Leandri de Kok

Honours Student

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I am currently an honours student in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria, doing my research project with the Marion Island Marine Mammal Programme (MIMMP). My research project focuses on the moulting phenology of female southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) on sub-Antarctic Marion Island. Moulting is an important stage during the annual life cycle of an elephant seal. My project will investigate how the moulting phenology of southern elephant seals has changed over the years using an extensive set of moulting data collected by sealers since the start of the programme in 1983. Information on the moulting phenology of females will give us insight into the body condition and the reproductive success of females on the island, as well as the productivity of the oceans surrounding the island. I am also interested to see if any environmental variables from the Southern Ocean may influence when and for how long these females haul out to moult on Marion Island.

I love being outdoors, exploring new places and have an adventurous spirit. I can’t wait for my chance to someday explore Marion Island during a yearlong expedition in the not-too-distant future.