Mbulelo Dopolo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and
Zoology in 2000 and a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Zoology (specializing in Marine Ecology, 2001) at the University of Fort Hare. He then enrolled for a Masters of Science degree (specializing in Marine Ecology) at the University of Cape Town and graduated in 2003.
In 2004, he joined the then Marine and Coastal Management, DEAT as a Biological Oceanographer doing research on reproductive ecology of small pelagic fishes. In 2005, he left for the Western Cape Provincial Government (Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning) to work as an Environmental Officer (dealing with environmental education and Transversal Reports). In 2008, joined the South African National Parks, Conservation Services Division (Scientific Services) as a Program Manager (Marine). The key role played at SANParks included conducting science-policy research and providing evidence-based policy-management advice
to the Cape Cluster Parks (Table Mountain, West Coast, Cape Agulhas and Namaqua NPs). In 2013 he served as a writer for the working group on Marine Resources, Society and Development for the development of the National Marine Research Strategy. In 2014, he served as a member of the technical team for the Operation Phakisa MPA network until he left SANParks in 2016.
In 2016, he joined the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) as a Director responsible for Sub-Antarctic and Antarctica
Management, and his scope was expanded in 2020 to include Estuaries Management. At DFFE he played a key leading role in the development of South Africa’s first Antarctic and Southern Ocean Strategy and the Antarctic Treaties Act Regulations, which relate to South Africa’s obligations to the Antarctic Treaty (1959). To date, he has published about 10 peer-reviewed scientific articles in the field of reproductive ecology, biodiversity monitoring, resource use, conservation, etc.