Category Archives: Funding and Awards

Louis M Herman Research Scholarship DEADLINE EXTENSION



The deadline for submissions for the Louis M Herman Research Scholarship has been extended to

Friday 16th February 2018 (Hawaii midnight: GMT -10 hours)

See here for the award announcement at SMM Halifax 2017


Louis M. Herman, Ph.D. and Emeritus Professor at University of Hawaii at Manoa, was a pioneer and trailblazer in research on dolphin sensory perception and cognition, and humpback whale behavioral ecology. This work that was carried out through the world renowned Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory (KBMML) that he established in 1969 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He also co-founded The Dolphin Institute (TDI), dedicated to dolphins and whales through education, research, and conservation. KBMML/TDI’s findings on marine mammals were published in over 160 scientific papers and featured in more than 230 national and international media articles, television and radio programs and documentary films. Dr. Herman’s life’s work significantly influenced marine mammal conservation. It also had an enormous impact on the lives and careers of the countless interns, undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, visiting faculty, and volunteers from around the world, all of whom played important roles in the unique research team he assembled over more than four decades. Dr. Herman 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 inspire. Read more about Dr. Herman’s legacy here.


Dr. Herman’s family, colleagues and friends are establishing the Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship to honor his legacy by promoting the type of research that was the focus of his groundbreaking studies. The Scholarship, given every two years, will be for US$5000. The scholarship will support 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 application must include the following materials and be submitted by 16 February  2018.

·       A proposal, not exceeding 5 pages in length, excluding cover page and list of references (Times font, 12 point type, single-spaced, 1-in margins). Briefly outline the proposed research including: objectives of the study, relevant published background, methods, role of the proposed work enhancing understanding of cetacean (or other marine mammal) cognition or humpb­­­­ack whale behavioral ecology or communication, the timeframe for the research, person(s) conducting the research and role of each, and literature cited.

·       A detailed budget, including other funding applied for, or already held, for the proposed research

·       Necessary research permits or authorization

·       Current curriculum vitae

·       Three references, with e-mail address, phone number, and relationship to applicant; and a letter of support from supervisor for students (letter of support from supervisor can serve as one of the three required references)

·       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 (

Dr. Randy Reeves – 2017 Norris Award Winner

Randy Reeves, 2017 Norris Award Winner

The Board of Governors and Board of Associate Editors have selected Randy Reeves as the winner of the Kenneth S. Norris Lifetime Achievement Award. This award was established in honor of the Society’s founding president as an acknowledgement of exemplary lifetime contributions to science and society through research, teaching, and service in marine mammal science. The award is granted every second year, in association with the Society’s Biennial Conference.

Randall Reeves was born, raised, and partially educated in Nebraska. He received degrees from the University of Nebraska, Princeton, and McGill. After becoming hooked on whales in the mid-1970s, he began a 40+-year engagement with marine mammal research and conservation, initially as a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution, later based at the Arctic Biological Station near Montreal, and most recently out of his home in Hudson, Quebec. Besides participating in field projects on bowheads and narwhals in Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, and Greenland, on right whales and other cetaceans in the North Atlantic, and on river dolphins and coastal cetaceans in Asia and South America, he has spent a great deal of time in archives investigating the history of marine mammal exploitation. As chair of the IUCN/SSC Cetacean Specialist Group since 1996, he has been responsible for preparing and evaluating Red List assessments, drafting conservation action plans, and advising government agencies, intergovernmental bodies, and non-governmental organizations. He has published numerous journal articles, book chapters, and books on marine mammal conservation and science and is a long-time member of the IWC Scientific Committee and of Mexico’s vaquita recovery committee. Reeves also chairs the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission’s Committee of Scientific Advisers.

As this year’s honoree, Randy will deliver a plenary lecture at the Biennial Conference in Halifax and will write an associated paper for Marine Mammal Science. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Reeves on this award.

A Fun Way to Support SMM Student Travel Grants

Dear SMM members and conference attendees,

October is fast approaching, and with it comes our biennial conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia! We’re looking forward to learning about all of the amazing marine mammal research you’ve been conducting. Additionally, over 300 SMM student members will be presenting at the 2017 conference. However, the costs associated with conference transportation and accommodation are significant, especially on a student budget.

In an effort to raise additional student funds, conference organizers, Tonya and Hilary (Tonya and Hilary Plan Smm2017), as well as members of the conference organizing committee and the student affairs committee, will collectively run over 50 kilometers in the Halifax-based, pirate-themed Maritime Race Weekend on September 16, 2017.

If you are able, please help support the development of emerging SMM marine researchers by sponsoring our runners as they work to raise funds for travel grants for students presenting at the upcoming conference. Every donation helps!

Donate today at:

Thank you!
-The SMM Student Affairs Committee

Coll Perske Memorial Fund for Marine Mammals Student Presentation Award(s): Call for Applications (Due July 12, 2017)

On April 28, 2014, we lost an amazing friend and colleague, Coll Gordon Perske. To honor Coll’s life and unwavering dedication to marine mammals, the National Marine Mammal Foundation established the Coll Perske Memorial Fund for Marine Mammals.  The mission of the fund is to improve the lives of marine mammals, with a focus on California sea lions, through scientific research, education, and promotion of ocean stewardship.  The first project launched by the Coll Perske Memorial Fund is the Perske Pinniped Health Project.  The Perske Pinniped Health Project will focus on research that continues to enhance the health and welfare of all pinnipeds, with a special emphasis on the California sea lion.

Award Description

The Coll Perske Memorial Fund will be providing two $200 awards for the 22nd Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (October 22-27, 2017). Awards will be given to student members (undergraduate or graduate) of the Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM) that are selected for oral presentations regarding research with pinnipeds.

Award winners will be chosen based on the quality of their abstracts, and the alignment of their research with the interests of the Coll Perske Memorial Fund (see Special consideration will be given to research projects with California sea lions, which were of special importance to Coll.

To apply, please send the following material to by July 12, 2017:

  1. A copy of the abstract submitted to the SMM conference
  2. Proof of student registration for the SMM conference
  3. Proof of acceptance for an oral presentation

Award winners will be notified by August 2017.

For more information please visit

Smith Fellows 2018 Call for Proposals Announced

The Society for Conservation Biology is pleased to solicit applications for the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program. These two year postdoctoral fellowships provide support for outstanding early-career scientists who want to better link conservation science and theory with policy and management, improving and expanding their research skills while directing their efforts towards conservation problems of pressing concern for the United States.

Click here to read more.

2017 WDC Bharathi Viswanathan Award for Innovative and Non-Invasive Research

WDC is delighted to announce the 2017 WDC Bharathi Viswanathan Award for Innovative and Non-Invasive Research. WDC strives to ensure that non-invasive research methods are promoted as a guiding principle, both for the organisation and the researchers that we fund.

 Up to £5,000 is available for the recipient of this annual award. The only restrictions that apply are that the project must utilize only non-invasive techniques and ultimately aim to benefit the conservation management or welfare of whales and/or dolphins. Preference will be given to projects that demonstrate the use of either novel techniques, or existing techniques used in novel circumstances.

 Applications must be on a WDC Research Award Form ( OR ) and will be accepted at any time until the closing date, mid-day (GMT) April 24th 2017. The award recipient will be chosen by May 22nd 2017. All applicants will be notified whether successful or not.

Through this Award, WDC aims to provide a platform for developing new non-invasive research methodologies and innovative approaches towards studying cetaceans.

 Please visit our website for more details

Good luck,

John Heyning Award Winner 2016

The John E. Heyning Award is for the best proposal received from an established researcher to investigate any area of cetacean integrative biology that relates to diverse aspects of biology within an evolutionary context. Many thanks to the review committee who assessed the five applicants submitted in 2016.


The winner is  Rachel. A. Racicot 

Predicting hearing sensibilities of beaked whales using inner ear morphology

EBS Award Winners 2016

The Emily B. Shane Award (EBS) supports conservation-oriented, non-harmful field research on free-ranging Odontocetes and Sirenians. The award honours Emily B. Shane (1924-1995), a fine amateur naturalist and dedicated conservationist. There were more than 30 eligible applicants for the 2016 awards and many thanks to the two review teams who assessed the proposals.

The 2016 winners are:
Shambhu Paudel

Understanding the effects of artisanal fishing on the ecology of Ganges River dolphin in Nepal






Federico Secunza
Filling a Conservation Gap: Bycatch estimates of the Franciscana dolphin in southern Brazil

2016 Small Grants-in-Aid of Research Recipients

Forty-eight applications from 15 countries were received for the 2016 SMM Small Grants-in-Aid of Research program. The Society was able to fund 12 of the applications. All applicants received valued feedback on their proposals from the members of the Committee of Scientific Advisors who evaluated the applications. The award recipients will be conducting a range of research on marine mammal science and conservation as indicated by the following list of applicants and projects funded.

See the list of 2016 Small Grants-in-Aid Research Recipients here.