The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa, has been involved in marine research throughout its 24-year existence. With the establishment of the non-profit Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, the Aquarium intends to grow its research capacity significantly and the Foundation be recognised as an aquatic research centre.
We, with resource support from the Two Oceans Aquarium, aim to further strengthen the collaboration with higher education institutions such as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the University of the Western Cape. These collaborations focus on hands-on marine sciences skills developments in the fields of marine animal husbandry and health, welfare and conservation. Furthermore, through these collaborations the internal research outcomes have increased and will continue to grow. We and the Aquarium also support various external research projects in key research topics, such as:
Biodiversity conservation | Marine parasitology | Penguin biology | Sea jelly cnidology | Sea turtle conservation | Shark and ray elasmobranchology | Veterinary methods | Microplastics
We host post-graduate students annually, through partnerships with higher education institutes such as the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University. Furthermore, partnerships with like-minded non-profit organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund South Africa (WWF-SA) and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), the Aquarium and the Foundation are able to provide unemployed students, in the form of internships, the opportunity to grow their marine sciences technical skills in marine animal husbandry and health, welfare and conservation. These are skills that will enhance their employability in careers related to the marine environment.
Our conservation programmes, such as the turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release programme and the marine wildlife management programme in the V&A Waterfront, are linked to ongoing research projects. Our research is regularly presented at international conferences and gatherings.
Our research department aims to contribute to the building of human capacity in the marine biological and conservation sciences that would assist Africa in not only increasing the quality of research outputs of its academic community, but also strengthen global partnerships for research and conservation. Furthermore, we aim to evaluate our education programmes to ensure quality impactful environmental education that will not only connect more people to the ocean but also improve the understanding of the role and impact of the ocean in our lives. In this way more people participate in the protection and conservation of our precious marine resources.
Current research activities include:
Injured and stranded sea turtle health treatments & post release tracking | Micro and macro plastic pollution in the waters surrounding the Two Oceans Aquarium in Table Bay Harbour | Jellyfish lifecycles and biology | Monitoring and evaluation of marine education and conservation programmes
Learning to swim is empowering – especially for women who want to work in the ocean community! Having the confidence to explore the water, feeling safe when in a boat, or simply having access to swimming as a recreational activity are things that many take for granted. A number of the incredible women at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation took the step of learning to swim with Swimmable – taking their first steps into this new way of exploring the world (and making their first splashes in the water of the Aquarium’s I&J Ocean Exhibit).
On 14 July 2021, a loggerhead turtle entangled in ghost-netting was in dire need of intervention and was rescued on the beach in Gansbaai. Through the Turtle Network, this adult, stranded, cold-stunned sea turtle arrived at the Two Oceans Aquarium & was received by the turtle rehab team. This turtle was surprisingly strong during admittance into hospital; lifting her head, resisting restraint & also presented with no external injuries needing immediate intervention.
Hoodwinker sunfish were only recently discovered in 2017, after hiding in plain sight amongst the more commonly known 𝘔𝘰𝘭𝘢 𝘮𝘰𝘭𝘢. So, when one of these rare animals was found washed up near Gansbaai, scientists from Dyer Island Conservation Trust and the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation were alerted and eager to work together to learn more about one of our ocean’s most unusual creatures.