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Key Research Areas

Atmosphere & Climate

Researchers in atmospheric sciences study the global climate system with an emphasis on the physical, dynamic, and chemical interactions of the air, sea, land, ice, and biosphere. Researchers at Ma-Re use observational and theoretical studies of past, present and future climates, the interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and biosphere to improve our understanding of climate systems and its drivers and determinants.

Researchers involved in this area are:
Prof Chris Reason
Prof Bruce Hewitson
Prof George Philander
Prof Frank Shillington
Dr Mathieu Rouault

Coastal Zone Management

South Africa’s coastal waters and lands provide a vast array of goods and services to many different user groups including coastal communities, many of whom derive a livelihood from the coast and its resources. Research is being conducted on integrated coastal and small scale fisheries management in an effort to develop strategies for the co-management of coastal and fisheries resources.

Researchers involved in this area are:
A/Prof Merle Sowman
Dr Maria Hauck
A/Prof Astrid Jarre

Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries, Fisheries Research and more

Researchers have been collaborating with a host of other institutions (national and international) and other department to generate and integrate ecological models in an attempt to improve our understanding of marine ecosystems.  Furthermore, researchers have been engaged in utilising an ecosystem approach to fisheries management integrating three major components i.e. ecological, human and institutional into marine resource management.

Researchers involved in this area are:
A/Prof Astrid Jarre
A/Prof Coleen Moloney
Emeritus Prof John Field
Prof Doug Butterworth
Dr Lynne Shannon
A/Prof Colin Attwood
Dr Laura Blamey

Historical Studies

Historical studies at the Ma-Re Institute comprise of researchers looking at a relatively new field known as environmental history particularly focusing on historical reform and local fisher knowledge of the South African fisheries.

Researchers involved in this area are:
A/Prof Lance van Sittert
A/Prof Astrid Jarre
Prof Les Underhill
Prof Charles Griffiths
A/Prof Colin Attwood
Dr Laura Blamey

Marine and Environmental Law and Policy

Researchers conduct research in the fields of the international law of the sea and the law relating to biodiversity conservation, coastal zone management, land use, water resources, fisheries management, mineral development, energy production, climate change and pollution control.

Researchers involved in this area are:
Prof Jan Glazeskwi
A/Prof Merle Sowman
Dr Maria Hauck
Emeritus Prof George Branch
Emeritus Prof Derry Devine

Marine Biodiversity, Biology and Conservation

The oceans that surround South Africa host an amazing spectrum of life.  Marine biodiversity makes up a large portion of the Earths overall biodiversity and is seen to be the life-support system of ecosystems.

Researchers involved in this area are:
Prof Charles Griffiths
Prof John Bolton
A/Prof Colin Attwood
Dr Deena Pillay
Emeritus Prof George Branch
Prof Les Underhill
A/Prof Peter Ryan
Prof Phil Hockey

Marine Biogeochemistry

Observational and theoretical studies of the carbon, nitrogen and other cycles using instruments that range from ships to satellites.

Researchers involved in this area are:
A/Prof Michael Lucas
Dr Howard Waldron

Marine Biotechnology

Research focuses on two commercially important marine organisms (abalone and seaweed). Probiotics are being developed to increase the growth rate and disease resistance of the South African abalone. Microarrays are being employed to characterize genes involved in the disease response of abalone and the red seaweed.

Researchers involved in this area are:

Prof Vernon Coyne

Marine Engineering

Researchers involved in this area are:
Prof Michael Inggs 
Prof Franz-Josef Kahlen

Marine Geosciences

The main focus of research in this area has been in the geochemistry of marine sediments. Sediments from the Benguela upwelling system off the southwest of South Africa, the Southern oceans and the Langebaan lagoon are being studied to improve our understanding of climate systems (looking to the past to try to understand the future) as well as locating phosphate deposits and using sedimentology to infer context for diamond deposits.

Researchers involved in this area are:
A/Prof John Compton
Prof John Rogers

Marine Resource Economics

Research is being carried on environmental policy development and implementation in order to attain sustainable development and poverty reduction. One particular avenue has been the looking at the inequality in the context of fishing rights and poaching behaviour of nine fishing communities along the West Coast of South Africa.

Researchers involved in this area are:
Dr Martine Visser
A/Prof Astrid Jarre
Prof Tony Lieman
A/Prof Eric Wood

Physical and Operational Oceanography and Remote Sensing

Data are collected from the Benguela and Agulhas systems and the Southern ocean and then modelled to get a better understanding of the ocean, the atmosphere and their interactions, for the purpose of studying climates and to support of oceanic and atmospheric field programmes.  Furthermore these data are used for the production of operational products (especially for coastal zones) that require the development of data assimilation procedures and to link the oceanography and the biology.

Researchers involved in this area are:
Prof Frank Shillington
Prof Johann Lutjeharms
Dr Isabelle Ansorge
Dr Raymond Roman
Mr Christo Whittle

Social Anthropology

An interdisciplinary programme is being conducted by Ma-Re researchers looking at the relationship between traditional knowledge and the natural sciences focusing on the knowledge systems underlying fisheries management, perspectives from fisheries sociology, anthropology and economics.

Researchers involved in this area are:
Dr Lesley Green
A/Prof Astrid Jarre
Dr Frank Matose
Dr Laure Blamey