Bioregions as biodiversity surrogates in marine conservation planning

Principal Investigator: Jean Harris

This study investigates the validity and robustness of habitat surrogacy approaches for biodiversity pattern mapping for offshore environments on the east coast of South Africa. Six offshore bioregions have been defined as a basis for conservation planning analysis using remote sensing techniques and existing data on benthic community structure. This study aims to sample within each of these bioregions to measure in situ biological and physical parameters simultaneously with the collection of remote sensing data. The coupling between benthic communities and overlaying water-column will also be examined. This will provide new insights into categorisation of offshore biodiversity and refinement of offshore planning tools, required for priority areas for conservation.

During the fieldwork component of this study a large emphasis was placed on student and intern field training, where 15 students and interns from UKZN, ORI and Ezemvelo spent time at sea with the team.


Jean Harris (EKZN Wildlife)
Kerry Sink (SANBI)
Lara Atkinson (SAEON Egagasini)           
Shael Harris
Fiona Mackay (ORI)
AJ Smit (UKZN)
Collin Atwood (UCT)
Ryan Palmer (SAIAB)
Mathieu Rouget (UKZN)


Tamsyn Livingston (PhD) UKZN
Jennifer Olbers (PhD) UCT
Skhumbuzo Maduna (MSc) UKZN


 MSc Student Opportunity