Student Funding
Past Award Winners
Carrier Award for Best Poster:
2013 ..
Teagan Gray, Nova Southeastern University, MS candidate
2012 .. None

2011 .. Misty Paig-Tran, University of Washington, Friday Harbor Labs, PhD candidate with Dr. Adam Summers
Title: Doing it their way: Exploring the filter morphology and filtration mechanisms in Mobulidae
Research: I'm interested in understanding the feeding mechanics behind ram suspension feeding, particularly in elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). There are only 13 species of known filter-feeding elasmobranchs, which include: whale sharks, basking sharks, mega mouth sharks, manta rays and nine species of devil rays. Filter feeding in the elasmobranchs arrived through convergent evolution and each genus appears to filter in completely different ways!
2010 .. Christine Ambrosino
2009 .. 
Tricia Meredith,  Florida Atlantic University, PhD candidate with Dr. Steve Kaijura
Title: Olfactory thresholds of elasmobranchs.
Research Interests: I was researching olfaction in elasmobranchs with projects focusing on characterizing their olfactory capabilities (repertoire of odorants, sensitivity), determining the types of olfactory receptors they possess, and examining the organization of the olfactory bulb of the brain.
2008 .. Andrew Piercy
2007 .. Justin Schaefer



Gruber Award for Best Oral Presentation:
2013 .. Kady Lyons,
California State University Long Beach, MS candidate
2012 .. Kristine Stump,
University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, PhD candidate
2011 .. Andrew Nosal, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UC San Diego, PhD Candidate
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Title: Aggregation behavior of the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) at the head of La Jolla Submarine Canyon, La Jolla, California, USA
Research Interests:  Behavior, ecology, and reproduction of elasmobranch fishes
Associated Publication:   Demography and movement patterns of leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) aggregating near the head of a submarine canyon along the open coast of southern California, USA (in review, Environmental Biology of Fishes)
2010 .. Danielle Knip, James Cook Univeristy, PhD with Dr. Michelle Heupel and Dr. Colin Simpfendorfer
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Title: Site fidelity and habitat use of the spottail shark (Carcharhinus sorrah) in a tropical nearshore environment.
Research Interests: My main research interests are: (1) behaviour, movement and habitat use of fishes, (2) effect of environmental variability on movement and distribution and how species respond to changes in their environment, (3) analysis and application of acoustic monitoring data and (4) effectiveness of spatial management (marine protected areas) for mobile species, such as sharks.
Associated Publications: 
Knip DM, Heupel MR, Simpfendorfer CA (2012). Habitat use and spatial segregation of adult spottail sharks Carcharhinus sorrah in tropical nearshore waters. Journal of Fish Biology, 80: 767-784.
Knip DM, Heupel MR, Simpfendorfer CA (2012) To roam or to home: site fidelity in a tropical coastal shark. Marine Biology 159: 1647-1657.
2009 .. Thomas Farrugia,  California State University Long Beach, M.Sc. with Dr. Chris Lowe
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Title: Testing a New Long-term, Fine-scale Positional System for Tracking Multiple Fish Simultaneously.
Research Interests: 
My current research is an interdisciplinary evaluation of the skate fishery in the Gulf of Alaska, including movement patterns, stock assessment and bioeconomic modeling. Through this approach, I hope to develop recommendations for a harvest strategy and management plan for the development of a skate fishery.
Associated Publications: 
Espinoza M., Farrugia T.J., Webber D.M., Smith F., Lowe C.G. 2011. Testing a new acoustic telemetry technique to quantify long-term, fine-scale movements of aquatic animals. Fisheries Research 108(2011):364-371
Farrugia T.J., Espinoza M., Lowe C.G. 2011. Abundance, habitat use and movement patterns of the shovelnose guitarfish (Rhinobatos productus) in a restored southern California estuary. Marine and Freshwater Research 62:648-657.
2008 .. Nicholas Wegner
2007 .. David McGowan
2006 .. Laura Jordan



Donald R. Nelson Behavior Research Award:
2013 .. Kyle Newton, Florida Atlantic University
2012 .. Lindsay Harris,
Florida Atlantic University, MS candidate
2011 .. None
2010 .. None
2009 .. Christine BedoreFlorida Atlantic University, PhD candidate with Dr. Steve Kaijura
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Title: Electrosensory sensitivity of the cownose ray, Rhinoptera bonasus, and its role in the detection of bivalve prey in the Chesapeake Bay
Research Interests: 
I am studying the sensory system of batoid elasmobranchs to see how morphology, habitat, behavior, and diet specializations may affect sensory function. Specifically, I am looking at differences in the electrosensory and visual systems of the cownose ray and yellow stingray.
Associated Publications:
Bedore, C.N. and S.M Kajiura. 2013. Bioelectric fields of marine elasmobranchs: voltage and frequency contributions to detectability by electroreceptive predators. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology (In press)
2008 .. Tricia Meredith, Florida Atlantic University, PhD with Dr. Steve Kaijura
Title: Olfaction in hammerhead sharks.
Research Interests: I was researching olfaction in elasmobranchs with projects focusing on characterizing their olfactory capabilities (repertoire of odorants, sensitivity), determining the types of olfactory receptors they possess, and examining the organization of the olfactory bulb of the brain.
Associated Publications: Meredith, T.L. and Kajiura, S.M. 2010. Olfactory morphology and physiology of elasmobranchs. Journal of Experimental Biology. 213: 3449-3456.
2007 .. Jayne Gardiner, University of South Florida, PhD with Dr. Phil Motta
Research Interests: My dissertation research focused on multisensory integration (olfaction, vision, mechanoreception, electroreception) in the feeding behavior of sharks and other fishes.
Associated Publications:
Gardiner, J.M., Hueter, R.E., Sisneros, J.A., Maruska, K.P., Casper, B.M., Mann, D.A., and Desmski, L.S.  2012, In Press.  Sensory Physiology and Behavior of Elasmobranchs.  In: Carrier, J.C., Musick, J.A., Heithaus, M.R. (Eds.) Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives, 2nd edition. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 
Gardiner, J.M. and Atema, J. 2010. The function of bilateral odor arrival time differences in olfactory orientation of sharks.  Current Biology 20: 1187-1191.  
2006 .. Lisa Whitenack


AES Student Research Award:
2013 .. Matt Kolmann,
University of Toronto, PhD candidate
2012 .. Kady Lyons,
California State University Long Beach, MS candidate
2011 .. Christine Bedore Florida Atlantic University, PhD candidate with Dr. Steve Kaijura
Title: Visual temporal resolution in batoid elasmobranchs
Research Interests: I am studying the sensory system of batoid elasmobranchs to see how morphology, habitat, behavior, and diet specializations may affect sensory function. Specifically, I am looking at differences in the electrosensory and visual systems of the cownose ray and yellow stingray.
2010 .. Tricia MeredithFlorida Atlantic University, PhD candidate with Dr. Steve Kaijura
Title: Hemi-bulb organization in the elasmobranch brain.
Research Interests: I was researching olfaction in elasmobranchs with projects focusing on characterizing their olfactory capabilities (repertoire of odorants, sensitivity), determining the types of olfactory receptors they possess, and examining the organization of the olfactory bulb of the brain.
Associated Publications:
Meredith, T.L., Hansen A., and Kajiura, S.M. 2012. The somatotopic organization of the hemi- olfactory bulb in elasmobranchs. (In press).
2009 .. Laura Macesic
2008 .. Joe DiBattista
2007 .. Marianne Porter
2006 .. Wes Dowd



Henry & Anne Mollet Elasmobranch Research Award:
2013 .. Chris Mull,
Simon Fraser University, PhD candidate
2012 .. Valentina di Santo,
Boston University, PhD candidate
2011 .. Joe Bizzaro, University of Washington/School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, PhD Candidate with Dr. Adam Summers
Title: Comparative resource utilization of eastern North Pacific skate (Rajiformes) with applications for ecosystem-based fisheries management.
Research Interests: Trophic relationships and spatial associations of elasmobranchs and teleosts.
2010 .. Christine Bedore, Florida Atlantic University, PhD candidate with Dr. Steve Kaijura
Title: Evolution of color vision in basal vertebrates.
Research Interests: I am studying the sensory system of batoid elasmobranchs to see how morphology, habitat, behavior, and diet specializations may affect sensory function. Specifically, I am looking at differences in the electrosensory and visual systems of the cownose ray and yellow stingray.