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Society for Marine Mammalogy

Awards and Scholarships

Emily B. Shane Memorial Award

Supports conservation-oriented, non-harmful research on free-ranging odontocetes and sirenians.

Excellence in Science Communication Award

Presented to the best non-student poster and best non-student oral presentation, at each Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, which demonstrate creative and effective communication techniques. All non-student presentations will be considered for this award.

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. The winner will present the paper at the opening plenary session of the biennial conference. Costs for registration, travel, hotel and banquet plus a per diem are included.

Frederic Fairfield Memorial Award

The Fairfield Award will be given to a student at each Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in memory of Frederic Fairfield, a marine mammal scientist who had a passion for innovative research methods. The purpose of the award is to recognize and support young scientists (students) who have developed or applied pioneering techniques or research tools for studying marine mammals.

All students who indicate that wish to be considered for student awards on the Biennial Conference abstract submission form will be considered for the award. Only those individuals who are directly involved with the award are excluded. Both poster and oral presentations will be considered. The work may be either field, laboratory or a combination. The award winner will be determined based on the submitted abstract and on the content and quality of the presentation. This award differs from the other student awards given by the Society for Marine Mammalogy in that the emphasis is on innovative methodology and the potential for making significant advances in our knowledge of marine mammals rather than on the results per se. The winner of the award will be announced at the awards session on the last afternoon of the Biennial Conference. The award includes a monetary sum and a banquet ticket.

J. Stephen Leatherwood Memorial Award

Recognizes the most outstanding student presentation on marine mammals of South and Southeast Asia, with particular emphasis on conservation, given at the Biennial Conference.

John E. Heyning Research Award

Supports the best proposal for cetacean integrative biology that relate diverse aspects of biology within an evolutionary context.

This grant is presented in accordance with the last wishes of John E. Heyning, (Curator of Mammals and Associate Deputy Director of Research and Collections, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, California). His research focused on the natural history, anatomy, evolution and conservation of whales, dolphins and porpoises, especially delphinids and ziphiids. It will be presented for the best proposal received from an established researcher to investigate any area of cetacean integrative biology - comparative studies that relate diverse aspects of biology within an evolutionary context. A single biennial grant of up to $5,000 will be considered. The grant is open to established researchers who are members of the Society; students are not eligible. The committee members for the JEH Research Grant are R. L. Brownell, Jr., C. Heyning, J. G. Mead and W. F. Perrin. Proposals for 2011 must be received by the JEH Research Grant Committee by 1 July 2010. Proposals for grants beyond 2011 must be received three months before future conferences. The length of the research proposal must be no longer than 10 pages single spaced plus a CV. The proposal must be submitted by email to all members of the award committee (,,, The winner will be announced at the SMM Members' meeting on the last day of the Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.

Members who would like to contribute to this fund in memory of John E. Heyning should click the "donate" button above or make their check payable to the Society for Marine Mammalogy, write on the check that it is for the Heyning fund, and mail it to the Society's Treasurer.

John R. Twiss Jr. Award

Presented for innovative research related to marine mammal habitat and ecosystem conservation.

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 award recipient will be invited to deliver a plenary lecture at the conference and to write an associated paper for Marine Mammal Science.

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

Previous Norris award winners include:

Robin Best Memorial Award

This award is presented in memory of Robin Best, a respected marine mammalogist who concentrated his research on South American species, with a major focus in Brazil.  This award is presented for the best student presentations given at the biennial Reunião De Trabalho De Especialistas Em Mamíferos Aquáticos Da América Do Sul (South American Specialists in Aquatic Mammals) to encourage South American students and young researchers to pursue the study of aquatic mammalogy in south America.  Monetary awards and recognition are given at the conference banquet.  The winner(s) will be acknowledged at the next Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.

Student Awards

In addition to the Frederic Fairfield Memorial Award Recognition described above and student travel grants described below, there will be recognition of the best poster and spoken presentations by pre-doctoral and doctoral students at the Society's biennial conference:

  • John G. Shedd Aquarium Award for Best overall student presentation
  • Best Doctoral1 student oral presentation
  • Best Pre-Doctoral2 student oral presentation
  • Best Doctoral student poster
  • Best Pre-Doctoral student poster

Criteria for consideration: student must be enrolled and in good standing in a degree granting program (undergraduate or graduate) at a recognized college or university. A photocopy of the student author's validated student ID must accompany the student's conference registration form.

Single or multiple authorship submissions will be considered for the student award competition. However, the following criteria must be met for multiple author submissions :

  1. The competing student MUST be the first author.
  2. The student's academic supervisor must email the Scientific Program Committee to confirm that the research presented is primarily the student's own work and that participation by other authors is secondary or advisory in nature.
  3. Students graduating after the last conference and who are not currently students are eligible for student awards but must submit appropriate certifiction from their former academic supervisor.

All award winners will receive a free ticket to the biennial banquet.

Student Travel Grants

Presented to students in need of assistance with the expenses of travel to the Society’s biennial conference.

Stu Innes Memorial Student Travel Bursary

Supports the travel to the Society's biennial conference of a post-secondary student conducting marine mammal research in the Arctic.

1. Doctoral includes those in PhD, DVM, etc. Programs.
2. Pre-Doctoral includes undergraduates and those in Masters Programs.