MAPRU Members


Pierre PistoriusProf Pierre Pistorius
Head of Unit
Professor, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University


Maëlle ConnanDr Maëlle Connan
Research Associate, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University

Research interests: Trophic ecology of marine top predators from the tropics to high latitudes


Greg HofmeyrDr Greg Hofmeyr
Research Associate, Curator: Marine Mammals, Gqeberha Museum

Research interests: behavioural ecology, ecology, demography, human-animal interactions, morphology, pinnipeds, marine mammals, Western Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean


Dr Stephen Kirkman
Research Associate, Oceans and Coasts, Department of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Affairs, Cape Town

Research interests: marine mammal ecology, behavioural ecology, marine biodiversity, marine protected areas (MPAs), ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs), Benguela ecosystem, Southern Ocean.


Prof Mandy Lombard

Research Associate, Marine Spatial Planning Research Chair, Nelson Mandela University
Research interests: conservation planning research, terrestrial and marine protected areas, conservation, animal welfare and ethics, ecosystem-based management



Lorien PichegruDr Lorien Pichegru
Research fellow, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University

Research interests: seabird foraging ecology and life history traits in relation to prey availability and local competition with industrial fisheries


Dr Ryan Reisinger
Associate member, Centre Etudes Biologique de Chizé, France

Research interests: Foraging ecology of marine top predators, with a focus of those occurring in the Southern Ocean


Dr Newi Makhado

Dr Newi Makhado
Associate member, Marine Scientist, DFFE
Research interests: Conservation of marine top predators, especially seabirds and marine mammals and their role as indicators of ecosystem change and functioning.


Malcolm SmaleDr Malcolm Smale
Research Associate, Curator Emeritus, Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld
Research interests: Biology and feeding ecology of marine apex predators, with a focus on sharks. The use of Port Elizabeth Museum fish otolith and cephalopod beak collections for prey identification has allowed specific identification of prey taken by marine predators. The use of ultrasonic and satellite telemetry, and stable isotopes analyses has broadened our knowledge of the movements, ranges and ecological roles of various apex predators.

Dr  Ralph Vanstreels
Associate member, Instituto de Pesquisa e Reabilitação de Animais Marinhos, Brasil
Research interests: Health parameters as a tool to study the ecology of marine apex predators, especially seabirds. Medicine, epidemiology and pathology of diseases that affect seabirds, especially external and blood parasites. Mass mortality events of seabirds and their impacts for conservation.

Dr Chris OosthuizenDr Chris Oosthuizen
Associate member, Department of Statistical Sciences, UCT
Research interests: Marine predator ecology, with a focus on seabirds, seals and cetaceans inhabiting sub-Antarctic and Antarctic ecosystems. 


Dr Tegan Carpenter-Kling
Research associate, Project Manager, BirdLife South Africa
Research interests: Foraging ecology of coastal and marine seabirds in relation to environmental variability



Dr Sibusisiwe Ngqulana

Associate member, Collections Manager, Bayworld Museum, Gqeberha
Research interests: genetics of marine mammals


Dr Andréa Thiebault

Research associate, Marie Skolodwska-Curie European Fellow at French National Centre for Scientific Research







Dr Giannina Passuni

Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Zoology, NMU

"Bottom-up influence of climate change on endangered marine top predators via trophic coupling and retroactive top-down influence of these predators on their environment."


Dr Julien Collet

Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Zoology, NMU

Research interests: Foraging & Movement ecology, Behaviour & Cognition, Seabirds & fisheries, Biologging






Danielle FifeDanielle Fife
"Tracking trace elements (including heavy metals) in seabird communities using stable isotopes and fatty acids"


Danielle Keys

"Linking foraging ecology and demography of Wandering albatrosses"





Katharina Reusch

"Foraging ecology of kelp gulls in natural and anthropogenically modified environments"







 Lillina Ruiters

"King penguins at Marion Island: Inter-annual spatial variability in foraging and trophic ecology"





 Plaxedes RukuniPlaxedes

"Integration of functional diversity indices as proxies to evaluate the stability of the pelagic food web leading to the Afican penguin (Spheniscus demersus)"



Kezia Bowmaker-Falconer

"Dietary assessment of Cape gannets and African penguins in Algoa Bay using DNA metabarcoding of their scats"




Julia Penaluna

"Factors Affecting Pinniped Skull Morphology’"





Tegan Walker

"Breeding success and diet of the brown skua"








Melissa Duflot

"The trophic ecology of grey-headed albatrosses on Marion Island"





Sarah Hawkes

"Assessing the functional response of the African penguin Speniscus demersus to variations in local fish abundance"





Lindiwe Makapela

"Interspecific differences in the three-dimensional skull morphology of bottlenose dolphins"







Michelle CaputoMichelle Caputo | PhD | Rhodes University
"Occurrence and fine-scale population structure of delphinids off the Wild Coast of South Africa, and their connectivity to adjacent population"