We are only at the beginning of the exploration of our oceans, which are responsible for climate regulation. So far, only 5% of them are accessible to science.

AEON Earth-Ocean Research focuses on the origin and evolution of the African margin along the Indian Ocean, particularly at the south-eastern tip of the continent.

An integrated approach including plate tectonics, seismic stratigraphy, onshore and offshore sedimentology, and geochemistry help us reconstructing vertical motion and ocean changes, which in return is useful to reconstruct past faunal corridor between the different continents through time.

What does it mean to be responsible as humans for our oceans? What do we consider as Stewardship for our shared living space – our planet Earth? How much do we already know about the Oceans and how much do we still have to learn?

Whales as indicators of ocean health

AEON’s Ocean Health team researches whales and dolphins, because they are at the top of the marine food web and as such present good indicator species that provide us with important knowledge about the health of the oceans.

What whales and dolphins can tell us about the health of our oceans…Read article

What do we know about the basic distribution and the habitat preferences of whales and dolphins in a relatively pristine environment before anthropogenic developments impact on them? In the era of the Anthropocene, it is increasingly important to ask these questions and to find answers to them.

Spatio-temporal distribution and habitat preferences of cetaceans in Algoa Bay, South Africa…  Read more

Acoustic Monitoring in Algoa Bay 

The sea off the coast of South Africa is a hotspot of biodiversity. Coastal development and the construction of a new deep water port, as well as the exploration for oil and gas, change and possibly impact on this habitat.

Acoustic monitoring of underwater soundscapes is helping us to assess the effect of shipping noise on large baleen whales, which are low frequency hearing specialists, and therefore, particularly sensitive to low frequency vessel noise. We use three autonomous SM2M+ acoustic recorders equipped with an HTI-96-min hydrophone (sensitivity -166 dB re v/_Pa), in addition to the automatic identification system (AIS) data for all Ships. The goal is to assess whether humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) and southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) mother-calf pair distribution patterns are affected by received levels of ship noise. This serves as a baseline to monitor for marine animal behavioral changes under future port development plans that are likely to further increase ship noise level within Algoa Bay.