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Dr Laura Blamey

Marine ecology, kelp forest ecology, ecosystem change, coastal ecosystems, fisheries ecology, ecosystem modelling

Marine Research (Ma-Re) Institute
Department of Biological Sciences
John Day Building
University of Cape Town



I’m a marine ecologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cape Town, where I hold a Research Career Advancement Fellowship from the NRF (2014-2019). My main interests lie in coastal ecology, species interactions, ecosystem change, as well as ecosystem modelling and statistical ecology. My research centres around coastal ecosystems, with a strong focus on kelp forest systems and nearshore temperate reefs and the key species inhabiting these systems. I use both empirical and modelling approaches to try and understand the interactions between key species in kelp ecosystems, shifts in ecosystem states, drivers of ecosystem change and how these changes might influence ecosystem goods and services.


NRF Research Career Advancement Fellow, University of Cape Town, 2014-current

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Cape Town, 2011-2013

Grants and Awards:

NRF Research grant for 5 years - 2014-2019

FSU Mote Symposium Young Investigator Award, 2011


Blamey, L.K. and G.M. Branch. 2009. Habitat diversity relative to wave action of rocky shores: implications for the selection of marine protected areas. Aquatic conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems 19: 645-647.

Blamey, L.K., Branch, G.M. and K.E. Reaugh. 2010. Temporal changes in kelp-forest benthic communities following an invasion by the rock lobster Jasus lalandiiAfrican Journal of Marine Science 32: 481-490.

Plagányi-Lloyd, É., Weeks, S., Skewes, T., Gibbs, M., Poloczanska, E., Norman-Lopez, A., Blamey, L., Soares, M. and W. Robinson. 2011. Assessing the adequacy of current fisheries management under changing climate: a southern synopsis. ICES Journal of Marine Science 68: 1305-1317.

Haley, C.N., Blamey, L.K., Atkinson, L. and G.M. Branch. 2011. Dietary change of the rock lobsterJasus lalandii after an ‘invasive’ geographic shift: effects of size, density and food availability.Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 93: 160-170.

Blamey, L.K. and G.M. Branch. 2012. Regime shift of a kelp-forest benthic community induced by an ‘invasion’ of the rock lobster Jasus lalandii. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 420-421: 33-47.

Blamey, L.K., Howard, J.A.E, Agenbag, J. and A. Jarre. 2012. Regime-shifts in the southern Benguela shelf and inshore region. Accepted for publication in Progress in Oceanography 106: 80-95.

Blamey, L.K., Plagányi, É.E. and G.M. Branch. 2013. Modeling a regime shift in a kelp-forest ecosystem caused by a lobster range-expansion. Accepted for publication in Bulletin of Marine Science 89: 347-375.

Mead, A., Griffiths, C.L., Branch, G.M., McQuaid, C.D., Blamey, L.K., Bolton, J.J., Anderson, R., DuFois F., Rouault, M., Froneman, P.W., Whitfield, A.K., Harris, L., Nel, R., Pillay, D., Adams, J.B., 2013. Human-mediated drivers of change – impacts on coastal ecosystems and marine biota of South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science 35: 403-425.

Blamey, L.K., Plagányi, E.E. and G.M. Branch. 2014. Was overfishing of predatory fish responsible for a lobster-induced regime shift? Ecological Modelling 273: 140-150.

Plagányi, E., Ellis, N., Blamey, L.K., Morello, E.B., Norman-Lopez, A., Robinson, W., Sporcic, M., Sweatman, H., 2014. Can models and observations help predict trophodynamically-induced shifts in ecosystem state? Marine Ecology Progress Series 512: 99-113.

Ling, S.D., Scheibling, R.E., Johnson, C.R., Rassweiler, A., Shears, N., Connell, S.D., Salomon, A., Norderhaug, K.M., Perez-Matus, A., Hernandez, J.C., Clemente, S., Blamey, L., Hereu, B., Ballesteros, E., Sala, E., Garrabou, J., Cebrian, E., Zabala, M., and D. Fujita. 2015. Global regime shift dynamics of catastrophic sea urchin overgrazing. Philosophical Transactions B 370: 20130269.

Blamey, L.K., Shannon, L.J., Bolton, J., Crawford, R., Dufois, F., Evers-King, H., Griffiths, C.L., Hutchings, L., Jarre, A., Rouault, M., Watermeyer, K. and H. Winker. 2015. Ecosystem change in the southern Benguela and the underlying processes. Journal of Marine Systems 144: 9-29.

Jarre, A., Hutchings, L., Crichton, M., Wieland, K., Lamont, T., Blamey, L., Illert, C., Hill, E. and M. van den Berg. 2015. Oxygen-depleted bottom waters along the west coast of South Africa, 1950-2011. Fisheries Oceanography 24:56-73.

Jarre, A., Hutchings., L., Kirkman, S. P., Kreiner, A., Tchipalanga, P., Kainge, P., Uanivi, U., Van Der Plas, A., Blamey, L. K., Coetzee, J., Lamont, T., Samaai, T., Verheye, H. M., Yemane, D., Axelsen, B. E., Ostrowski, M., Stenevik, E. K., Loeng, H. 2015. Synthesis: Climate effects on biodiversity, abundance and distribution of marine organisms in the Benguela. Fisheries Oceanography 24:122-149.

Kirkman, S., Blamey, L., Lamont, T., Field, J., Bianchi, G., Huggett, J., Hutchings, L., Jackson Veitch, J., Jarre, A., Lett, C., Lipinski, M., Mafwila, S., Pfaff, M., Samaai,T., Shannon, L., Shin, Y., van der Lingen, C., Yemane, D. 2016. Spatial characterisation of the Benguela ecosystem for ecosystem-based management. African Journal of Marine Science 38:7-22.

Current Postgrad Students:



Genevieve Maharaj (co-supervising with A/Prof Coleen Moloney)



Ross Coppin (co-supervising with A/Prof A.J. Smit, UWC)

Kathryn Morris

Sizo Sibanda (co-supervising with Dr Kerry Sink, SANBI)

David Levy (co-supervising with Dr Simon Elwen, SEASEARCH)


Graduated Postgrad Students


2016 Luke Jones (co-supervisors Dr A. de Lecea, Prof G.M. Branch)