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:

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 presentation types 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 aims to emphasis innovative methodology and the potential for making significant advances in our knowledge of marine mammals.

J. Stephen Leatherwood Memorial Award

Stephen Leatherwood was a vocal advocate for and a strong supporter of regionally driven research in the Asian region. In 1994, Stephen facilitated the establishment of the Ocean Park Conservation Research Fund which provides funds to conservation-based research projects within the Asian region, with a particular emphasis on marine mammals. Over 400 projects have been funded and our knowledge of marine mammals, and other species, in the Asia region has improved tremendously over the last 20 years. The Stephen Leatherwood memorial Award recognises the most outstanding presentation on the marine mammals of the Asia region, with particular emphasis on conservation. The primary author of all eligible abstracts accepted for presentation at the biennial conference will be notified that they may be considered for this award.  Award criteria shall be circulated at this tim eor can be requested at any time from the awards committee.


Student Awards

In addition to the Frederic Fairfield Memorial Award and the J. Stephen Leatherwood Award described above, presentations by pre-doctoral (includes undergraduate) and doctoral student presentations will be judged at the Society’s biennial conference. Prizes will be awarded for best spoken presentation, best poster and best speed talk. In 2017, a new award category will be established for the best video presentation.  Student eligibility must be verified during the conference registration process. Judging criteria will be posted soon.

Innes Memorial Student Travel Bursary

Dr. Stu Innes 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 Stu, friends and colleagues established the “Innes Memorial Student Travel Bursary” to help support a student’s travel to this conference. On abstract acceptance, students who are presenting work conducted on any aspect of marine mammal research in the Arctic shall be invited to apply for this bursary.

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.

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:

• A copy of the abstract submitted to the SMM conference

• Proof of student registration for the SMM conference

• Proof of acceptance for an oral presentation

Award winners will be notified by August 2017.

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