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Marine Biologist, South African National Parks (SANParks); Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa, University of Cape Town, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity

Dr Alison Kock is a marine biologist at the Cape Research Centre, South African National Parks (SANParks) and an Honorary Research Associate with the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and the Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa at the University of Cape Town.

Alison’s research interests are broad and include investigating the socio-ecological role of top predators, particularly large, coastal sharks, and evaluating the effectiveness of marine protected areas. She leads research and long-term ecological monitoring in four marine protected areas in the Northern and Western Cape of South Africa under the management of SANParks.

Alison completed her PhD in biological sciences at the University of Cape Town in 2014 during which time she also co-established the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Centre in Kalk Bay and helped to strategically grow the non-profit organisation, Shark Spotters, whose vision is the sustainable co-existence of people and sharks. She currently serves on their executive committee.

Alison is committed to ensuring that scientific information is effectively translated into management and policy actions and thus also serves on several national scientific working groups including the National Marine Biodiversity Scientific Working Group, the Top Predator Scientific Working Group, the South African Whale Disentanglement Network, the Seabird Technical Team and the Scientific Authority of South Africa.

Experience

  • 2015–present
    Honorary research associate, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity
  • 2017–present
    Marine biologist, South African National Parks
  • 2017–present
    Honourary research associate, Institute for Communities and Wildlife
  • 2008–2017
    Research manager, Shark Spotters
  • 2003–2011
    Marine biologist, Save Our Seas Foundation

Education

  • 2014 
    University of Cape Town, PhD
  • 2002 
    University of Cape Town, BSc (Honours)
  • 1998 
    University of Cape Town, BSc

Publications

  • 2019
    Running scared: when predators become prey, Ecosphere
  • 2018
    Summer at the beach: spatio-temporal patterns of white shark occurrence along the inshore areas of False Bay, South Africa, Movement ecology
  • 2018
    Latent power of basking sharks revealed by exceptional breaching events, Biology letters
  • 2018
    Photographic Identification of Sharks, CRC Press
  • 2018
    Future research directions on the ‘elusive’white shark, Frontiers in Marine Science
  • 2017
    Trends in sightings and population structure of white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, at Seal Island, False Bay, South Africa, and the emigration of subadult female sharks approaching maturity, Environmental Biology of Fishes
  • 2017
    Pessimistic assessment of white shark population status in South Africa: Comment on Andreotti et al.(2016), Marine Ecology Progress Series
  • 2017
    Shark Spotters: Successfully reducing spatial overlap between white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) and recreational water users in False Bay, South Africa, PLOS ONE
  • 2015
    Behavior of Cape fur seals, (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) in relation to temporal variation in predation risk by white sharks, (Carcharodon carcharias) at a seal rookery in False Bay, South Africa, Marine Mammal Science
  • 2015
    First observations of dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus) predation on a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) calf. , Marine and Freshwater Research.
  • 2015
    Living with white sharks: non-lethal solutions to shark-human interactions in South Africa, Conflicts in Conservation - Navigating Towards Solutions
  • 2015
    Behavior of Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) in response to spatial variation in white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) predation risk, Marine Mammal Science
  • 2013
    Residency, Habitat Use and Sexual Segregation of White Sharks, Carcharodon carcharias in False Bay, South Africa, PLOS ONE
  • 2013
    The influence of environmental variables on the presence of white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, at two popular Cape Town bathing beaches. A Generalized Additive Mixed Model, PLOS ONE
  • 2013
    Effects of an electric field on white sharks: In situ testing of an electric deterrent, PLOS ONE
  • 2012
    Responding to the risk of white shark attack: Updated statistics, prevention, control methods and recommendations, Global Perspectives on the Biology and Life History of the Great White Shark
  • 2012
    Shark Spotters: A pioneering shark safety programme in Cape Town, South Africa, Global Perspectives on the Biology and Life History of the Great White Shark
  • 2008
    Running the gauntlet: a predator-prey game between sharks and two age classes of seals, Animal Behaviour
  • 2007
    Effects of provisioning ecotourism activity on the behaviour of white sharks Carcharodon carcharias, Marine Ecology Progress Series

Professional Memberships

  • Acoustic Tracking Array Platform (ATAP)
  • Shark Spotters (executive committee)
  • South African Whale Disentanglement Network (committee member)
  • Top Predator Scientific Working Group
  • National Marine Biodiversity Scientific Working Group
  • Seabird Scientific Working Group