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


  • Jelly Gelletich

    Jelly Gelletich, BA

    Field leader - Namibian Dolphin Project

    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

  • Kholofelo Sethebe

    Kholofelo Sethebe, BSc Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

    Outreach officer

    Read more

  • Monique Laubscher

    Monique Laubscher, BSc (Hons) Biodiversity & Ecology

    MSc student

    University of Pretoria

    Mapping the distribution of cetaceans in the Western CapeRead 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

    University of Pretoria

    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

  • Magali Combes

    Magali Combes, BSc

    MSc student

    University of Montpellier, France

    Describe and understand ecological drivers of the behavior of inshore delphinids (Heaviside's dolphin and dusky dolphin) in the Southern Benguela Ecosystem using Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM)Read more

  • Mariana Silva

    Mariana Silva, BSc

    MSc student

    International Master of Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

    Social sounds of Humpback Whales from Southern AfricaRead more

  • Alexa Simone Prinsloo

    Alexa Simone Prinsloo, BSc, BSc Hons, MSc (Zoology)

    Acoustic Research Assistant

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  • Jack Fearey

    Jack Fearey, BSc

    Marine technician

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  • Past students

    Past students, Sea Search

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