Dr. Riaan Cedras is the founder and Chair of the Western Indian Ocean Early Career Scientists Network (WIO-ECSN) and a lecturer at the University of the Western Cape. He started his marine science career more than ten years ago on the RV Dr. Fridtjof Nansen in 2007, by investigating the plankton in the Benguela Current, and later in the South-West Indian Ocean and the South Indian Ocean subtropical gyre. Also, he was responsible for the sampling strategy adopted for the purpose of the study of plankton, and sample curator with the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) for the Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems Project (ASCLME) as well as for the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in Norway for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He has taxonomic skills in the identification of key marine zooplankton taxa, in particular copepods and euphausiids. These taxonomic skills are essential to identify, monitor and predict future distributions of species and impacts of a changing environment.
He holds a PhD from the University of the Western Cape on patterns in diversity, abundance, distribution and community structure of epi-pelagic copepods in the south-western Indian Ocean. He started the WIO-ECSN in 2017 with WIOMSA, and focus on human development of young African researchers, as well as provide strategies that are set to guide the WIO-ECSN towards the development of research capacity and human development in marine research. He coordinated the involvement of young marine researchers for the IIOE 2 programme under the guidance of UNESCO IOC Africa and the Department of Environmental Affairs, Oceans and Coasts branch, as well as for the EAF Nansen Programme in the WIO region. To date, He works on capacity building projects for early career scientists such as joint publications, facilitating conference workshops and promoting WIO research, which provide Africa with representation in the Indian Ocean. His research endeavors is to evaluate the need for a long-term monitoring and research on plankton communities and engage in studying the effects of environmental stressors on the physiology of key plankton groups around South Africa and the WIO region.