Mayibongwe Buthelezi, a PhD student from University of Pretoria, is currently participating in the 30th Atlantic Meridional Transect cruise (AMT-30). 

The AMT (Atlantic Meridional Transect) cruises are a series of research voyages conducted annually across the Atlantic Ocean, from the UK to the Caribbean, to study the ocean’s biogeochemistry, ecology, and physical properties. The cruises are multidisciplinary and include scientists from around the world. As part of the cruise, samples are collected at multiple depths and locations along the transect (read more about AMT here and here).

SANAP Project Involved: Enhanced insights regarding the ecology, evolution and function of marine microbiomes

Project Principal Investigator: Prof Thulani P. Makhalanyane

The South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Marine Microbiomics has a SANAP funded project focused on understanding microbiomes in the Southern Ocean and South Atlantic. The project titled “Enhanced insights regarding the ecology, evolution and function of marine microbiomes.” As part of this project, we have initiated a series of collaborative activities to access and join international cruises through the EU funded AtlantECO program.

Mayibongwe Butlelezi, a NRF/SANAP funded PhD student from the University of Pretoria, was selected to join this 6-week cruise aboard the Discovery. AMT30 has departed from the Falkland Islands on 21 February 2023. As far as we know, Mayi is the sole South African representee on the cruise. His project is focused on understanding the role played by marine microorganisms in the sulphur cycle. Specifically, Mayi will collect samples using protocols developed as part of the AtlantECO project to study microbiomes along the water column and to specifically quantify DMSP (Dimethylsulfoniopropionate).

Follow the work of Prof Makhalanyane and his team on Twitter: 


What’s happening on social media:


Text: Prof Thulani P. Makhalanyane, Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, University of Pretoria. 

Images:, @Thuls_M and @microbiomeUP

Edited: Anche Louw, South African Polar Research Infrastructure (Data, Products & Society Node), 24 February 2023. 


© South African National Antarctic Programme • Managed and administered by Antarctic Legacy of South Africa • Photo Credits
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