Topic: Journey to the Roaring Forties – Dr Liezl Pretorius, will share her experience as part of the Marion Island Marine Animal Programme (MIMMP) expedition group. Some of the most impactful years of my life were spent working on Marion Island, South Africa’s jewel within the sub-Antarctic region. Marion Island lies between the latitudes of 40° and 50° South, known for the very strong westerly winds named by the sailors of old as the Roaring Forties. The only way to get to Marion Island is by ship, the SA Agulhus II, South Africa’s research vessel built to withstand the conditions of the Southern Ocean all the way down to Antarctica. There are no permanent residents on the island, only small groups of researchers and base personnel that overwinter 13.5 months at a time to keep all the important work done there going. Join me as I introduce you to this very unique environment and all the amazing creatures that call Marion Island their home. After making a career change in 2006, I studied penaeid prawns within two Transkei estuaries with the Zoology department at Nelson Mandela University. I wanted to approach the marine field from a different angle and completed a veterinary degree at Onderstepoort in 2013. Spent time working in mixed animal practice for a few months before overwintering on sub-Antarctic Marion Island for the first time from 2014-2015 as a seal biologist (part of the MIMMP). Worked in small animal practice and also conducted seal research on both Marion and Gough islands during relief voyages in 2016 – 2017. Got the opportunity to work another overwintering season on Marion Island as a seal biologist in 2018-2019.
Speaker: Dr Liezl Pretorius 2004 Medical School graduate University of Pretoria 2006 Zoology Nelson Mandela University 2013 Vetenirary degree at Onderstepoort Small animal practices 2016 – 2019 Biologist Marion & Gough Islands 2020 MSc Zoology 2021 Gough Island Veterinary Radiological Analyst 2023 Senior Manager/Veterinary DICT/APSS