Category Archives: Funding and Awards

2022 Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship Winners

In 2022, the Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship received 17 proposals from Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong SAR, Madagascar, Mexico, Nicaragua, Scotland and the United States of America. The quality of submissions was extremely high, so much so that the Awards Committee is delighted to announce that this year there are two successful applicants; “Eavesdropping on Whales – Does Humpback Whale Song Convey Genetic Quality?” submitted by Franca Eichenberger of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland and “Exploring vocal development in humpback whales” submitted by Julia Zeh of Syracuse University, the United States of America

Click here to read the winning abstracts and find out more about Franca and Julia’s winning proposals. Congratulations to both our winners and we wish you success as your projects progress.
Thank you,
Lindsay Porter
Chair, Awards and Scholarships Committee
Society for Marine Mammalogy

 

Find out more about Louis M. Herman’s work and his legacy at the Dolphin Institute:
https://www.facebook.com/TheDolphinInstitute/
https://www.instagram.com/thedolphininstitute/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCodRoeOsT70S-AS5RV17NAA

Dr. Randy Wells Receives the SMM Kenneth S. Norris Lifetime Achievement Award

(This news item is written in collaboration with Sondra Katzen, Chicago Zoological Society)

The Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM) announced the 2021/2022 that Dr. Randall Wells, vice president of marine mammal conservation and director of CZS’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, received the Kenneth S. Norris Lifetime Achievement Award. The announcement was made earlier this month during a virtual members’ meeting.

“A Norris Award winner’s career has significantly altered the course of marine mammal science— through their science and deeds they have made our field substantially better and more complete than if they had never turned their energy towards marine mammals,” said Charles Littnan, president of the Society for Marine Mammalogy. “Dr. Wells far exceeds this bar. His contributions to our understanding of dolphin biology, ecology and behavior and his commitment to providing opportunity and his knowledge to young researchers is unparalleled. He has inspired generations of researchers and his influence will be felt for generations to come.”

The award, which is named after the SMM’s founding president, acknowledges individuals for their exemplary lifetime contributions to science and society through research, teaching, and service in marine mammalogy. It is awarded every two years and is the highest honor bestowed on members of the our SMM community.

“I am truly honored by this award, and humbled by the list of folks who have received it before me,” said Wells. “As someone who was a Norris doctoral student; who worked with him for 12 years, including a stint as his dolphin lab manager at Santa Cruz; and who had the opportunity to see his incredibly insightful mind at work time and time again, unraveling dolphin mysteries, this award has particular meaning to me. I have to credit most of the achievements of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program over the past 50-plus years to the efforts of a superb team of staff, students, and volunteers, as well as the support of the Chicago Zoological Society.”

In addition to being the current director of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, Dr. Wells co-founded the program in 1970, making it the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population. Over the years, he and his team have made many contributions to knowledge of bottlenose dolphin behavior, social structure, life history, health, ecology, communication, and the effects of human activities on these complex marine mammals. The team also helps rescue entangled or injured dolphins, and has trained more than 400 researchers and students from more than 30 countries in dolphin research and conservation techniques that are now being applied to protect species around the globe.

Highly respected in his field, Dr. Wells also has assisted in studies, rescue efforts, and consultations for other marine life, including the highly endangered vaquita in the Gulf of California; spinner dolphins in Hawaii; Guiana dolphins in Brazil; blue, gray, bowhead, and humpback whales; manatees in Florida and Belize, Mekong River dolphins in Cambodia, and franciscana dolphins off the coasts of Argentina and Brazil, to name a few.

He has been author or co-author of several books, more than 290 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and more than 100 technical reports. Additionally, he has been a presenter or co-author of more than 700 presentations at professional meetings as well as invited public and university lectures.

Dr. Wells also has held leadership roles in several organizations—president for the Society for Marine Mammalogy during 2010-2012 and past-chair of the NOAA/USFWS Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events—and serves on the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals for the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, on the NOAA/USFWS Atlantic Scientific Review Group, on IUCN’s Cetacean Specialist Group, and on the Steering Group for the national Animal Telemetry Network.

As a Norris Award winner, Randy will be providing a plenary talk on a topic of his choosing, and I am certain it something not to be missed.  There will also be a more formal award ceremony at that time so that we can honor Randy and his achievements appropriately.  So congratulations once again to Randy and thank you for your tireless work and continued contributions to our field.

Final Week to Apply for the 2022 Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship

Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship 2022

This is the final week to apply for the 2022 cycle of the Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship

Criteria
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. The award is for a maximum of USD 5000 (~AUD6900; ~Mexican Peso 100,000; ~Fijian Dollar 10,000; ~EUR 4500). Details can also be found on the SMM website.

The application must include the following materials and be submitted by Monday, 7 February 2022, via the upload link here. (https://forms.gle/LG21rZYPBbiEggGp6)

Materials required

  • Cover Page (form)
    • 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 Abstract (300 word limit).  Briefly summarize your project.  (This should be the same as the language you enter in the form).

 

  • 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. If you are working in a laboratory setting, provide information on the research subjects, including their research experience (e.g., # of subjects, sex, age, years of research experience, etc.).
    • 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 their 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 the referee’s email address, phone number, and relationship to the 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.

Evaluation Categories and Scoring

  • Importance and Relevance. Is this project likely to make a minor contribution/advancement to the relevant areas or a major one? How well does the project address the criteria of the award (above)? Is the proposal focused on a topic directly related to Dr. Herman’s research and findings and does the proposal specifically describe this relevance in detail?  (15 points)
  • Scientific Quality.  This criterion is meant to address whether the specific aspects of the proposal are appropriate to achieve the stated goals and objectives of the proposal.  Examples of project aspects to consider are the overall project design (is it well thought out and logical?),  field and/or lab methods (best practice? the right ones to use?), equipment and/or facilities or study site (right ones for the job?), study subjects if working in a laboratory setting (are these experienced or naive animals?), analyses (appropriate for the research design, rigorous, state-of-the art?) (15 points)
  • Quality of Writing and Presentation. Is the proposal well-written and clear? Are all required aspects of the proposal present and easy to understand? (5 points)
  • Likelihood of Success.  Considering Scientific Quality, applicant’s CV and other key personnel on the project, methods, timeline, funding, etc., how likely is it that the project will achieve its goals and desired outcomes. (5 points)
  • Outreach Plan.  Is the outreach plan appropriate and meaningful?  What kind of reach will these findings have and is it appropriate to the goals of the research?  (5 points)
  • Budget.  Is the budget appropriate and justified?  Does the funding play a meaningful role in the overall success of the project? (5 points)
  • References. Are the references strong, average, or below average in support of the applicant and the project? (5 points)

Award Recipient Notification
The award recipient will be notified by 16 April 2022 with an expectation that the awardee will submit to present their research project at the subsequent 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.

Enquiries
Via email to the Awards and Scholarships Chair, Lindsay Porter (awardschair@marinemammalscience.org)

Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship 2022 now accepting applications

Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship 2022

Application OPEN NOW

Louis M. Herman, Ph.D. and Emeritus Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, will always be remembered for his innovative, creative, and scientifically rigorous approach to the study of the marine mammals he so loved, and for the future generations of marine mammal researchers he and his work continue to inspire.

Criteria
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. The award is for a maximum of USD 5000 (~AUD6900; ~Mexican Peso 100,000; ~Fijian Dollar 10,000; ~EUR 4500). Details can also be found on the SMM website.

The application must include the following materials and be submitted by Monday, 7 February 2022, via the upload link here. (https://forms.gle/LG21rZYPBbiEggGp6)

Materials required

  • Cover Page (form)
    • 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. If you are working in a laboratory setting, provide information on the research subjects, including their research experience (e.g., # of subjects, sex, age, years of research experience, etc.).
    • 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 their 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 the referee’s email address, phone number, and relationship to the 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.

Evaluation Categories and Scoring

  • Importance and Relevance. Is this project likely to make a minor contribution/advancement to the relevant areas or a major one? How well does the project address the criteria of the award (above)? Is the proposal focused on a topic directly related to Dr. Herman’s research and findings and does the proposal specifically describe this relevance in detail?  (15 points)
  • Scientific Quality.  This criterion is meant to address whether the specific aspects of the proposal are appropriate to achieve the stated goals and objectives of the proposal.  Examples of project aspects to consider are the overall project design (is it well thought out and logical?),  field and/or lab methods (best practice? the right ones to use?), equipment and/or facilities or study site (right ones for the job?), study subjects if working in a laboratory setting (are these experienced or naive animals?), analyses (appropriate for the research design, rigorous, state-of-the art?) (15 points)
  • Quality of Writing and Presentation. Is the proposal well-written and clear? Are all required aspects of the proposal present and easy to understand? (5 points)
  • Likelihood of Success.  Considering Scientific Quality, applicant’s CV and other key personnel on the project, methods, timeline, funding, etc., how likely is it that the project will achieve its goals and desired outcomes. (5 points)
  • Outreach Plan.  Is the outreach plan appropriate and meaningful?  What kind of reach will these findings have and is it appropriate to the goals of the research?  (5 points)
  • Budget.  Is the budget appropriate and justified?  Does the funding play a meaningful role in the overall success of the project? (5 points)
  • References. Are the references strong, average, or below average in support of the applicant and the project? (5 points)

Award Recipient Notification
The award recipient will be notified by 16 April 2022 with an expectation that the awardee will submit to present their research project at the subsequent 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.

Enquiries
Via email to the Awards and Scholarships Chair, Lindsay Porter (awardschair@marinemammalscience.org)

Emily B. Shane Award Now Accepting Proposals


Greetings, members!

The EBS Award 2021-22 is now looking for proposals. This fund is open to all Society members for projects that focus on free-ranging odontocete and sirenian species.

Projects with clear conservation priorities for populations or habitat critical to these species will be scored highly. Research that also positively impacts local communities will also be given special consideration.

The award is for USD 10,000 (eqv. ~Colombian Pesos (COP) 38,000,000, ~Euro 8,500, ~Indian Rupees (INR) 735,500, ~ Chinese Yuan (RMB) 64,500, Australian Dollar (AUD) 13,500).

Please submit your proposal before 12 November 2021

Find out about eligibility and how to apply here. 

Thank you,
Lindsay Porter
Chair, Awards and Scholarships Committee
Society for Marine Mammalogy

Dr. John Wang Receives the 2021 Society for Marine Mammalogy’s Conservation Merit Prize

Cetacean biologist heralded for over 30 years of research and conservation efforts.

Every two years in the lead up to the Society for Marine Mammalogy conference, our Conservation Committee considers potential awardees for the Conservation Merit Prize. The Conservation Merit Prize is public recognition given to a person, team, or organization contributing toward solving a pressing conservation problem for marine mammals, either ongoing or resulting in a conservation success. The prize is only given when the Conservation Committee finds a case of exceptional merit and may not be awarded at every biennial.

After reviewing an impressive slate of nominees, the Society Conservation Committee and Board selected Dr. John Wang as this year’s recipient.

John Y. Wang, Ph.D.
2021 SMM Conservation Merit Prize Winner
• CetAsia Research Group Ltd – Chief Biologist
• Trent University – Professor, Department of Biology
• National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium of Taiwan – Adjunct Researcher

John’s work started in the chilly waters of Canada’s Bay of Fundy in the late 1980’s. Donning a wetsuit and snorkeling equipment, John jumped into herring weirs, a fixed fishing trap, to help fishermen release harbor porpoise. The fishermen used seine nets to remove herring that had aggregated in the weirs and porpoise would become trapped in the nets as they were hauled in. That work quickly pivoted to focusing on harbor porpoise bycatch in the gillnet fishery and lead Dr. Wang to start the first groundfish gillnet observer program in Canada.

In the mid-1990’s the global issue of cetacean bycatch pulled John beyond the borders of Canada to the other side of the planet when he started working on understanding cetacean fauna and bycatch throughout Taiwan. Early investigations consisted of visiting fishing ports around the country, recording carcasses, and conducting interviews to understand local fisheries. He attended stranding events and visited various scientific and academic institutions to examine their specimen collections. These efforts resulted in one clear conclusion – bycatch was a significant conservation issue for cetaceans in Taiwan. Specifically, large-mesh pelagic driftnets were clearly a serious problem as well as smaller-scale gillnet fisheries throughout Taiwan with a total annual cetacean bycatch in the thousands to tens of thousands per year for Taiwanese fisheries. His path for cetacean conservation in Taiwan was set.

In 2002, John was encouraged by a good friend and colleague to conduct exploratory surveys in the inshore waters along the heavily-industrialized and developed coast of western Taiwan. It was during these surveys that the endemic and highly restricted Taiwanese white (or humpback) dolphin subspecies was discovered. Given the status of the subspecies and the many threats it faced, John decided to put the driftnet bycatch issue on the backburner as urgent attention and focus on the Taiwanese humpback dolphin was the priority. For more information about the Taiwaianese humpback dolphins, threats and recovery actions please visit the IUCN Red List.

To this day, conservation of the Taiwanese humpback dolphin still occupies most of John’s attention. However, his expertise and decades of experience working with small cetaceans and local communities/fisheries has proven valuable to other ongoing bycatch reduction and other conservation efforts around the globe including finless porpoise bycatch in several areas in east Asia, underwater noise and cetaceans, Indo-Pacific humpback conservation in other parts of east Asia and river dolphins in Brazil.

Dr. Wang has made a career out of working on challenging conservation issues, many of which are ongoing – taking years or decades to affect change. We asked John why he does his work and what kept him motivated to continue his efforts all these years. His response spoke of a deeply seated belief that scientists have a duty to use their abilities to better the natural world.

“ Other living things have no “voices” (or votes) to choose not to be exploited and to be driven to extinction so we should lend them our voices. The voices of scientists are often “louder” and will be given more attention by others. Although the main responsibility of a scientist is to conduct solid, objective research to better our knowledge of the universe, being a scientist is a small subset of the responsibilities of being human. Humans have a much larger responsibility to not stay quiet and voiceless when we possess specialized/privileged knowledge of conservation issues (some of us may be the only people who know of some issues) and this responsibility supersedes those of being scientists. It is clear that there is no reason why scientists cannot advocate for conservation and environment issues while continuing to fulfill his/her role as a scientist and maintain a high level of credibility and scientific integrity.”

As far as what motivates him, it is about knowing he is doing what he believes is right.

“Working on conservation issues is difficult because there is often strong opposition, the chance of failure is high and rewards or accolades are few (if any). But it’s the right thing to do and being self-satisfied with doing the right thing is the strongest motivation.”

The Conservation Merit Prize includes travel to the award presentation at the Biennial Conference. Conservation Merit Prize nominees may be nominated at any time for the next upcoming Biennial Conference by any active SMM member and the SMM Conservation Committee selects award recipient(s) with the approval of the Board of Governors.

SMM Conservation Fund Now Accepting Proposals

The Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM) is now accepting proposals for projects under its new Conservation Fund. Proposals for up to US$25K can be submitted between now and 31 July 2021. Proposals should be focused on projects that can catalyze real conservation action for the world’s most endangered marine mammal species. Details on the application process can be found here. Proposals will be judged by the SMM Conservation Committee and Committee of Scientific Advisors and awards will be announced at the SMM member’s meeting at the Marine Mammal Conference in December.

Dr. Danielle Kreb On Winning the SMM Conservation Merit Prize

Thank you for submitting your inspiring nominations for the 2021 SMM Conservation Merit Prize winner. The Conservation Committee is now reviewing all nominations. 

Meanwhile, here is a video from the 2019 SMM Conservation Merit Prize winner, Dr. Danielle Kreb, discussing how much receiving the prize has meant to her work and giving us a peek into her impactful conservation efforts in Indonesia. 

Reminder to Submit Small Grants In Aid of Research Applications by June 30

The Society for Marine Mammalogy would like to inform eligible members (see below) that this year’s Small Grants in Aid of Research application window closes on 30 June 2021. The Committee of Scientific Advisors will review applications and make recommendations on funding with decisions announced in early September 2021. The awards are up to US $2,000. Up to 25% of the budget may be used as stipend. All three of the following eligibility requirements must be met:

  1. Be a member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy.
  2. Be a national of any country not on this Excluded Country List: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.

Preference is given to early career researchers such as students and researchers with less than 5 years post-doctoral experience.

  1. Be conducting research in a country not on the above Excluded Country List.

The Small Grant web page provides full information, links to past successful applications, a list of recipients from prior years and their completed project reports, and a link to the application itself. Please be mindful of the word limits in the various sections of the application.

Last year 17 of 55 applicants from 20 counties received funding ranging from $793 to $2,000 USD.

For technical questions regarding the online application, please email the Society webmaster at admin@marinemammalscience.org

For all other questions about the grants, please contact:

Laura J. May-Collado
Chair
Committee of Scientific Advisors
Society for Marine Mammalogy
science@marinemammalscience.org