Bentho pelagic mechanisms of inshore coastal waters

Principal Investigator: Francesca Porri

The aim of this study is to understand the inshore dynamics of invertebrate larvae and their relationship with small-scale oceanographic features in the region between Algoa Bay and St Francis Bay on the eastern Agulhas Bank. Both local and regional processes influence the near-shore (i.e. within 10km of the coast) waters of the eastern Agulhas Bank. It is thought that benthic invertebrate larvae need to remain within a few kilometres of the coastline to successfully settle. Processes that either retain larvae within the settling zone or export them from the system have not been clearly defined. This project aims to address some fundamental questions through a multidisciplinary approach, specifically coupling the expertise of coastal biologists and physical oceanographers. The key question to be answered is: What is the influence of micro (order meters) to meso (order kilometres) scale processes on the retention and dispersal of larvae within and outside bays along the eastern Agulhas Bank?


  • Porri F, Jackson JM, von der Meden CEO, Weidberg N, McQuaid CD (2014) The effect of mesoscale oceanographic features on the distribution of mussel larvae along the south coast of South Africa. Journal of Marine Systems. In Press

Conferences presentations:

  • Francesca Porri, 10th ITRS 12-17 January 2014, Perth. Oral Presentation: "Coastal processes, turbulence and behaviour: a 24-hour integration of larval distribution"
  • Christopher McQuaid,10th ITRS 12-17 January 2014, Perth. Oral Presentation: "Simple patterns can emerge from complex interactions: habitat segregation between indigenous and invasive mussels"
  • Nicolas Weidberg, 10th ITRS 12-17 January 2014, Perth. Poster Presentation: "Mechanisms of nearshore retention and offshore exportation of mussel larvae over the Agulhas Bank, South Africa"




Dr. Francesca Porri (SAIAB)
Prof. Christopher McQuaid (Rhodes University)
Dr. Wayne Goschen (SAEON Egagasini Node)
Dr. Jennifer Jackson (University of Washington)
Dr. Nicolas Weidberg (SAIAB/Rhodes University)


Shana Mian (MSc) Rhodes University
Olwethu Duna (MSc) Rhodes University
Judge Inglis (BSc 3rd year) Rhodes University