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SAMSS Vision 2022: Southern African Marine Science Symposium

Marine Science is at a crossroads. Recent technological advances are driving new fields of biological endeavour with the aim of addressing current environmental and societal needs. Funding models are promoting transdisciplinary research and multi-institutional programmes that not only tackle ongoing global change issues, but have tangible societal benefits as well.

At the same time, the skills and lessons of the past remain pertinent. Studies of biodiversity and evolved traits inform of species resilience and probable trajectories in an age of global change, emphasizing the lasting truth of Dobzhansky’s famous dictum – that nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution. Ancient coastlines and climate records can shed light on past conditions and changing biological assemblages. Studies in basic marine ecology, chemistry, oceanography and organismal biology build our understanding of the important drivers of marine systems and inform our decisions and actions. And while funding for pure or basic science is under pressure, it may be the foundation for the next scientific revolution, and helps us retain the sense of wonder that ensures continued engagement with the marine world.

This conference therefore aims to explore the links, continuity and changes in marine science of the past and present, with emphasis on how the science being done today will determine the ‘future pasts’ of our marine ecosystems and the people who depend on them.

The conference is formally hosted by UKZN and the KZN Sharks Board, on behalf of SANCOR (South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research)


Themes and Sessions »

Theme 1: 2020 vision: strategies for adaptive management


  • Fish and fisheries: linking science and society
  • Adaptive conservation in a dynamic environment
  • Aquaculture for the future


Theme 2: Novel insights from ecology and biology


  • Species and their populations
  • Communities and ecosystems
  • Biodiversity, discovery and prediction
  • Taxonomy and systematics


Theme 3: Ecosystem functions and services


  • Trophic studies
  • Biogeochemical processes
  • Ecosystem resilience and sustainability


Theme 4: Global change: from prediction to action and adaptation


  • Sentinel species and global change
  • Sea level rise interdisciplinary research
  • Evolution, ecosystems and global change
  • Transitional ecosystems under global change
  • Emergent and persistent threats to marine ecosystems
  • Advances and tools for marine conservation


Theme 5: Lessons from the past:


  • Geology, paleo-environments
  • Oceanographic variability over time


Theme 6: Changing research fields and technology


  • Big data and modelling
  • Robotics, telemetry, ROVs etc.
  • Molecular techniques
  • Research for climate action 


Theme 7: People and the marine environment


  • Citizen science
  • Livelihoods


Theme 8: Environmental-Economic Accounting


  • Environmental Accounting for Sustainable Development


Theme 9: Open sessions

This is for delegates who are not sure with which theme or session above their submission best aligns.

  Plenary Speakers »

Anne Cohen of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

TITLE:  To be confirmed


Astrid Jarre from UCT

Marine social-ecological systems research in support of management: case studies illustrating progress made.

Astrid Jarre

With a professional background in marine systems ecology, Astrid has been specialising on an ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAF) since the late 1980s. Her research emphasis has been on exploited marine systems experiencing pronounced environmental signals, and in developing societies. Her research interests include the development of ecosystem indicators for fisheries management, systems modelling, modelling with stakeholders and developing inter- and transdisciplinary research methodology. She has senior experience in developing scientific advice for management of human activities in the ocean. Holding the South African Research Chair in Marine Ecology and Fisheries, Astrid's current research focuses on developing methodology for structured decision making with regards to human activities in marine social-ecological systems under global change, notably in the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem.

Lynnath Beckley from Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia

Marine science in space and time: a southern hemisphere perspective.

Lynnath Beckley

Lynnath Beckley is the Professor of Marine Science at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. She received a PhD from the University of Cape Town and was the principal scientist at the Oceanographic Research Institute in Durban before relocating to the eastern shores of the Indian Ocean. Her diverse research interests range from biological oceanography of the Agulhas and Leeuwin Currents to mapping human use for marine conservation planning of the remote Ningaloo and Kimberley coasts of NW Australia. The second International Indian Ocean Expedition is her current focus and she recently led a major research voyage with the RV Investigator to re-examine the oceanic ecosystem along the 110°E meridian (last studied in the 1960s). She serves on several national and international science committees and is a past-President of the Australian Marine Sciences Association.


  Important Dates »

Final date to request Special Sessions (a topic not yet listed among the themes above): To be confirmed
Workshops / Courses (applications to host a workshop to be sent to: 31 January 2022
Abstract submission opens: 10 November 2021
Abstract submission due: 31 January 2022
Acceptance notification: To be confirmed
Registration opens: To be confirmed
Early Bird registrations close: To be confirmed
Workshops / Courses: 20 - 24 June 2022
Conference: 20 - 24 June 2022

  Abstract submission »

Abstract specifications »

  • Title (not more than 15 words)
  • Author names & Affiliations
  • Indicate presenter & whether student/post-doc OR NOT student/post-doc
  • Theme and session of the submission
  • Preference for oral / poster (No guarantee that preferred format will be awarded)
  • Body of Abstract (not more than 250 words)
  • NOTE: Student abstracts to be checked by supervisors before submission.


 The deadline to submit abstracts is Monday 31 January 2022.

 Your abstract must be converted to PDF format before submission. MS Word or similar packages allow documents to be saved as an Adobe PDF.


Instructions for the OpenConf Abstract Submission System »

1. Select 'Make Submission

  • Submission Title (not more than 15 words)
  • Author names & affiliations
  • Indicate contact author & presenter
  • Indicate whether you are a student/post-doc
  • Preference for oral or poster
  • Choose your theme & session from the TOPIC Categories
  • Upload your PDF abstract file (not more than 250 words

After submitting you will be redirected to a confirmation page that displays your Paper Submission ID. You will also receive a confirmation email with this information. You will require this if you need to edit your submission and PDF abstract at a later stage.


 These instructions are also shown on the OpenConf home page.


OpenConf abstract submission system


  Registration »

  Student Professional *
Early registration (until 15 May 2022) R2200 R3500
Late registration (after 15 May 2022) R3000 R4200
Conference dinner R500 R500 

*These fees include 3 year SANCOR membership.

  Accommodation »



Elangeni Hotel


Hilton Hotel

Garden Court

Garden Court Hotel


Onomo Hotel



Elangeni Hotel, Durban

Ice breaker:

Monday evening 6 July

Venue: Elangeni Hotel


Parking is available on site at no additional cost on a first come first served basis.


Directions »

Google map


Airport Transfer Options:




WIFI Login

Details will be supplied on site. Please collect from the registration desk.




Social Events

Welcome Cocktail


Conference Dinner


Audio Visual Presentations

Presentations should be handed to the Audio-Visual staff on a memory stick/flash drive in the meeting room, during the break prior to your talk. Please inform the technician in the venue if your presentation has sound or video clips.



There is security at the hotel, but we would like to remind you to please be vigilant and keep all your valuables with you at all times.


Lalela Ulwandle

Lalela uLwandle (Listen to the Sea)

This play will be performed twice during the conference and each performance will be followed by a moderated discussion.


Lalela uLwandle is an interactive immersive theatre and public storytelling experience, led by Empatheatre and researchers from the One Ocean Hub. The project surfaces the stories of living with the ocean that are seldom heard in the public domain. Drawing from seven months of collaborative action research into the lives of different KZN citizens along our coast, including marine educators, marine scientists, fisherfolk, sangomas and zionists. This project brings to the surface the lived realities of people involved directly and indirectly with the ocean, as well as creating a new social platform that makes public dialogue possible regarding our collective pressing concerns regarding our ocean's health and governance.


Research team: Dr. Dylan McGarry and Taryn Pereira (Rhodes University), Dr. Kira Erwin (Durban University of Technology), Dr. Nomkhosi Gama (University of Cape Town), Neil Coppen (Empatheatre), Mpume Mthombeni (Empatheatre)

Public Lecture by George Branch

Seafood: from gastronomy to ecosystem effects and management issues


George Branch

With a passion for sea life, George Branch describes himself as a one-time choral singer, photographer, scuba-diver, tennis player of ill repute and beach bum par excellence. He and his wife Margo have devoted a lifetime to studying and communicating the excitement of marine science to both the public and to generations of students at the University of Cape Town, and have published over 260 scientific articles and 12 books. Their award-winning books ‘Two Oceans – a guide to Marine Life of southern Africa’, and ‘Living Shores of southern Africa’ are standard references on marine life. George has been awarded the Gold Medal of the Zoological Society, the Gilchrist Gold Medal, the International Temperate Reef lifetime Award and a ‘Distinguished Teachers Award at the University of Cape Town, where he was privileged to work with a wonderful group of postgraduate students. He and his wife have spent their ‘retirement’ years cherishing grandparental joys, and rewriting the book ‘Living Shores’, to update it and convey the thrills of discovery that have taken place in the 35 years since they first wrote that book.


Books for sale at public lecture

Living Shores

Living Shores: normal price R490, discounted price R370
Two Oceans:    normal price R450, discounted price R350

  Organisers & Partners »

UKZN logo



Local Organising Committee »

Prof Ursula Scharler (Conference Chair) UKZN
Dr David Glassom UKZN
Dr Nicola Carrasco UKZN
Dr Tshoanelo Miya UKZN
Dr Angus MacDonald UKZN
Dr Charles Von der Meden UKZN
Mr Gan Moodley UKZN
Dr Matt Dicken KZN Sharks Board

SAMSS 2022 Scientific Committee »

Janine Adams NMU
Callum Anderson NMU
Isabelle Ansorge UCT
Tony Booth RU
Hayley Cawthra NMU
Hafizah Chenia UKZN
Rosie Dorrington RU
Nicolette Forbes MER
William Froneman RU
Nikki James SAIAB
Alison Kock SAN PARKS
Stephen Lamberth DAFF
Tarron Lamont DEA
Bruce Mann ORI
Ntuthuko Masikane UZ
Kolobe Mmonwa KZNSB
Ronel Nel NMU
Brent Newman CSIR
Lorien Pichegru UCT
Deena Pillay UCT
Warren Potts RU
Justin Pringle UKZN
Anusha Rajkaran UWC
Tammy Robinson-Smythe SU
Toufiek Samaai DEA
Albertus J. Smit UWC
Merle Sowman UCT
Susan Taljaard CSIR
Lara Van Niekerk CSIR
Errol Wiles SAIAB
Sabine Winter UKZN

  Funders & Sponsors »


UKZN logo





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