Awards and Scholarships

Louis M Herman Research Scholarship 2020


2020 Application Deadline: 17 February, 2020


The Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship supports a research project that contributes to our understanding of either cetacean cognition and sensory perception (laboratory or field studies), or humpback whale behavioral ecology or communication. Work with other marine mammals that especially enhances our understanding of their cognitive abilities will also be considered. Eligible candidates include graduate students and those students who have completed their Masters or PhD within the past three years.


Applications for 2020 are now closed.

The application must include the following materials and be submitted by February 17, 2020. All materials must be uploaded via the upload link.

  • Cover Page and File Upload Link.
    • Applicant Name
    • Email
    • Proposal Title
    • School/Affiliation
    • Degree (include date received or anticipated graduation date)
    • Total Project Budget
    • Project Location/Laboratory
    • Project Start Date
    • Project End Date
    • Project Abstract (300 word limit)
  • Project Proposal. Describe proposed project following the labelled sections below. Proposal should not exceed 3 pages in length (Times font, 12-point type, single-spaced, 1-in margins).
    • Background. Include overarching problem/challenge research will address and literature review
    • Project Importance and Relevance. What contributions or advancements will the proposed research make to marine mammal science?  In addition, what is the role of the proposed work in enhancing our understanding of cetacean (or other marine mammal) cognition and sensory perception or humpback whale behavioral ecology or communication. Please include how your project reflects or builds upon the research and interests of Dr. Herman and/or how your career has been influenced by his work.
    • Goals and Objectives. Statement of overall goals and measurable objectives
    • Methods. Include project design, location, field site or laboratory procedures, equipment, and, analysis plan
    • Outreach Plan. Please describe how you plan to share your research progress and findings (e.g., presentations, publications, social media, etc.)
    • Project Timeline. Include a time frame for all elements of the project.
  • References Cited.
  • Project Personnel. List each key person(s) conducting the research and his/her role (e.g., Project PI, Field Leader, etc., and make sure to list yourself).
  • Project Budget. A detailed budget, including itemized justification.  Please make sure to include:
    • Budget for the full project if it exceeds the award amount
    • How the award monies will be used specifically for the proposed project
    • Information on other funding applied for or already secured
  • Current Curriculum Vitae.
  • Letters of Reference. Two (2) professional letters of reference.
    • Letters should include referee’s email address, phone number, and relationship to applicant. For students, one of these letters should be from the student’s supervisor.
  • Research Permits. Verification of necessary research permits and/or authorizations.
  • Degree. Verification that the student is currently enrolled in a university degree program or proof of a graduate degree.

The award recipient will be notified by April 16 of the year of application, with an expectation that the research project once completed will be submitted for an oral or poster presentation at the following Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.  We will award up to $500 to support travel costs contingent on an accepted submission and completed presentation.


Via email to the Awards and Scholarships Chair, Lindsay Porter (

Kenneth S. Norris Lifetime Achievement Award

The Society for Marine Mammalogy established the Kenneth S. Norris career achievement award in honour of the Society’s founding president and one of the truly great figures from our past. The Norris award is an acknowledgement of exemplary lifetime contributions to science and society through research, teaching, and service in marine mammalogy.  The Award is granted every second year, in association with the Society’s biennial conference.  The 2017 award recipient, Dr. Randy Reeves, gave a compelling plenary lecture on the plight of river dolphins and a paper on his work will be published in Marine Mammal Science in 2018.

Nominees for the Norris award are provided by the Society’s President, President-elect, Scientific Advisory Committee Chair, and Journal Editor. The award recipient is selected from this group by vote of the Board of Governors of the Society and the Board of Associate Editors of Marine Mammal Science.

The Norris Award winners are:


F.G. Wood Memorial Scholarship Award

This award is given in honor of Forest G. Wood, a founder of the Society for Marine Mammalogy and noted for his editorial skills. All students submitting manuscripts accepted for publication in Marine Mammal Science should note that they want to be considered for this award when the manuscript is submitted. The editor will select the winner from among the accepted manuscripts submitted during the interval between successive Biennial Conferences on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Costs for registration, travel, hotel and banquet plus a per diem are included.

The 2017-2019 winner is Hannah Cubaynes for her paper entitled, Whales from space: four mysticete species described using new VHR satellite imagery.

John R. Twiss Jr. Award

This award is presented to the best student manuscript submitted to Marine Mammal Science which describes innovative research related to marine mammal habitat and ecosystem conservation. All students submitting manuscripts should note that they want to be considered for this award when the manuscript is submitted. The editor will select the winner from among the accepted manuscripts submitted during the interval between successive Biennial Conferences on the Biology of Marine Mammals. There is a cash prize for the winner.

The 2017-19 winner is Guillemette Labadie for her paper entitled, First demographic insights on historically harvested and poorly known male sperm whale populations off the Crozet and Kerguelen Islands (Southern Ocean)

S. Innes Memorial Travel Bursary

On May 21, 2000, the world of marine mammal research lost two talented scientists and cherished colleagues, Stuart Innes and Malcolm Ramsay. Drs. Innes and Ramsay were conducting field research near Resolute Bay, Nunavut, Canada when their helicopter crashed. Both Stuart and Malcolm are remembered with affection and admiration for their boundless energy and devotion to their scientific endeavours in the Arctic. Stuart was a vocal advocate for supporting students in their efforts to develop a career in Arctic marine mammal research. He believed that the Biennial Marine Mammal Conferences hosted by the Society for Marine Mammalogy were a good opportunity for young researchers to learn, network, and develop enthusiasm from the leaders in the field. As a tribute to Stuart, friends and colleagues have established the “S. Innes Memorial Student Travel Bursary” to help support a student’s travel to this conference. The award is open to post-secondary students conducting marine mammal research in the Arctic.

The 2019 winner will be announced prior to the World Marine Mammal Conference

J. Stephen Leatherwood Travel Grant

Stephen Leatherwood was a vocal advocate for and a strong supporter of regionally driven research in the Asia. In 1994, Stephen facilitated the establishment of the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK), which provides funds to conservation-based research projects within Asia, with a particular emphasis on marine mammals. As a result of this support, our knowledge of Asian marine mammals has improved tremendously. The Stephen Leatherwood Travel Award is announced prior to the Biennial Conferences on the Biology of Marine Mammals so that outstanding Asian researchers might be able to present their work at the conference.  OPCFHK fund this travel award.

Past Conference Awards

See all 2017 Biennial Conference award winners, read their winning abstracts and view their presentations here.