Merrisa Naidoo


University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, South Africa
2 Jun 2019 to 29 Jun 2019

Research subject:

Microplastic pollution in the Knysna Estuary: Occurrence in Syngnathids and Juvenile Fish


Dr David Glassom and Dr Louw Claassens

Short cv:

My work as a young researcher in the field of Marine Biology has taught me the key quality of perseverance. I have successfully completed my Honours degree in Marine Science, presented it at various symposia and have applied and have been accepted as a Master’s student looking at microplastics in the Knysna Estuary, South Africa for the very first time. However, one of my major accomplishments that I am most proud of whilst being a student in this field is having been selected as Wild Ocean’s Ocean Steward ( in 2016 which has allowed me to gain both offshore experience and qualitative research expertise. While aboard the research vessel Angra Pequena which is a 72 ft (99 ton) purpose-designed and equipped expedition ship offering a unique platform for marine research, scientific training and conservation, I was afforded the opportunity to build key relations with other scientific researchers and like-minded people as well as work for the first time with innovative marine research equipment such as a Remote Underwater Vehicle, CTD's, BRUVS, plankton nets and sediment grabs. Being in my third year of study at that time, this was my first time out at sea which confirmed my chosen career path as a marine researcher. My experience as an Ocean steward has fostered a greater passion towards caring and studying the ocean. The Ocean stewards programme has introduced me to matters that matter within the marine realm.

With that said, I believe undertaking the South North Atlantic Training Transect 2019 will allow me to gain hands-on-experience and further gain practical work ethic and skills. Having acknowledged that the RV Polarstern represents an icon in German Polar Research, I am drawn to be apart of research and experiential learning that is making waves in the field of Marine Science and Oceanography. Being from a developing country where opportunities are limited in the field of Marine science, this opportunity will serve as a stepping stone to achieve part of my academic and professional endeavours and provide me with the necessary exposure and experience that every young biologist aspires towards.

My key interests lie in the inter-disciplinary concepts of Marine and Natural Sciences that encompass ongoing research, conservation and sustainability that ultimately contributes towards societal needs and the needs of our surrounding environment. My research and work perspective are open-minded to achieving sustainable goals in marine conservation. I wish to become an integral part of marine conservation in South Africa and fill the void in our current knowledge of our ocean and its potential to serve the Blue Economy.