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

  • Bridget James

    Bridget James, MSc, BSc (Hons)

    Scientific Research Assistant

    Read more


  • Morgan Martin

    Morgan Martin, MSc, BSc (Hons)

    PhD Candidate, –University of Pretoria, Mammal Research Institute

    Thesis: Cetaceans in the Namibian Islands Marine Protected AreaRead more

  • Monique Laubscher

    Monique Laubscher, MSc student

    Field Officer Namibian Dolphin Project

    Read more

  • Tevya Lotriet

    Tevya Lotriet, BSc (Hons) Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

    MSc student

    University of Pretoria

    Mapping the distribution of cetaceans in the Western CapeRead more

  • Keshni Gopal

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

    Post-Doctoral Researcher

    Iziko Museum & Sea Search

    Read more

  • Rachel Burns

    Rachel Burns, 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

  • Erin Church

    Erin Church, BSc, BSc (Hons) Zoology

    NRF Intern

    MSc Candidate, Universtiy of Pretoria

    Read more

  • Darren Scott du Plessis

    Darren Scott du Plessis, BSc, BSc (Hons) Marine Biotechnology

    NRF Intern

    MSc Marine Ecology candidate, University of Cape Tow

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  • Corrine Joseph

    Corrine Joseph, BSc and BSc Hons

    MSc student


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

  • Jack Fearey

    Jack Fearey, BSc

    Research Assistant

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  • Past students

    Past students, Sea Search

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