The oceans around southern Africa are powerful and complex, and consequently host some of the most unparalleled ecosystems on the planet. Documentaries and films of the many endemic natural wonders such as the great white, tiger shark, ragged tooth shark, the annual sardine run, and the numerous migrations of whales and seabirds from regions afar, have helped to expose the public to a little of the regions splendour. While several thousand scientific papers have been published on the ecosystems of the mighty warm Agulhas Current on the east coast and the cold Benguela current and its extensive upwelling system on the west coast - there remains much to be learnt to appreciate and understand the driving forces, the thousands of animal life cycles, the complex inter species relationships, the energy flows and food-webs - so that prudent resource use and management can be applied. Of extreme importance is the impact, adaptation and survival of this region in the face of global warming and climate change, already having devastating effects in many parts of planet earth.Bayworld Centre for Research and Education (BCRE)
Bayworld Centre for Research and Education (known as BCRE) was established in 2004 by the Board of Bayworld (formally Port Elizabeth Museum, located on the east coast of South Africa) to accelerate the advancement of knowledge of the oceans around southern Africa through research, capacity building, education and outreach (referred to as the four BCRE activities). The overall objective is to demonstrate the natural beauty, the ecological and physical importance, and the value of this incredible part of the planet to the world public and especially the younger generations through innovative, easily accessible IT media exposure. A cornerstone in the design of BCRE is the minimisation of administration and infrastructure costs (e.g. building maintenance) so that maximum gain is achieved from donated and acquired funds.Institutional framework
Bayworld Centre for Research & Education is a registered, non-profit, Section 21 Company (Public Benefit Organisation, PBO) in terms of the South African Companies Act, Act 61 of 1973 (as amended). Direction and the building of strategic partnerships are done through a Board comprising voluntary directors and advisors.
The modus operandi of BCRE is to build a strategic framework through partnerships with other institutions and invited honorary research associates (HRAs).
Core components of this framework aim to:Research
- Build critical mass (provide personnel, infrastructure and equipment) in strategic, specifically identified, disciplines of research (nodes)
- Connect institutions and individual researcher activities
- Increase the number of scientific outputs (publications) for the region
- Attract, leverage and administer research funding to support the four BCRE activities
- Provide undergraduate and post graduate training
- Provide student support (bursaries, post doc, ) to facilitate training
Education and outreach
- Develop exciting and stimulating educational products which promote the ocean environment around southern Africa
- Integrate these into the South African educational system at primary, secondary and tertiary levels
- Invent innovative technologies and concepts to promote the dissemination of knowledge about the oceans around southern Africa
A strategic partnership, in terms of the BCRE framework, implies a formal engagement between BCRE and another institution, researcher or educator whereby BCRE provides or facilitates one or more of the Core Components indicated above, or receives support for such components. The engagement is formalised using a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Memorandum of Agreement (MoA).