Invitation to a public lecture by Xavier Zylstra, Two Oceans Aquarium

Royal Society of South Africa and the Academy of Science of South Africa invite you to a free public lecture by Xavier Zylstra, Senior Educator, Two Oceans Aquarium.


Humans have been looking to nature for inspiration since they first walked the planet. Biomimicry is a more formal and multidisciplinary approach, bringing engineers, architects and technical designers together with biologists, based on the understanding that plants and animals have evolved over eons to survive in the best possible way on an ever-changing planet. Essentially, almost any technical challenge we face in modern times should have a solution in nature. Biologists well versed in structure and function in nature will be able to highlight potential solutions. Far more than copying ideas from nature, though, Biomimicry attempts to follow similar sustainable solutions- using abundantly available raw materials, assembling them in water and doing so at standard temperature and pressure. This new and exciting discipline has the potential to pave a better future for all mankind, while also reducing the negative impact that we have had on the planet, thus far.  

About the speaker

Xavier Zylstra is a senior educator at the Two Oceans Aquarium Environmental Education Centre and calls the Upper Discovery Centre his second home.

Born and bred in Cape Town, Xavier received his Bachelor of Science and Higher Diploma in education, concentrating on natural sciences, from the University of Cape Town. He taught high school Biology at several prominent Cape Town schools such as Rondebosch Boys’ High School, where he was subject head for over a decade, and Reddam House in Constantia. He joined the staff at the Two Oceans Aquarium in April 2009.

Xavier has always been fascinated by Natural History and is passionate about Marine Biology and the Fauna and (particularly) Flora of the Western Cape as well as local Geology and Archaeology. This connection with nature is obvious in his lessons, and what he most enjoys about teaching at the Aquarium is being able to concentrate on promoting environmental awareness, conservation and sustainability. His primary brief, at present, is the writing of the Marine Biology content for ‘Marine Sciences’- a new National Matric subject being launched at a select few pilot schools, in 2020.



Date:     Wednesday 20 November 2019

Time:    17h00 (Tea will be served from 16h30)

Place:    South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) Auditorium, Observatory Road, Observatory*

*Directions to SAAO Auditorium : From the N2, turn off to the M57 – Liesbeek Parkway; turning in the direction of Cape Town and continue until the traffic lights with Hartleyvale (hockey and football) on your left. Turn right at traffic lights into Observatory Road, pass the River Club; the S A Astronomical Observatory is next on the left. Once through the security gates bear left following the SALT signs to the auditorium i.e. last building on the left (white with stoep & ramp).                                                                PLEASE DO NOT PARK IN FRONT OF DRIVEWAYS