Student Research Grant

Student Research Grant applications are not currently open

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.


Objectives of the student grant

  • To advance the study of marine science, and to encourage research of high scientific merit in New Zealand
  • To stimulate novel research involving graduate students in New Zealand
  • Assist graduate students to take their work further than academic funding allows
  • To provide exposure for graduate research within New Zealand and abroad

Grants are awarded as funds allow.


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 three pages of single-spaced 12 pt text (excluding references)
  • 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
  • The text should also outline why the applicants are well placed to do the research, and provide an explanation of the methods and analysis, what the funds will be used for and how this additional funding will extend the scope of the research.

Document 2: Applicant details

  • Contact details of the applicant and their host institution
  • Contact details of the applicant’s supervisor(s)
  • This document is limited to one page of single-spaced 12pt text.



Applicants must be enrolled for a postgraduate degree at a New Zealand institution.

Applicants must be a current member of NZMSS

  • During the tenure of the research grant the applicant must be an enrolled student and a member of NZMSS.
  • 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.


  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.



Gabrielle Keeler-May

Ph.D. candidate, University of Otago – “Community-led research and control of the invasive seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, in southern New Zealand Customary Protected Areas (CPAs)”

Eliana Ferretti

Ph.D candidate, University of Auckland – “Weaving together the threads of ecological restoration and marine ecotourism to implement the environmental agenda”

Saskia Foreman

Ph.D candidate, University of Otago – “Cumulative Effects of Microplastics and Nitrogen Loading on Microphytobenthos and Macomona Lilianna


Camille Baettig

Ph.D. candidate, University of Auckland – “Toxicity of microplastics and dibutyl phthalate on the green-lipped mussel, Perna canaliculus, after individual and combined exposure”



Dallas Jack Hamilton

Ph.D. candidate, University of Waikato – “Drivers of long-term carbon burial in New Zealand estuaries”

William Pearman

Ph.D. candidate, University of Otago – “Macroalgal microbiomes: do host associated microbiomes facilitate environmental tolerances”


Timothy Thomson

Ph.D. candidate, University of Waikato – “The role of mangrove soil microbial communities in regulating ecosystem functions in response to nutrient enrichment”


Mallory Sea

Ph.D. candidate, University of Auckland – “Are Current Perna canaliculus Restoration Projects ‘Successful’? Utilizing Reference Systems to Define Success”



Matthew Bennion

Ph.D. candidate, University of Waikato – “Gas bubble disease and rickettsiosis in New Zealand surf clams”



Irene Middleton

Ph.D. Candidate, Massey University – “Marine debris: An underappreciated habitat for juvenile fishes in New Zealand’s pelagic”


Thao Nguyen

Ph.D. Candidate, Auckland University of Technology – “Development of a novel metabolomics approach to study summer mortalities in Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas)”


Alix Laferriere

Ph.D. Candidate, Victoria University of Wellington – “Unraveling the Biological Mechanism for Stunted Paua Stocks”


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”


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”