Emerging researcher Luther Adams credit: Kerry Sink
This cruise is a dedicated capacity development expedition off East London in the Amathole region of south Africa. The cruise is multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary aiming to develop the capabilities of southern African scientists to collect data in outer shelf and deep-sea habitats. The expedition is an excellent example of the teamwork needed to collectively understand, benefit from and manage South Africa’s oceans. Expedition team members span seven institutions and include experienced and emerging scientists, technicians and students from seven institutes and four provinces. There is also participant from Namibia. Research goals include cutting edge genetic research to detect environmental DNA of threatened species, exploring patterns in invertebrate and fish biodiversity with increasing depth and work to understand the drivers of these patterns in the dynamic high current environment of the Amathole Offshore Protected Area. The project also includes innovative social and cultural aspects that recognise the deep human connections with the ocean and the team are working on understanding the use of marine species in medicine and ritual and the identification and mapping of Culturally Significant Areas in the coastal and ocean environment.