University community, national and international stakeholders, and the public to key players of the CMR and various aspects of CMR research, through various recordings of interviews. You can listen to all the interviews on our Youtube channel CMR_MandelaUni.


The Marine Spatial Management and Governance (MARISMA) of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) – Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) and Marine Spatial Planning are projects administered by the CMR. These projects provide support for an extended period to the MARISMA Programme. They support the BCC (Benguela Current Convention) and key stakeholders in the marine management sector to reach the objectives of the BCC regarding enhanced sustainable management and governance of the BCLME's marine biodiversity and natural resources. The main focus is capacity development at various levels, to implement and institutionalise MSP and to identify and describe the BCLMEs. Maps of Critical Biodiversity Areas and Ecological Support Areas (CBA Maps) have been used successfully to inform land-use planning and land-based protected area expansion in South Africa for many years, and have been and continue to be one of the key tools for protecting terrestrial and inland water biodiversity, and supporting sustainable development. Visit the EBSA Portal for more information.



The Algoa Bay project was established in 2017 at Nelson Mandela University within the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research (CMR) as a platform to support multidisciplinary research linked to ocean conservation and sustainable use. 

The Algoa Bay Project currently supports six multidisciplinary projects with both national and international collaborators. These projects use Algoa Bay as their area of focus, using stakeholder driven research linked to Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), ocean governance, climate change response, ocean management, valuation of the ocean (ocean accounting) and systems dynamics modeling.

  1. The Community of Practice: Towards a Marine Spatial Plan for Algoa Bay, funded by the NRF consists of two phases. Phase 1 aims to collect data on and model the biophysical and governance systems in Algoa Bay. Phase 2 aims to address the socio-economic system and tie all three systems together in an overall model that can inform marine spatial planning decisions in the Bay.

  2. One Ocean Hub project is an independent programme for collaborative research for development, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The Hub is a community of scholars from 22 leading international Universities and Research Centres from the UK, South Africa, Ghana, Namibia, Kenya, the South Pacific and the Caribbean and aims to transform our response to the urgent challenges facing our ocean.

  3. Marine Research and Innovation for a Sustainable management of Coasts and Oceans (MARISCO). Working with four partners from four continents, MARISCO will globally address the multilayered interactions between biodiversity change and Natures Contribution to People. MARISCO combines interdisciplinary approaches to data synthesis in globally distributed, well-monitored regions, with modelling of positive and negative feedback mechanisms between different aspects of biodiversity and NCP.

  4. A new Community of Practice – Ocean Accounts Framework project has started this year (2020) and is funded by the NRF. This project aims to assess the applicability of the ocean-accounts framework (OAF) in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) as a central component of a wider strategy to ensure that ocean governance contributes optimally to the sustainable goals of South Africa.

  5. Cities & Climate Change in Coastal Western Indian Ocean (CICLICO) aims to work with stakeholders working with area-based management tools (ABMs) such as Integrated Coastal Management, Marine Protected Areas and Marine Spatial Planning on a daily basis. The aim is to investigate how these different instruments work together in order to identify gaps and barriers that can be addressed by climate services.

  6. Marine Spatial Planning Strategy for the Western Indian Ocean Region (MSP Strategy- WIO).

    Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) processes can provide useful frameworks to assist planning and management of different activities in coastal and marine areas. The countries of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region have developed and adopted MSP approaches for different purposes and therefore the level of implementation also varies .