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Source: New Zealand Government

Some of the country’s most forward-thinking early-career conservationists are among recipients of a new scholarship aimed at supporting a new generation of biodiversity champions, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has awarded one-year postgraduate research scholarships of $15,000 to ten Masters students in the natural and social sciences.

“DOC received 82 eligible applications for Te Papa Atawhai postgraduate scholarship programme – a great response, considering this is the scholarship’s inaugural year,” Kiri Allan said.

“The students who won the scholarships will help build New Zealand’s conservation science capacity and capability, contributing to research to tackle the biodiversity crisis and planning for more sustainable tourism.”

Research on the endangered tarapirohe/black-fronted tern, impacts of climate change on Fiordland ecosystems and COVID-19 impacts on outdoor recreation are just a few examples of the topics being funded.

“I’m told the selection panel was impressed by the high quality of the applications, and found it challenging to choose just 10 recipients. The importance of research in this field can’t be underestimated, so it is hugely encouraging to see the interest this programme is generating,” Kiri Allan said.

The DOC postgraduate scholarship was one of largest scholarship application rounds administered by Universities New Zealand in 2020.

Successful applications for the inaugural DOC Te Papa Atawhai postgraduate scholarship programme:

Name

University

Area of research

Jennifer Alderton-Moss

Victoria

Utilising mycorrhizal fungi in the conservation of an endangered native orchid.

Charles Ching

Canterbury

Observational analysis of the Mt Ruapehu crater lake, volcano tourism risk.

Gemma Coutts

Lincoln

Exploring local ecological knowledge in an ‘At Risk’ catchment as a resolution to shifting baselines: a case study from Pelorus/ Te Hoiere, Marlborough.

Britney Ford

Massey

Overcoming barriers to biodiversity protection in Mōtu, New Zealand: A catchment-based study assessing tools and perspectives for overcoming net loss of areas of high biodiversity value.

Fraser Gurney

Lincoln

Breeding movements and winter dispersal of Black-fronted Terns (Chlidonias albostriatus)

Callum Long

Victoria

Modelling the effects of climate change on the Fiordland marine food web.

Josie Mainwaring

Victoria

To develop a detailed understanding of Phytophthora agathidicida oospores and identify microbial antagonists for biocontrol in Kauri Dieback disease.

Amy Norris

Victoria

Covid tourism planning.

Samuel Purdie

Otago

Ecology and habitat use of skinks in North Otago with a focus on the newly discovered alpine rock skink (Oligosoma sp.) and the scree skink (Oligosoma waimatense).

Alana Thurston

Lincoln

Improving techniques to manage Phytophthora agathidicida, the causal agent of Kauri Dieback disease.

MIL OSI