Marine focus at launch of new NMMU unit

MARCH 16, 2016

NMMU’s latest research unit, the Marine Apex Predator Research Unit (MAPRU) will be launched on Wednesday 16 March.

The new director of the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research (ICMR), renowned NMMU academic Prof Anton McLachlan will also be introduced at the function.

MAPRU is headed by Zoology’s Prof Pierre Pistorius who is known for his cutting-edge research on marine top predators, including penguins, dolphins, seals and sharks – in South Africa and as far afield as Marion Island and the Falklands. Dr Pistorius took top honours as NMMU’s Researcher of the Year for 2015.

His research ties in with the shift by NMMU to offering solutions around the potential of the blue economy by establishing itself as a future marine and maritime sciences study destination of choice.

The Institute for Coastal Research has been elevated to a university-wide institution reporting directly to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Engagement, Prof Andrew Leitch.

Initially formed in 1983, the institute now spans five faculties and includes members from three external entities. With its pending move to the University’s new Marine Campus, it will play a vital role in supporting NMMU’s drive for excellence in maritime and marine sciences.

Research under three broad themes namely global change, living resources & food security and biodiversity & conservation contributes to support decision to be made by coastal and marine managers.

The institute also houses NMMU’s Research Diving Unit and has external links to organisations such as SAEON, Bayworld, SAIAB, Oceans & Coasts, SANParks, SAIMI and the CSIR. Activities included research, training and consulting. The institute plans to enhance its collaboration, increase funding, strengthen branding and build capacity in critical areas.