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Mossel Bay, South Africa

By: Chris Pavadore
The senior project required of all APU undergraduates offers students a chance to synthesize years of education in an informative, directed study. The most exciting aspect of this project is that there are no limits as to what can be accomplished. As a senior in the marine biology program, I was interested in learning something new, by extrapolating the knowledge I had acquired in four years and applying it to real scientific studies. With careful insight and research, I came across an organization that gave me a chance of a lifetime in Mossel Bay, South Africa wherein I studied the behavioral characteristics of juvenile white sharks in response to varying chum and bait types.

As part of this study, I made many cage dives with white sharks as long as 4.0 meters, filming and photographing the different behaviors I observed. And although I was only there for just one month, the organization helped me by providing their data collected throughout 2010. I am currently analyzing the data and will present a final paper and lecture at the close of spring 2011. Without the active learning philosophy and the dedication of the faculty and staff, these opportunities would not be possible. If you have dreams to work in the field with white sharks, for instance, or any other topic of interest, let APU help you find out how to achieve your goals.

Comments

  1. tristyn dent says:

    Hi I’m a grade 9 learner at York High. This is the years that we have to make our subjects choices, I am very interested in marine biology. Is there a call for it in South Africa or will I be choosing the wrong career choice???

    • Chris Pavadore says:

      Hey Tristyn!

      I am excited that you responded to the post on the research I conducted in South Africa two years ago. It is always nice to see young folks that take an interest in science at a young age; it allows you more time to prepare if marine biology is truly something you want to do.

      South Africa is a prime location for marine biological research. It is uniquely placed where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. The waters along the coast are very nutrient-rich, providing the basic component to abundant marine life. There are many organizations along the coast conducting research to increase the wealth of knowledge of important marine issues. One of the most notable organizations in South Africa is the South African Association for Marine Biological
      Research (SAAMBR). This organization is helping to educate the community on different research in and around the waters of South Africa. Similarly, there are a number of organizations conducting scientific research. The group I worked with was in Mossel Bay, Western Cape in association with White Shark Africa (WSA). Oceans Research Institute (ORI) has operations in many areas of South Africa including Mossel Bay, Gansbaai, and Cape Town. Another notable organization is the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) that works to educate the community in marine research with an emphasis on shark research and conservation.

      So to answer your question, yes, there is a calling for marine research in South Africa. I encourage you to check out some of these organizations to see if they offer internships that you may apply for in the upcoming years. If the opportunities are available, you will find it rewarding and worthwhile to join a team. Thank you again for your response; I always get excited to talk about my experience in South Africa.

      If you have more questions feel free to contact Brad Harris, he is a Marine Biology Professor and has a lot of information.

      Kind regards,
      Chris

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