The hardest part was sampling in rough seas and feeling very sea sick. I would wake up in the mornings thinking I should have chosen to do research on estuaries. But looking back now, it was all worth it.
Once we were collecting physico-chem data and were waiting for the anchor to set. The next moment the whole boat swung around and we thought, wow, this anchor is seriously hooked! Turned out that our anchor rope got caught in a whale fin and the whale was dragging us! Luckily the rope got unstuck quite quickly and everyone including the whale was fine.
The Middle Bank pinnacle. Very high profile reef with some beautiful and diverse macrobenthos.
There are many people that helped in the field, without them I would not be able to have conducted the work. To mention a few; Ryan Palmer, Koos Smith, Bruce Donovan, and Kyle Smith.
Subsequent to this research we have developed a 'jump camera' system. This system allows for the collection of photoquadrats without the use of divers or expensive equipment such as ROVs.
This featured research from part of a wider project. We have recently published a paper that used the habitat types identified in the featured research to predict fish assemblage structure (Heyns-Veale et al. 2016 Depth and habitat determine community structure of South Africa's warm temperate reef fish. Marine Biology 163:1-17). Currently we are working on comparing the trophic structure of the shallow and deep reef communities through Fatty Acid and Stable Isotope analyses.
Depth-related distribution patterns of subtidal macrobenthos in a well-established marine protected area | article
Heyns ER, Bernard ATF, Richoux NB, Götz A (2016)