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SAEON’s Dr Albrecht Götz receives recognition for innovative research

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SAEON’s Dr Albrecht Götz has joined the elite ranks of SANParks Kudu Award recipients in recognition of his high-impact research in the Tsitsikamma National Park MPA.

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Dr Götz and his team introduced innovative monitoring methods to the Tsitsikamma MPA, including remote video techniques which had never been used in Africa before and which could potentially revolutionise marine resource monitoring in South Africa.

The annual Kudu Awards is an initiative of the South African National Parks (SANParks) that aims to reward a select number of organisations and people who have made significant contributions to conservation.

In June of this year, Dr Albrecht Götz from SAEON’s Elwandle Node was awarded the 2013 Kudu Award in the category ‘Research, Initiatives and Innovations’ for the Garden Route Section – in recognition of his high-impact research in the Tsitsikamma National Park Marine Protected Area (TNP MPA).

With the support of the members of the Elwandle Node’s MPA Unit, Dr Anthony Bernard, Elodie Heyns, Denham Parker and Sarah Halse, as well as Kyle Smith from SANParks and Jean du Plessis from Cape Nature, Dr Götz initiated a subtidal fish monitoring programme in the TNP MPA in 2006.

Since then, eight years of bi-annual monitoring fieldtrips have yielded a unique baseline data-set that enabled the team to examine marine resource trends and the impacts of climate change.

Innovative monitoring methods

During this time, the team introduced innovative monitoring methods to the TNP MPA, including remote video techniques, which had never been used in Africa before. Video techniques are non-destructive, unbiased and can be deployed throughout all depth ranges, attributes which could potentially revolutionise marine resource monitoring in South Africa.

Dr Götz gained extensive experience in North Sea ecology (while studying at a German University), in the Caribbean (one year marine field research in Trinidad for his MSc), and locally. He has published scientific papers and presented at local and international marine science symposia.

Since completion of his PhD in South Africa, he has produced ground-breaking research - he was the first to unequivocally demonstrate the broad ecological impacts of line-fishing on the marine offshore environment.

Dr Götz has been involved in a number of long-term monitoring programmes at Woody Cape, Table Mountain National Park, Goukamma MPA, Stilbaai MPA, Tsitsikamma National Park and Algoa Bay in collaboration with SANParks and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB).

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