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SAMSS Vision 2022: Southern African Marine Science Symposium

20 – 24 June 2022

Venue: Elangeni Hotel, Durban

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: 2022 vision: strategies for adaptive management


  • Fish and fisheries: linlinlinlinking 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 »

Astrid Jarre

TITLE:  A voyage into inter- and transdisciplinary fisheries research

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.

Pierre Pistorius

TITLE:  Seabirds and marine mammals as sentinels of global change

Pierre Pistorius

Integrating the fields of population and behavioural ecology with climate change science and resource management, Pierre’s research focuses largely on marine top predators such as seabirds, seals and dolphins, and ecosystem processes involving these animals. Much of his research involves the use of marine predators as ecological indicators as well as their conservation management, while harnessing rapid technological advances in the field of biologging science. Following a PhD on the population ecology of Southern elephant seals at Marion Island completed in 2001, he worked in Norway, the Seychelles (where he was based on Aldabra Atoll for two years) and the Falkland Islands before joining Nelson Mandela University in 2009 where he has been heading the Marine Apex Predator Research Unit (MAPRU; ). Pierre has authored on some 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers involving marine predators, many involving global multi-disciplinary initiatives, and will share some insights into marine predators in the face of global change and their potential role in gauging ecosystem changes.

Plenary Speakers – Young Emerging Scientists »

Dr Moagabo Ragoasha

PRELIMINARY TITLE:  When the mountains meet the two oceans

Moagabo Ragoasha

After completing her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Ocean and Atmosphere Science, she went on to earn her Honours and Masters in Ocean and Atmosphere Science (UCT). Her PhD in physical oceanography was co-badged between the University of Cape Town and The University of Western Brittany (Université de Bretagne Occidentale, UBO), this resulted in Dr Ragoasha spending 50% of her study years working at UBO under the mentorship of France's top ocean modellers. After her PhD, she did one year of postdoctoral research at UCT and the SAEON Egagasini Node before being appointed lecturer in the Department of Oceanography. Dr Ragoasha has been recognized by the 2020 Mail & Guardian as a Top 200 Young South African in the Science and Technology category. She is currently an nGAP lecturer at the Department of Oceanography. She is passionate about student development and mentoring; her motto is “no student should be left behind”.

Dr Mhlangabezi Mdutyana

TITLE:  Marine Biogeochemistry: an unconventional journey of a first-generation graduate

Mhlangabezi Mdutyana

Mhlangabezi is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cape Town with a PhD in Marine Biogeochemistry. Mhlangabezi’s research examines nitrogen cycling in the upper surface layer of the Southern Ocean, particularly the processes involved during nitrogen production and consumption. His work evaluates the role of seasonality during nitrogen cycling and with a keen interest on the importance of kinetic parameters, such as the maximum rates of nitrogen uptake and nitrification, and half saturation constants in the Indian and Atlantic sectors of the Southern Ocean. Mhlangabezi is also interested in the metagenomics of the archaeal and bacterial organisms involved in the nitrogen oxidation processes in the Southern Ocean, including the role played by trace metals (e.g., dissolved iron) during ammonium and nitrite oxidation processes.


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.

** The play is limited to 70 attendees and entrance will be permitted on a first come, first served basis. 

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)

Erwan Sola art exhibition at SAMSS 2022

Fishfingers and Salad

Imagine yourself in 2050, when plastic has outnumbered fish in the sea. Oceans are depleted from unsustainable use of marine resources. Overfishing has had the last word. Welcome to Fishbone & Chips and enjoy our selection of freshly overfished delights of the sea. This series is an invitation to reflect and meditate on our consumption of seafood and the state of world fisheries. It is an invitation, not to give-up on delights of the sea, but to think in more sustainable ways and use our power of aware consumers to change world markets.

This is how artist and biologist Erwan Sola introduces his collection of paintings in the series titled ‘Fishbone and chips’. Of himself, Erwan says “I am first of all a dreamer. Also, a marine biologist, a scuba-diver, an optimist. I love the Ocean, nature and wildlife. I grew up in Mozambique, by the coast of the Indian Ocean. Besides my work as a coral reef researcher, I try to spend as much time having fun with friends and family, skating, kayaking, sailing, diving and traveling the world”.

Guest Lecture By Prof. Peter Ryan

Peter Ryan bottling

Peter Ryan is the Director of the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town. He studied the impacts of plastic ingestion on seabirds for his MSc degree in the 1980s. At this time, he and Coleen Moloney started monitoring the amounts of plastic and other litter on South African beaches, and they have continued to track how litter loads have changed through 5-yearly surveys. Although Peter works mainly on seabirds, and on the conservation of their breeding islands, he continues to study the sources and dynamics of plastics in marine systems, with a view to reducing amounts of plastic pollution. He serves on several international working groups, including the UN’s Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), and has published over 70 papers on marine plastics.

  Important Dates »

Special Session applications to be submitted to: : 06 February 2022
Workshops / Courses (applications to host a workshop to be sent to: :
Download application form here
15 February 2022
Abstract submission opens: 10 November 2021
Abstract submission due: 15 February 2022
Acceptance notification: 5 April 2022
Registration opens: 20 April 2022
Early Bird registrations close: 31 May 2022
Registrations close: 10 June 2022
Last date for cancellations: **
** Any cancellations (registration and/or accommodation) need to be communicated by 10 June 2022
or you (or your institution) will be liable for the full amount invoiced.
Cancellation email to be sent to
10 June 2022
Workshops / Courses: 20 - 24 June 2022
Conference: 20 - 24 June 2022

  Presentations »

 Abstract submission was closed on 15 February 2022.

One can still edit certain submission details, view your file or check your status here »

OpenConf abstract submission system

Oral presentation guidelines »

General Information and Format

Sessions are comprised of individual paper presentations that are organized into topic areas by the conference program committee. Papers in the session are presented sequentially in 15-minute presentation blocks, with 3-minutes reserved for questions.

Visual Aids

All presentation session rooms are equipped with a laptop, screens and data projectors.


All presentations must be in Microsoft PowerPoint format (.pptx). Please use Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 or later.
Users of operating systems other than Windows please use PDF format.
All presentations must be uploaded the day before the session. Details will be communicated closer to the time.

At the Session

  • Please arrive at the session room at least 15 minutes before the start of the session;
  • Check the room where the session will be held and familiarise yourself with the space and equipment;
  • A presentation timer will be available in the room. The presenter is responsible for delivering the presentation within the specified time. The session chair/co-chairs have received instructions to stop the speakers if they run over their time.


Poster presentation guidelines »

Posters should be size A1 or A0. You are responsible for set-up and take down of your own poster. Posters must be mounted by the author(s) and may not be mailed in advance. Unclaimed posters are not the responsibility of the conference organizers, planner, or conference centre staff and will be disposed following the conference. You will be notified of the set up and tear down times closer to the conference. The materials for set up of the posters will be provided.

  Registration »

  Student Professional *
Early registration (until 31 May 2022) R2500 R3750
Late registration (after 31 May 2022) R3000 R4300
Conference dinner R500 R500 

*These fees include 3 year SANCOR membership.

*Should you wish to make a group booking, or have specific invoicing requirements for your organisation/institution please email the SAMSS registration team on with your request and a team member will be happy to assist you.


Event T-shirts »


  Accommodation »


Southern Sun Elangeni Maharani

The Southern Sun Elangeni Maharani

Garden Court Marine Parade

Garden Court Marine Parade

Onomo Hotel

The Onomo Hotel

The Edward

The Edward Hotel



  Venue & Info »

Elangeni and Maharani Hotel, Durban

Ocean Breeze




More info will be displayed here shortly

Map & directions 


 Share this Google map with directions

Adherence to COVID protocols

The conference venue adheres to current COVID regulations of 50% occupancy and venue access will be restricted to adhere to this rule. Sanitiser will be available at the entrance to each room. The number of people that each room can accommodate will be displayed and the number of chairs limited accordingly. Plenaries will also be streamed to an alternate venue to accommodate social distancing.

Masks are to be worn throughout the duration of the conference and adequate sanitation stations will be provided at all venues. 

Delegates will be required to sign an indemnity form at registration, stating that they accept the rules, and that they will not attempt to enter the venue if they have tested covid positive, or show symptoms, vaccinated or not.

  Organisers & Partners »

UKZN logo

KZN Sharks Board 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
Shaun Deyzel SAEON
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
Niall Vine UFH
Errol Wiles SAIAB
Sabine Winter UKZN

  Funders & Sponsors »


UKZN logo KZN Sharks Board logo SANCOR logo DSI logo NRF RISA logo Console Glass logo



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