On 21 November, SAAMBR held its 4th Annual SAAMBR Symposium. Every year a number of SAAMBR staff are fortunate enough to be invited to share their work at conferences around the world. While those beyond our borders hear about their work, often their colleagues at home miss out. So a few years ago we launched our 1st Mini SAAMBR Symposium which gives staff a chance to share their work with their SAAMBR colleagues.
This year we had 19 brilliant presentations which showed the incredible range of our work. Presentations ranged from lobster genetics to seal rehabilitation, education to MPAs, estuaries to sandmining. The presentations showed the incredible range of our work.
The early morning presentations started with Gabby Harris who spoke about classical conditioning and how we use it to problem solve, then it was Samantha Hofmeyer who spoke about optimizing reef monitoring in subtropical coral reefs in South Africa, Bernadine Everett’s presentation focussed on tracking temporal and spatial patterns in the catch and effort of the South African crustacean trawl fishery and Ashrenee Govender spoke on the design and testing of mini barcode markers in marine lobsters.
Sohana Singh covered seascape genetics of the spiny lobster in the western Indian Ocean, Heidi Killian spoke about her work in education teaching effective litter awareness, David Pearton spoke on genetic analysis of the Southern African rock oysters, Sean Porter spoke about the accumulation of organochlorine pesticides in reef organisms from marginal coral reefs in South Africa and links with coastal groundwater. Tanja Hanekom spoke about the physiological responses of South African high-latitude coral communities to global warming, Bianca McKelvey spoke about remote sensing as a possible tool for the quanification of sand mining activities affecting estuaries and Fiona MacKay spoke about land cover and land-use analysis using open-source satellite imagery and low-cost household surveys infers estuarine function for data-poor WIO estuaries.
Judy Mann started the afternoon sessions exploring the social and economic objectives of Marine Protected Areas, Bruce Mann spoke about his third aerial survey of the Kwa-Zulu-Natal marine shore fishery, Ryan Daly shared his evaluation of the benefits of an expanded MPA network for mobile apex predators, Gareth Jordan gave an update of the ORI-Co-operative Fish Tagging Project, Presha Soogrim reflected on visitor engagement, Preleen Govender shared her experiences working at the aquarium’s microscope station, Tony McEwan spoke about his year’s work optimising aquarium feeding strategies by utilising aquaculture feeding practises and development. The symposium ended with Francois Lampen’s presentation on the rehabilitation of lesser flamingo chicks at uShaka Sea World.
The feeling of pride in the room was almost tangible as staff and volunteers admired the passion and dedication of all the colleagues and acknowledged what a privilege it is to work for such an incredible organisation as is SAAMBR.