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Marine Apex Predator Research Unit


About the Marine Apex Predator Research Unit


The Marine Apex Predator Research Unit (MAPRU) is a research unit within the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research (ICMR) at Nelson Mandela University. MAPRU was established in early 2016 with the following objectives:

  1. To conduct research on marine top predators, including seabirds, seals, sharks and cetaceans particularly in relation to global change, conservation and sustainable resource management.
  2. To provide learning opportunities and train post-graduate students in various aspects involving marine top predators.
  3. To be involved in various forms of engagement, using charismatic predator species to stimulate public interest in marine biodiversity and conservation.


Our research focuses on marine top predators as a group addressing questions of fundamental and applied interest by drawing on a range of disciplines. Many marine top predator species are threatened and research undertaken will accordingly have a strong conservation focus. At the upper limit of the food chain, marine top predators are generally good indicators of global change as well as areas of high productivity. Marine top predators (at the species and community level) will therefore also be used to better understand ecosystem changes and for conservation based spatial planning.

Geographically, most of our projects are focussed on the South African coast line and in the sub-Antarctic region, but also extend into Mozambique and Namibia.

Our members are based mostly at Nelson Mandela University, but a number are based at other institutions, and we maintain collaborative links with many international institutions.

Contact us.