Sea Search was founded in 2014 by Dr Simon Elwen and Dr Tess Gridley. We are based in Muizenberg, Cape Town with a second field site in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Our Mission

Sea Search is principally a scientific organisation that aims to conduct high quality, internationally recognised research in the marine realm, which can feed back into education and policy recommendations. Our focus is scientific research output, education and advice to managers with the overarching aim of promoting conservation. We work throughout the southern Africa sub-region, with a focus on South Africa and Namibia.

Team Members

The Sea Search group is a collective of scientists and students with a strong academic background in the area of marine mammal science. Most of our members are affiliated with the University of Pretoria'’s Mammal Research Institute or other universities in South Africa.

  • Simon Elwen

    Simon Elwen, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons)

    Founding Director and Principal Scientist

    Research Fellow University of Pretoria, Mammal Research InstituteRead more

  • Tess Gridley

    Tess Gridley, PhD, MRes, BSc (Hons)

    Founding Director, Operations Manager and Principal Scientist

    Claude Leon post doctoral research fellow, University of Cape TownRead more

  • Els Vermeulen

    Els Vermeulen, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons)

    Principal Scientist

    Research Manager and Post-doctoral fellow, University of Pretoria, Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit / Director Whalefish.orgRead more

  • Gwenith Penry

    Gwenith Penry, PhD, BSc

    Principal Scientist: South African Bryde´s whale Project

    Read more


  • Keshni Gopal

    Keshni Gopal, BSc, BSc Hons, MSc (Zoology), PhD (Zoology)

    Post-Doctoral Researcher

    Iziko Museum & Sea Search

    Read more

  • Bridget James

    Bridget James, BSc (Hons) MSc

    PhD Student

    Genetic population structure of Namibian bottlenose dolphins and the role of sociality in population conservationRead more

  • Morgan Martin

    Morgan Martin, MSc, BSc (Hons)

    PhD Graduate –University of Pretoria, Mammal Research Institute

    Describing the vocalisations of Heaviside’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii) and estimating dolphin abundance in the Namibian Islands’ Marine Protected AreaRead more

  • Jack Fearey

    Jack Fearey, BSc

    MSc Student (University of Cape Town, 2019-2020)

    Acoustic mark-recapture of bottlenose dolphins using individually unique acoustic labels, signature whistlesRead more

  • Rachel Probert

    Rachel Probert, BSc (Hons) Marine Biology

    MSc student

    University of KwaZulu-Natal

    Vocal repertoire of wild and captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus, Tursiops adunctus, and hybrids) in southern Africa.Read more

  • Corrine Joseph

    Corrine Joseph, BSc and BSc Hons

    MSc student


    Behavioural and cytological links to gastric ulceration in captive bottlenose dolphinsRead more

  • Cat (Catherine) Nadin

    Cat (Catherine) Nadin, BSc Zoology

    MSc Student

    University of Sheffield, UK

    Vocal behaviour of feeding humpback whales in South AfricaRead more

  • Coen Soeteman

    Coen Soeteman,


    HAS University, Netherlands

    Humpback dolphins - Infographic Media and GIS analysis of species range and overlap with human activities in South AfricaRead more

  • Stefan de Hoop

    Stefan de Hoop,

    Student Internship

    HAS University, Netherlands

    Infographic and Geospatial analyses. Namibian bottlenose dolphins and humpback whale super-groupsRead more

  • Past Team Members and Students

    Past Team Members and Students,

    Read more


  • Dorothy Fourie

    Dorothy Fourie, BSc

    NRF Intern - Namibian Dolphin Project Field OfficerRead more

  • Monique Laubscher

    Monique Laubscher, Bsc (Hons),MSc

    NRF Intern. 2018 - NDP field Officer. 2019 - Bottlenose dolphin signature whistle projectRead more

  • Erin Ross-March

    Erin Ross-March, BSc (Hons), MSc

    NRF Intern, 2018-2020. Education officer and Humpback whale vocalisationsRead more

  • Katie Keanly

    Katie Keanly, BSc, MSc

    NRF Intern - Vocal repertoire and Acoustic behaviour of bottlenose dolphinsRead more

  • Courtney Gardiner

    Courtney Gardiner, BSc, MSc

    NRF Intern - Terrestrial and bird acoustic researchRead more