The Namibian Dolphin Project | Simon Elwen

Team Profiles

Simon Elwen, Director & PI of photo ID and ecological studies

Simon is the Principal Investigator of the Namibian Dolphin Project and started the project in 2008 with Ruth Leeney. Simon runs most of the ecological work on the project including studies relating to abundance, distribution and conservation impacts.

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I am a South African born and raised. I’ve always had a wanderlust and love of the ocean, and have had the privilege to travel and work in several other countries. However, I quickly realised that there was so much work and research which needed doing back in southern Africa, that there was no excuse for leaving!

Professional History

2012-2016: Research Fellow –University of Pretoria

2010-2011: Claude Leon Postdoctoral Fellow –University of Pretoria

2008-2009: University of Pretoria Post Doctoral fellow

2008: Research Assistant: St Andrews University, Scotland

2007: Research Assistant: University of Aberdeen, Scotland

2008-ongoing – Initiated, set up, sourced funding and lead the Namibian Dolphin Project, a research and conservation project in Namibia

2002-2008 (part time since 2005) University of Pretoria – PhD: “The distribution, movements and abundance of Heaviside’s dolphins in the nearshore waters of the Western Cape, South Africa.” Supervisor: Prof Peter Best

2000-2001 University of Pretoria– MSc – With Distinction: “Environmental factors influencing the distribution of southern right whales (Eubalaenaaustralis) on the South African coast.”  Supervisors: Prof Peter Best & Prof Marthán Bester

1996-1999 – University of the Witwatersrand, BSc and BSc Honours

Research Interests

I am interested in a broad range of ecological and behavioural aspects of cetacean biology, although I’m interested in all aspects of the ocean.  I’m particularly interested in the behavioural adapations these top predators (can) make to different environmental conditions. This is an important line of research these days due to the increasing number of changes that have occurred in the marine realm due to human impacts