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MSc OPPORTUNITY: African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme (ACEP) UKZN - 27 September 2016

Zooplankton biodiversity in relation to Critical Biodiversity Areas’s (CBA’s) and Marine Protected Areas’s (MPA’s) on the KwaZulu-Natal Coast:


The University of KwaZulu-Natal invites applications from students interested in taking on an MSc project

on Zooplankton biodiversity in relation to Critical Biodiversity Areas’s (CBA’s) and Marine Protected

Areas’s (MPA’s) on the KwaZulu-Natal Coast: Implications for Conservation Planning. The project is being

coordinated by the University of KwaZulu-Natal and funded under the ACEP programme by the National

Research Foundation (NRF) to the amount of R60 000 per year, full time for two years. The MSc student

will be located at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.


Project description:

This ACEP project aims to build on the systematic conservation planning products developed by the

SeaPLAN project, which identified critical biodiversity areas (CBAs) for protection on the South African

east coast. It focuses on the continental shelf and shelf edge between Richards Bay and Port Edward

where 5 CBAs were identified. A multidisciplinary team is conducting a high-resolution assessment of the

seafloor characteristics coupled to ecosystem and species distributions and oceanographic processes. The

oceanographic data will then be spatially imposed over this geological landscape, followed by the

biological data, to provide an integrated categorisation of the continental shelf and shelf edge suitable for

use in the marine spatial planning (MSP) and conservation analyses.


The Pelagic Work Package (WP) examines the biodiversity, composition and distribution of the

zooplankton communities in relation to the physical oceanography and seabed features within and

between the identified CBA’s.


Specific objectives for the Pelagic Work Package are:

1. To provide biological baseline data on plankton communities in the pelagic zone for

integration into the multi-disciplinary spatial layers for marine conservation planning to

support MPA expansion on the KZN coast.

2. Validation of existing CBA’s and MPA’s and proposed expansions of those areas by assessing

the biodiversity, composition and abundance of zooplankton groups within and between the

CBA’s and MPAs.



Applicants must hold a BSc (Honours) degree in biological sciences. A strong background in microscope

work and zooplankton identification will be an advantage. Only South African citizens qualify.


If you meet the requirements and would like to apply for the position, please submit your CV, full

academic record, contact details of three referees, and a covering letter of motivation to Dr Shael Harris:

• e-mail:

• Mobile: 082 8214261

Enquiries can be made telephonically to Shael (office hours) @ 082 8214261 or through email.

CLOSING DATE: 31st October 2016

Should you not have heard from us within 2 weeks of your application,

please consider it unsuccessful.


Download Attachment: 31_oct_2016_msc_zooplankton.pdf