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Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Masters student in Physical Oceanography from Mandela University's Institute for Coastal and Marine Research, Michael Hart-Davis, is the recipient of the prestigious S2A3 Masters Medal. 

Michael becomes the first Physical Oceanographic Masters student to win this award.

The S2A3 Masters’ Medals (bronze) have been awarded annually since 1981 by the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science to outstanding research students in a scientific subject at South African universities. Founded in 1902, it is the oldest scientific organisation in South Africa.

Michael began his MSc thesis in January 2018 at Nelson Mandela University and submitted his final thesis in August 2019.  He completed two scientific publications as a result of his original research, with a further two publications currently in review. After graduation in late 2019, Michael accepted a PhD position at the Technical University of Munich in Germany where he continues to collaborate with South African colleagues.

Michael’s thesis was based on the development of a particle trajectory model for the use in several scientific applications in the Agulhas Current System. The scientific applications presented in his thesis included case studies advancing the understanding of surface ocean dynamics, studying the trajectories of sea turtles as well as juvenile lobster larvae and the development of search and rescue tools.

During his Masters’ studies, Michael spent time in Bergen, Norway where he collaborated with several scientists at the University of Bergen and The Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC). His time in Bergen proved to be extremely beneficial and included presenting several seminars and attending lectures at the University which resulted in several international publications.

Michael would like to thank his supervisors Dr Bjorn Backeberg, Prof Juliet Hermes, A/Prof Mostafa Bakhoday-Paskyabi and Prof Johnny Johannessen as well as the Nelson Mandela University, Nansen-Tutu Center, SAEON and the NRF for the opportunities and contributions that they provided in allowing him to study and produce his MSc thesis.

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