African Network for
Deep-water Researchers

Africa is a continent rich in marine biodiversity and resources, with great potential to support a thriving and equitable economy through sustainable development. Deep-water industries like fisheries or oil and gas, as well as emerging seabed extractive activities and marine bioprospecting, are key Blue Economy sectors dependent on healthy and diverse ecosystems. Sustainable development of these sectors requires a deep understanding of natural ecosystems so that economic activities can be responsibly managed and vital services provided by our oceans can be protected.

Africa has been identified as lacking capacity for deep-sea and offshore research, a critical limitation in the management of key deep-water Blue Economy sectors. Building on and strengthening Africa’s capacity to undertake research and generate knowledge of our important deep-water ecosystems is thus crucial to support the continent’s sustainable development objectives. In this context, the African Network of Deep-water Researchers was conceived through the Challenger 150 Programme.

Lace corals off South Africa's east coast (credit: ACEP Deep Forests)
Sinothando Shibe (credit: ACEP Deep Forests)

Current Activity: The network is still in a development phase and we thank you for your patience during this time. We are currently running a collaborative workshop series to understand challenges and barriers for deep-water research in Africa and identify practical actions to overcome these and advance the field. Kindly note that registration for the workshop series is now closed. Please keep an eye on the Challenger 150 website and this webpage for publication of the final report in late 2023/early 2024. If you have already registered to participate in the workshops you will be notified when the report is published.

Membership: The network currently has over 240 members from 27 African nations, representing over 140 institutions with 76% Early Career Researchers. 

What is your vision for deep-sea research in Africa?


Kirsty McQuaid

South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa

Agnes Muthumbi

University of Nairobi, Kenya

Isa Elegbede

Lagos State University, Nigeria

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