Eight young researchers from The University of Western Australia have received a major boost to support their groundbreaking doctorate research in marine science.
Working across a diverse range of innovative projects in ocean science, the eight PhD students were awarded a total of $92,000 through the 2020 Robson and Robertson Awards Scheme.
The awards are an initiative of the Oceans Institute and made possible through a generous donation from the Jock Clough Marine Foundation.
The students will use the funds to cover fieldwork expenses and time aboard research vessels, access to innovative equipment and facilities, and to facilitate workshops to engage Traditional Owners.
The Awards honour Professor Alan Robson AO CitWA and Emeritus Professor Alistar Robertson for their integral role in the establishment of UWA’s Oceans Institute and are designed to encourage and support young researchers in the field of marine science.
This year’s awardees were:
- Justin Geldard, Oceans Graduate School, Hydrodynamic Forces on Coral Reefs
- Matilda Murley, School of Biological Sciences, Participatory mapping of Karajarri coastal Traditional Ecological Knowledge
- Pook Komoot, School of Social Sciences, Tracing Long-Distance Maritime Connections in the Indian Ocean World via the Analysis of Persian Gulf Torpedo Jars
- Maria Jung, School of Biological Sciences, Developing early warning stress indicators of the leaf metabolism in temperate and tropical seagrasses in Western Australia
- Adi Zvifler, School of Earth Sciences, Resilience, Restoration and Refugia – the future of Ningaloo and Exmouth Gulf coral reefs
- Isobel Sewell, School of Biological Sciences, Utilising insect protein in freshwater aquaculture diets
- Abinaya Meenakshisundaram, School of Biological Sciences, Developing molecular techniques to obtain population-level inferences of whale sharks from environmental DNA
- Ulysse Lebrec, School of Earth Sciences, Australia’s hidden landscape: Reconstructing submerged coastal environments and landform evolution during the last glacial cycle
Professor Robson congratulated the outstanding scholars for contributing to research into the future health of the oceans.
“I am honoured for my name to be attached to these awards, especially with marine science being such a strength of UWA,” Professor Robson said.
Jock Clough, from The Jock Clough Marine Foundation, said that while it was a testing time for universities generally, it was more important than ever to support talented young postgraduates to pursue important research.
“UWA, through its upcoming young researchers, continues to find solutions to some of the key challenges facing the well-being and sustainable use of the oceans and marine environments,” Mr Clough said.