The Two Oceans Aquarium is a dedicated conservation organisation with an active marine sciences programme. As part of this programme, the Aquarium collaborates with various external research organisations and higher education institutions to advance the understanding of our ocean and its inhabitants, and to improve our own animal husbandry and veterinary care techniques.

The Aquarium offers support to numerous research projects in terms of resources and funding as well as the time and expertise of our staff. Internally, our conservation programmes are linked to ongoing projects and our own research is regularly presented at international conferences and gatherings.

Below is a short list of research that the Two Oceans Aquarium (TOA) has carried out and supported in a few key areas,

Biodiversity conservation

  • Behavioural study on feeding and reproduction in Semicassis labiata zeylanica (ongoing). T Mazomba (UCT). Intern funding support from TOA.
  • Effect of experiences with captive and non-captive African
    penguins (Spheniscus demersus) on conservation attitudes,
    learning, and behavior of visitors
     (2014). AE Kasdin (PU). (TOA capacity support).
  • The effect of submergent macrophytes on the abundance and behaviour of fish assemblages between salt marsh and mangrove habitats of the Nahoon Estuary, South Africa (ongoing). R Keur (UWC, SAIAB). Intern funding support from TOA.
  • Using environmental DNA metabarcoding to reveal genetic fish diversity in multiple marine systems of South Africa (ongoing). M Czachur (US).

Marine parasitology

Penguin biology

Sea jelly cnidology

  • Chrysaora fulgida Aquaculture at the Two Oceans Aquarium (ongoing). L Misland (CPUT). Supervisors: Prof. C Sparks, M Musson (TOA).
  • Establishing an alternative diet for rearing the medusavorous jellyfish: Chrysaora fulgida, in situ. (ongoing). L Misland (CPUT). Supervisors: Prof. C Sparks, M Musson (TOA).
  • The effects of temperature on the asexual reproduction of the polyp's of Chrysaora fulgida (ongoing). K Lewis (UWC).

Sea turtle conservation

  • Biosecurity and treatment of fungal pathogens infecting stranded Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta) in South Africa (ongoing). M Maubscher (TOA), Dr B Spolander (TOA) & C Christison (DAFF,UWC).
  • Data analysis of loggerhead turtle hatchling recoveries at the Two Oceans Aquarium between 2014 and 2017 (in progress). M Nel (CPUT). Supervisors: Prof. K Findlay (CPUT), M Musson (TOA).
  • Impacts of plastic ingestion on post-hatchling loggerhead turtles off South Africa (2016). PG Ryan (UCT), G Cole (TOA), K Spiby (TOA), R Nel, A Osborne & V Perold. Published in Marine Pollution Bulletin 107(1).
  • Tracking the movement of an adult female Hawksbill turtle after successful rehabilitation at the Two Oceans Aquarium and subsequent release (ongoing). Two Oceans Aquarium, Department of Environmental Affairs & Cape Peninsula University of Technology. 

Shark and ray elasmobranchology

Veterinary methods

  • Development of a non-lethal diagnostic tool for the diagnosis of Ichthyophonus hoferi (ongoing). N Nicolle (TOA,UWC), Dr K Christison (DAFF,UWC), Dr G Cole (TOA) & M Laubscher (TOA). 
  • Hexabothrid Monogenaean Parasites In A Group Of Short-Tail Stingrays (Dasyatis Brevicaudata) And Successful Use Of A Blood Transfusion To Treat Anaemia (ongoing). Dept. of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Two Oceans Aquarium & The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. Principle Scientists: Dr K Christison and Dr G Cole.

Miscellaneous

  • Water Quality analyses of intake, operational systems and outfall in the development of a water quality monitoring and management programme for the Two Oceans Aquarium (ongoing). J Gillespie (CPUT). Supervisors: Prof. K Findlay, M Musson.
  • Vertical niche overlap by two ocean giants with similar diets: Ocean sunfish and leatherback turtles (2009). Hayes, G.C. (Swansea University), Farquhar, M, (TOA), Luschi, P (Pisa University), Teo, S.L.H. (University of California), Thys, T.M. (Ocean Sunfish Research and Tagging Program)
  • Reimagining people and plastics: Testing the impact potential of beach cleanups (2018) (ongoing). Sinclair, I. (TOA). Supervisor: Lesley Green, UCT Social Anthropology (Environmental Humanities South)