Original article courtesy of SAEON

SeaMap is a brand new South African marine project, recently awarded to SAEON’s Egagasini Node through the Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP).

Safiyya Sedick’s key focus in earlier roles has been describing new species of marine worms, especially from southern African offshore sediments, as well as offshore ecology and the identification of benthic macrofauna.

Having previously worked in the private sector, she has experience in several other disciplines such as environmental impact assessments, water quality studies, biodiversity surveys as well as considerable lab and fieldwork experience. 


As the SeaMap coordinating officer, Safiyya is tasked with supporting the principal investigator, NRF-SAEON’s Dr Lara Atkinson, co-investigators and collaborators on the project in achieving the first data-driven ecosystem map using foundational biodiversity information (detailed here).

SeaMap also intends to engage scientists, researchers and high school learners to upskill and build local capacity through workshops, planned science engagements and even produce a children’s story on taxonomy!

Safiyya is eager to begin working on the project and acknowledges the need for such integrated marine foundational data.

She is anticipating the widespread application of SeaMap’s products.

She recognises that it may be a gamechanger at the management and policy levels where SeaMap products can inform processes such as Red Listing, environmental authorisations and protected area expansions, ensuring that marine invertebrates are considered in Spatial Biodiversity Plans.

First tasks

Safiyya is excited to be working closely with the principal investigator, co-investigators and collaborators to ensure that SeaMap is a success.

One of her first tasks as SeaMap coordinating officer will be to organise a workshop for all the collaborators and she is looking forward to meeting everyone.

Safiyya has a background in benthic ecology and taxonomy and a master’s degree in Zoology from Stellenbosch University.


Links to Safiyya’s publications:

Infaunal Benthic Communities from the Inner Shelf off Southwestern Africa Are Characterised by Generalist Species

Three new species of Syllis Savigny in Lamarck, 1818 (Annelida: Syllidae) from the south coast of South Africa

Revisiting ‘A monograph on the Polychaeta of southern Africa’: establishing taxonomic research priorities in southern Africa

SeaMap aims to deliver South Africa’s first data-driven marine ecosystem map derived from associated species occurrence and barcode records.

This output will support marine biodiversity assessment, spatial planning, monitoring for change and development of the ocean economy.

The FBIP is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and jointly managed by SANBI and the National Research Foundation (NRF).