Masters Students (Dissertation)

Sheroma Surajnarayan


  Sheroma Surajnarayan
BSc (Hons) (UNISA)


Growing up in Durban, KZN, Sheroma spent most of her childhood on the warm Indian Ocean beaches. It was during these seaside trips that she developed a curiosity and respect for the ocean and all its creatures. She has always been passionate about animals and the environment, never turning her back on any animal in need. Sheroma completed her BSc in Microbial Biotechnology from the University of KwaZulu Natal. From there she went on to work at Seaworld at Ushaka in Durban which further cultivated her passion for marine life. Later she took an internship at the National Zoo in Pretoria where she worked with seals and penguins. It was the African penguins, however, that stole her heart. She later completed a BSc Honours degree in Environmental Science from UNISA. Sheroma was selected as the only Honours student in the country to be a part of the ACEP II Walters Shoal seamount project conducted by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Her research project focussed on the diet, reproduction and growth of yellowtail species from 2 seamounts.

In 2017, Sheroma was offered an internship by WWF-SA, where she was placed at the Simons Town penguin colony under SANCCOB. It was during this time that Sheroma developed insight and understanding into wild African penguins, their behaviours, threats to their populations, human influences, etc. She further developed expertise in their handling and field data collection. Sheroma was also featured in a BBC Wildlife documentary on wildlife in urban areas.

Sheroma’s MSc research will be focussing on the foraging behaviour, prey availability and breeding success of the Simons Town African penguins.  Her supervisors are Prof. Peter Ryan, Dr Katta Ludynia (SANCCOB), Dr Alistair McInnes (NMU).