Dr Larry Oellermann



MSc (Ichthyology, Rhodes University 1989); PhD (Fisheries Science, Rhodes University, 1995)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since June 2011.

Larry started his academic career as a fish taxonomy research assistant at the JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology (now SAIAB) in 1985, where he obtained an MSc in Ichthyology after examining the systematics of the southern African yellowfish species group using karyology and truss morphometric analysis of body shape.

His interest in cytotaxonomy led him to compare the karyotypes of hybrid African catfishes with their parent species, which developed into a PhD at Rhodes University’s Department of Ichthyology & Fisheries Science (DIFS), where he investigated the aquaculture potential of these hardy, fast-growing fishes. Larry stayed on at DIFS after his PhD to build and manage the Industrial Development Corporation’s (IDC) marine ornamental fish hatchery and research programme.

He moved to Cape Town as a consultant to the fisheries & aquaculture industry. He joined up with Rhodes University’s consulting company, Enviro-fish Africa (Pty) Ltd during the company’s involvement with medium term reallocation of South African fishing rights, eventually setting up and managing a branch of the company in Cape Town. During this time he became involved in the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) Programme, managing a suite of projects relating to the socio-economic aspects of the fishing and aquaculture industries of the west coast of South Africa, Namibia & Angola.

After the BCLME Programme came to an end, Larry moved to Namibia as the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Marine & Coastal Resources Research Advisor, based at the University of Namibia. He was also made director and helped develop the University’s Sam Nujoma Marine & Coastal Resources Research Centre (SANUMARC) in Henties Bay, an operating unit of the University of the United Nations’ Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU INRA).

He returned to his home town of Durban in 2011, to join ORI. Larry’s research interests centre around larviculture, aquaculture and the sensible, sustainable use of marine & coastal natural resources.

Prof. Michael Schleyer



PhD (University of Natal, 1981)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 1973.

Mike is the leader of the ORI Reef Biodiversity Programme and the Invertebrate Fisheries Programme.

Mike’s research interests include:

  • Species composition of corals, sponges and tunicates on KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) reefs on the East Coast of Africa.
  • Community structure on representative reefs.
  • Coral population genetics, reproduction, larval dispersal and recruitment.
  • Environmental features that influence the distribution of the major reef organisms, including the oceanographic parameters that effect larval dispersal.
  • Interactions between the reef organisms and their production of toxic secondary metabolites.
  • The condition of the reefs in terms of human and climatic disturbances that result in reef damage and coral bleaching.
  • Development of effective management plans for the reefs.
  • Supervision of post-graduate students.
  • Provision of decision support to conservation managers and government agencies.

Dr Sean Fennessy



PhD (University of Natal, 2001)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since April 1989.

Sean is the Leader of the ORI Offshore Fisheries Programme, and the South African co-ordinator for Component 3 (demersal fishes) of the South-West Indian Ocean Fisheries Project: SWIOFP. He is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Red List Groups for Groupers + Wrasses and Sciaenids

Sean’s current and recent research experience includes:

  • Principal co-investigator of the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Project Suitcase Project investigating connectivity between Madagascar and the East coast of South Africa
  • Co-investigator of connectivity of demersal species between countries of the Western Indian Ocean
  • Principal co-investigator of the KwaZulu-Natal Bight project (part of the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Project - ACEP), examining ecosystem functioning of the central KwaZulu-Natal shelf and the relative roles of terrestrial and marine nutrients.
  • Stock assessment of Mozambican linefish
  • Investigation of non-target species (bycatch) of prawn trawlers operating off the coast of KZN, a description of the biology of the major fish species, and an assessment of the impact of trawlers on other fishery sectors, and characterizing demersal biodiversity of soft substrata on the KZN shelf.
  • Investigating methods to reduce the bycatch caught by prawn trawlers on the KZN coast.
  • Biological investigation and stock assessments of several species of local fin fish (Epinephelus spp, Pomadasys commersonnii, Polysteganus coeruleopunctatus).
  • Surveys of the commercial and recreational hook and line fisheries in the provinces of KZN and the Eastern Cape, involving interviews with fishers and inspections of catches.
  • Co-ordinates the fisheries science module for MSc and BSc (Hons) students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Supervises post-graduate students.
  • Provides decision support to conservation managers and government agencies.

Prof. Johan Groeneveld



PhD (University of Cape Town, 2001)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since June 2008.

Johan was a Senior scientist and head of lobster research / management at Marine and Coastal Management (MCM; 1995-2006). In 2006 he accepted the position of specialist scientist and fisheries advisor to the Ministry of Fisheries Wealth in the Sultanate of Oman (2006-2008). He moved to Durban in 2008 to lead the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Project (SWIOFP) team at ORI, where he is also the regional coordinator for SWIOFP research on Crustacean resources in 5 countries. He is a research associate at Stellenbosch University, and has published approximately 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles in international journals, and has written numerous popular articles and unpublished technical reports.

Johan’s expertise includes:

  • Biology, impacts of fishing gear, and sustainable management of crustacean resources, particularly deep-water and near-shore lobster populations.
  • Migrations, larval dispersal, and genetic population structure of widespread (and trans-boundary) lobster resources in the SWIO and the southern Atlantic Ocean.
  • Assessment of commercial fisheries for certification by Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or other certifying bodies.\Development of surveys at sea to explore new and existing fish resources.
  • Training of technical and scientific staff, and development of externally funded projects.
  • Supervision of post-graduate students at the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Stellenbosch.

Mr Bruce Mann



MSc (Rhodes University, 1992)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 1992.

Leader of ORI's Linefish Research and Marine Protected Area (MPA) Programmes.

Research experience includes:

  • Study of the biology of two reef fish species (blacktail and zebra) in the Tsitsikamma National Park.
  • Investigation of the multiple usage of Lake St Lucia's fish resources.
  • Implementation of an experimental subsistence gill-net fishery in Lake St Lucia.
  • Surveys of the commercial, recreational and subsistence linefisheries in KZN and the Eastern Cape (Transkei), which formed part of the first National Linefish Survey.
  • Editor of a book on the status of 102 South African linefish species.
  • Investigations on the age, growth and stock assessment of a number of important linefish species including Natal stumpnose, stonebream, Englishman, Scotsman, seventy-four etc.
  • Conducted a marine biodiversity diving survey along the Pondoland coast with the intention to establish a large MPA in this region.
  • Establishment of long-term fish monitoring and tagging studies in the St Lucia MPA and the Pondoland MPA.
  • Supervision of long-term monitoring projects at ORI including the Linefish Tagging Project, National Marine Linefish System (KZN Recreational Data) and the Boat Launch Site Monitoring System.
  • Conducted aerial surveys to determine shore angler effort along the KZN and Transkei coast
  • Past chairman of the South African Marine Linefish Management Association (SAMLMA) and the Marine Linefish Research Group (MLRG)
  • Supervision of post-graduate students and training of conservation staff and resource users.
  • Provision of decision support to conservation managers and government agencies.

Ms Fiona MacKay



MSc (University of Zululand, 1996)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since March 2005.

Fiona’s research experience includes:

  • Collaborative studies integrating abiotic (water quality and habitat) and biotic aspects (community structure and community metrics) for selected estuarine types.
  • Investigation of current status, baseline surveys and biomonitoring of estuaries, including comparison of succession trends in similar estuaries and distinguishing anthropogenic from climatic effects as manifested in zoobenthic fauna.
  • Description of the state of a river - coastal lake - estuarine linked ecosystem, the effect of an intrabasin transfer on selected components of the resident fauna and rapid assessment of Instream Flow Requirements of the invertebrates.
  • Scenario-based biotic responses and implications to potential freshwater deficits on macrobenthos, macrocrustacea and avifauna of selected estuaries with decision support under different freshwater yield scenarios to the estuarine/marine, coastal lake and river environments.
  • Importance of northern KZN estuaries as conduits for mass recruitment of Varuna Litterata crab megalopae.
  • Port of Richards Bay environmental monitoring including development of monitoring programmes and investigation of ballast water introduced marine species (according to CRIMP protocols)
  • Ecological impacts of dredge spoil disposal on sandy beach, estuarine and nearshore marine ecosystems.
  • Specialist ecological investigator for various projects (sewage and paper mill effluents, solid structure developments in protected areas etc.) to limit and mitigate negative impacts to coastal aquatic environments.

Ms Bernadine Everett



MSc (University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2005)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 1998.

Research experience includes:

  • Database development and project coordination of WIOFish - a large WIO project on fisheries involving most countries of the East African coast, including training of users.
  • National data component coordinator for the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Project during year 1 of the project.
  • Data analysis of the KwaZulu-Natal Crustacean Trawl Fishery data
  • Surveys of recreational and commercial fisheries in the Richards Bay region.
  • Specialist input to the EIA process for the Point small-craft harbour.
  • Conducted the environmental impact assessment process for the development of the proposed Victoria Embankment Waterfront.
  • Monitoring of fish and sand prawns in the Durban Harbour.
  • Database design and management for various research projects.
  • Production and reproduction of graphics and maps.
  • Desktop layout and edit of the Tagging News for the ORI Tagging Project

Ms Bronwyn Goble



MSc (Rhodes University, 2009)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since March 2009.

Research responsibilities include:

  • Serving as the focal point and providing coordination of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) research at ORI, especially as a service to the KwaZulu-Natal government.
  • Undertaking research into ICZM issues relevant to KZN with particular attention given to aspects of the new ICZM Act.
  • Assembly of key spatial data sets that define the coast and its assets.
  • Generating and disseminating scientific information as a decision support tool in the ICZM.
  • Providing support in the development of data management systems and GIS-based tools to ensure ORI provides an excellent service in ICZM issues.

Dr Camilla Floros



PhD (University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2011)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since May 2010.

Camilla is a member of the ORI Reef Biodiversity Programme. She recently completed her PhD through the Oceanographic Research Institute; her thesis was entitled: "An assessment of the fish communities on South African coral reefs".

Key research areas and responsibilities include:

  • Updating and referencing of the ORI hard coral collection with the addition of live and skeletal photographs.
  • Managing the coral reef database.
  • Investigating the relationships between corals and their associated invertebrates.
  • Assessing the effects of human activities on coral reef fish communities.
  • Assessing the biodiversity on the KwaZulu-Natal reefs.Developing and implementing of monitoring protocols for the KwaZulu-Natal reefs using indicator species.

Ms Erka Steyn



MSc (University of Stellenbosch, 2002)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 2002.

Research experience includes:

  • Invertebrate ecology.
  • Food conditioning of sharks.
  • Inshore/ offshore migration and larval recruitment of East Coast rock lobster off the KwaZulu-Natal coast.
  • Small-scale artisanal rock lobster fishery along the Eastern Cape (Transkei) coast.

Mr Stuart Dunlop



MSc (University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2011)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since January, 2011.

Stuart’s responsibilities include:

  • Day to day running of the ORI Marine Linefish Tagging Project.
  • Analysis and publication of key aspects of the project in both peer reviewed scientific literature and in the popular press.
  • Extensive liaison with researchers, conservation managers and other participants in the tagging project, including external funding agencies.
  • Extensive liaison with anglers who voluntarily participate in the project, including screening of potential participants and providing feedback on recaptures.
  • Attend high profile angling events to promote tagging to the angling public.
  • Assist with the supervision of students who undertake projects utilizing data from the ORI Tagging Project.

Ms Jill Sheppard



MSc (University of Rhodes, 2010)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since May, 2011.

Jill’s previous experience includes using stable isotope techniques in an estuarine food web; assessing possible long-term changes in a temporarily open/closed (TOC) estuarine fish assemblage related to habitat loss, and preparation of a report on the freshwater requirements of the Incomati and Maputo Estuaries and Maputo Bay, Mozambique as required by PRIMA; an international agreement governing the use of transboundary water resources.

Jill’s role at ORI  is to assist with various projects within the estuarine and soft sediment studies portfolio, including:

  • Fieldwork
  • Data capture, analysis and reporting.
  • Laboratory work and microscopy.

Mr Jade Maggs



MSc (University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2011)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since May 2006.

Jade’s responsibilities include:

  • Management of the recreational component of the National Marine Linefish System (NMLS) in KZN. The NMLS is a collaborative database containing catch and effort data for the South African line-fishery since 1984 and involves ORI, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (EKZNW).
  • Distribution of NMLS data to internal and external parties in the form of data reports.
  • Long-term monitoring of catch and effort trends in the recreational line-fishery.
  • Informing the angling community of trends in recreational angling through direct feedback and articles in the media.
  • Assistance on other internal programmes such as the Pondoland Marine Protected Area fish tagging programme, Boat Launch Site Monitoring System and the ORI Tagging Project.

Mr Musa Khumalo



BTech (Durban Institute of Technology, 2001)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 2004.

Musa’s responsibilities include:

  • Maintenance of the Boat Launch Site Monitoring System.
  • Capture and preliminary analysis of boat launch site data.
  • Assistance with preparation of reports from the boat launch site data.
  • Provision of ad hoc assistance in other ORI projects.


Mrs Renuka Govender



Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 1992.

  • Renuka is responsible for accurate data capture on the National Marine Linefish System (NMLS).
  • Liaison with officials and programme operators at Marine and Coastal Management (MCM).
  • Training of students on operation of the NMLS.




Mr Desmond Hayes



Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 2007.

  • Des heads the fisheries observer team.
  • He has extensive experience in project management and maritime matters.






Mr Derrick Mthetwa



Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 2010.

Derrick’s main responsibility at ORI is to assist with the processing of data generated by the KZN Boat Launch Site Registers and several fisheries creel survey projects.
Previous experience includes:

Prior to his current position, Derrick provided ad hic assistance with fisheries data capture and educational and conservation guiding support for learners and visitors to the Sea World complex at uShaka.




Mr Sipho Mselegu



Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 2009.

Sipho’s responsibilities include assisting with the primary laboratory sorting of macrobenthic samples from estuarine and offshore soft sediment samples.

Prior to that, he provided assistance with fisheries data collection along the entire KwaZulu-Natal coastline, including recreational and subsistence users.




Mr Marius Els



Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 2007.

Marius is responsible for data capture on the BLSMS and the NMLS online system. He also provides ad hoc assistance to ORI staff.



Mr Denis Rouillard



MSc (Murdoch University, 2008)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since October 2009.

Denis’ responsibilities include:

  • Spatial analysis of large and long-term environmental and fishery data sets in order to maximise their value and application of such data.
  • Provide specialist skills to research staff in several aspects of GIS.




Ms Grace Samuriwo



Honours Bachelor of Information Science (UNISA 2012)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since June 2008.

Responsibilities include:

  • Provide SAAMBR staff and the public with information from our specialised library collection; through Inter Library Loan Services, subscribed online databases and the internet
  • Involved in periodic information literacy, library familiarization and teaching programs as and when necessary
  • Making sure that library expenditure stays within the library budget
  • Manage journal subscriptions and book purchases
  • Cataloguing (AACR2 & Sears), classification (DDC) and indexing
  • Manage library databases using a computerized library system
  • Offer in-service training to students from Durban University of Technology
  • Manage the day to day activities of the library

Prof Rudy van der Elst



MSc (University of Natal, 1975)

Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 1969.

Rudy is engaged in a diversity of marine resource-use and conservation studies, especially those relating to management problems in small-scale, recreational and artisanal fisheries, including:

  • Investigations into estuarine fish populations and sustainable resource use.
  • Stock assessment and biology of linefish, including the development of management strategies and their applications.
  • Development of long-term monitoring and assessment strategies including the National Marine Linefish System (NMLS) catch and effort programme and the nation-wide fish tagging project, both of which involve thousands of end-users.
  • Studies have also included elasmobranch fishes and large oceanic predators such as billfish, swordfish and white sharks.
  • Currently participating in a number of collaborative programmes involving other countries of the West Indian Ocean region.
  • Provides decision support to conservation managers and government officials and has assisted with environmental and fisheries policy formulation for national and regional government.
  • Supervision of post-graduate students.

Ms Alison Moor



Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 2005.

Alison is responsible for co-ordination of research projects and acts as the ORI liaison with funding agencies.





Mrs Ramani Naidoo



Employed at the Oceanographic Research Institute since 2001.

Ramini provides secretarial and administrative support to ORI's team of scientists and support staff.






Mr James Robey



MSc (University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2013)

Employed at ORI since December 2012.

James completed an MSc on the abundance and biology of prawns and langoustines caught in deep-water trawls off eastern South Africa while at ORI in 2011 and 2012, and then stayed on as a research assistant. His role is to assist with research projects dealing with offshore fisheries resources (mainly crustaceans) and their associated bycatch, including:

• Field and laboratory work

• Data capture and analysis

• Writing of reports and scientific articles.