New Zealand Marine Science Society

NZMSS Student Support 

A key objective of the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society is to encourage and assist marine research in New Zealand. The Society recognises that nurturing marine science students and young scientists is a critical first step towards achieving this goal. The Society supports student research in several ways:


NZMSS Student Research Grant

This grant is targeted at allowing graduate researchers to extend their work beyond the limits of restricted academic funding and providing exposure to outstanding young scientists. More details here.


NZMSS First Overseas Conference Travel Fund

This travel fund is targeted at allowing outstanding young scientists to present their research to an international audience at an overseas conference. Applications close 1 March and 15 August. More details are below.  You can downlaod the application form here.


NZMSS Conference Prizes

Awarded during the NZMSS annual conference

The Society encourages communication among marine scientists by holding an annual conference and awarding a range of prizes for outstanding presentations. More details here.



NZMSS Student Research Grant 

The NZMSS Student Research Grant was established by society members during the 2006 Annual General Meeting. The grant is intended to help graduate researchers take their work further than academic funding allows and to provide exposure for their research. Applications from a broad range of marine disciplines are encouraged.  

Applications are typically open from October to early December.  Check back later in the year for more details.

Grants are awarded as funds allow. For this financial year we are offering one Student Research Grant of $3000.


  1. Applicants must be enrolled for a postgraduate degree at a New Zealand institution.
  2. During the tenure of the research grant the applicant must be an enrolled student and a member of NZMSS.
  3. Funds may be used for any purpose that supports the applicant’s research.


  1. Recipients will present their findings during a session at an NZMSS annual conference (could be a plenary session). Conference attendance will be at their own expense, but the conference registration fee will be waived.
  2. Recipients will provide a two page summary of their findings to the NZMSS Secretary in a style suitable for a press release within one year of the research being completed.
  3. All publications and presentations will acknowledge that the research was “supported by a Student Research Grant from the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society”.
  4. The applicant and supervisor will provide a signed statement as to the use of the funds within one year of the grant being awarded. 


Each application should be submitted as two TYPED documents (in Microsoft Word .doc or Adobe .pdf format) and emailed to

Document 1: Scientific Proposal

  • This document must be anonymous and must not include any information that identifies the applicant or their institution
  • This document is limited to two pages of single-spaced 12 pt text
  • The document must be named with a distinctive title unique to the proposal
  • The text should identify what gaps in knowledge the research aims to fill, why these are important to New Zealand, and why the research should be done now  

Document 2: Applicant Details

  • Contact details of the applicant and their host institution
  • Contact details of the applicant’s supervisor(s)
  • Single page CV of applicant
  • Single page CV of supervisor(s)
  • Why the applicants are well placed to do the proposed research
  • What the funds will be used for 
  • Supplementary material may be provided as an Appendix if necessary
  • This document is limited to four pages of single-spaced 12 pt text (excluding appendices)


  1. Scientific Proposals will be independently reviewed by at least three referees (NZMSS Council members) not associated with any proposals. 
  2. The referees will not confer until they have assessed and ranked the Scientific Proposals independently.
  3. Referees will only view Applicant Details once all referees have conferred and agreed on the ranking of the Scientific Proposals.
Proposed assessment criteria (not all are expected to apply to each application):
  • Quality of the research
  • Contribution to the state of knowledge of New Zealand marine ecosystems and/or potential adverse effects on marine ecosystems
  • Advancement of marine science in New Zealand
  • Identification and management of emerging issues
  • Contribution to the uptake of science in marine policy, resource management, conservation and the marine business sector



2016: Thao Nguyen, Ph.D. Candidate, Auckland University of Technology - Development of a novel metabolomics approach to study summer mortalities in Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas)

2013: Alix Laferriere, Ph.D. Candidate, Victoria University of Wellington - Unraveling the Biological Mechanism for Stunted Paua Stocks

2012: Kirsten Rodgers, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Auckland -  A novel system for measuring the photosynthetic rates of kelp and its application to studying current and future stressors on kelp forest ecosystems

2011: Danilo Pecorino, Ph.D. Candidate,  University of Otago - Population biology and larval ecology of the sea urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii (Agassiz 1863) in New Zealand under the influence of Global Climate Change and a comparison with the Australian population


NZMSS First Overseas Conference Travel Fund 


Applications close 1 March and 15 August

The First Overseas Conference Travel Fund (FOCTF) was established by members of the Society to help young researchers present their work at an overseas conference. The Society recognises that New Zealand's geographic isolation can disadvantage emerging researchers. Outstanding research deserves to be disseminated in global venues and events, and researchers must interact with other professionals to further their knowledge and careers as marine scientists. The FOCTF was established to achieve these goals.


There are two rounds of the award in each calendar year. Applications close on 1 March and 15 August each year. The FOCTF application form in Microsoft Word format and can be typed directly into and emailed to (see below instructions).



  1. Applicants must be enrolled in a postgraduate course of study in some aspect of marine science at a New Zealand institution.
  2. Applicants must be a current member of NZMSS and greater weight will be given to students who have already presented a paper or poster at an NZMSS conference.
  3. Applications will be accepted only from members proposing to present a paper or poster at their FIRST overseas conference.  However, applicants who have completed a previous degree overseas and attended a conference in that country will also be accepted.


  1. The award will normally be made twice a year.
  2. The March round supports attendance at conferences from April to September, the August round for conferences October to March.
  3. The award may not be made if there are no suitable applicants.
  4. The number and value of awards allocated following each of the two application deadlines will be at the discretion of the Council, and dependent on available funds.
  5. Awards for conferences in the Pacific (including Australia) will not exceed NZ$1500. Awards for conferences elsewhere in the world will not exceed NZ$2000.

Send your completed form as an email attachment to

Recipients and Reports


Greer Gilmer
Rosalyn Putland
Rob Major
Nuwan De Silva
Becky Focht




Emily Douglas
Rebecca Gladstone-Gallagher


Tiffany Stephens
Matthew Desmond
Eimear Egan 
Cesar Cardenas


Racio Suarez
Peter Wilson
Cliasse Niemand
Rachel Harris


Danilo Pecorino
Alfroza Bulbul
Jennifer Skilton
Paul Sourav
Jessie Kelly
Chris Cornwell


Tommaso Alestro
Sergio Carrasco
Elanor Miller 
Adam Smith
Mareike Sudek 
Andrea Varela
Emma Beatson


Alejandra Perea
Sue Adkins
Lorna Depp
Kathryn Lister
Jenni Stanley
Hazel Needham
Hannah Jones
Denham Cook
Celine Reisser



NZMSS Annual Conference Prizes 

The Society and Conference Organising Committee award a number of prizes for outstanding oral and poster presentations at the NZMSS annual conference. Each prize has its own eligibility criteria and may or may not be awarded at each conference.


2016 Joint conference with AMSA, Wellington

Best NZMSS oral presentation (supported by NIWA): Lindsay Wickman
Runner up NZMSS oral presentation (supported by Cawthron): Melissa Marquez
Best NZMSS poster presentation (supported by VUW): Susan Wells
Innovators Award (courtesy of Plant and Food research): Jared Kibele
Best student talk making the best use of quatitative methodology (supported by MPI): Eliza Oldach

Best Applied Environmental Science presentations (supported by the CSIG): Stine Sorensen
Poster award placing emphasis on originality and presentation (supported by the NZLMFR): Willemien de Kock
Technology award (supported by Zebra tech): Tom Brough
Marine Protected areas award (supported by DoC): Alix Laferriere
Hickmand Prize for best student paper in marine aquaculture research (supported by NZMSS): Paul South

2012 Joint conference with AMSA, Hobart

NIWA Prize for Best Student Talk: Winner:  Katherine Baer Jones, Otago University (Modelled biological and physico-chemical controls on observed pCO2 across the coastally oriented Subtropical Frontal Zone)
NIWA Prize for Best Student Talk: Runner Up:  Kirsten Rodgers, Auckland University (A novel system for measuring the photosynthetic rates of kelp and its application to studying current and future stressors on kelp forest ecosystems)

MPI Prize Best Student Talk Quantitative Methods D’Arcy Webber, Victoria University. (Broad scale management in spatially heterogeneous fisheries. Does it matter?)
MPI Prize Best Student Poster Quantitative Methods: Gayle Somerville, Otago University. (Exploring harvest regulations of New Zealand abalone (Haliotis iris) via population modelling)

NIWA Prize for Best Student Poster Winner:  Esther Stuck, Otago University. (Effects of ocean acidification on intracellular pH and development: comparisons between tropical, temperate and polar echinoderm species)
NIWA Prize for Best Student Poster Runner Up:  Rocio Suarez, Otago University. (The ecological role of the invasive kelp Undaria pinnatifida in southern New Zealand)

NZMSS Travel Grant Recipients:

Tommaso Alestra
Katherine Baer
Heather Constable
Kathryn Lister
Julene Marr
Matt Pine
Kirsten Rodgers
Jennifer Skilton
Adam Smith
Darcy Webber
Peter Wilson
Tommaso Alestra
Katherine Baer
Heather Constable
Kathryn Lister
Julene Marr
Matt Pine
Kirsten Rodgers
Jennifer Skilton
Adam Smith
Darcy Webber
Peter Wilson

2011 Conference, Stewart Island

*All prizes sponsored by the Royal Society of New Zealand
First Place Oral Presenter- Phil Ross, University of Waikato
Runner Up Oral Presenter- Paul Caiger, University of Auckland
Runner Up Oral Presenter- Pete Wilson, Auckland University of Technology
First Place Poster Presenter- Patricia Mockett, University of Otago
Runner Up Poster Presenter- Zack Powell, University of Otago
Runner Up Poster Presenter- Zeenatul Basher, University of Auckland

2010 Conference, Wellington
MFISH: Best use of Quantitative Methodolgy - D'Arcy Webber

MFISH: Best paper in Sustainability of Marine Resources - Dorita Starzak
MFISH: Best paper Assessing Contribution of Biodiversity to Healthy Aquatic Environment - Hannah Jones

NIWA: Best paper on Evolutionary Systematics - Joe Buchanan
NIWA: Best paper on Oceanographic Research - not awarded this year

SEAFIC: Best paper demonstrating Research Creativity - Brian Miller
SEAFIC: Hickman Prize in Aquaculture - Lauren Fletcher
DOC: Best paper Advancing Marine Conservation - Jade Berman
NZMSS: Poster merit prizes - Jean Davis & Tom Hawkins
NZMSS: Best Poster - Todd Beuamont
NZMSS: Oral merit prizes - Alejandra Perez-Blazquez & Anja Studer
NZMSS: Best Oral Presentation - Daniel Logan