Postgraduate support


The VMSC Management Committee actively support and encourage young scientists by awarding the VMSC Postgraduate Award each year. The award is open to PhD and research Masters students currently enrolled at a VMSC member institution. Selection criteria considers previous academic achievement, indicators of scientific potential and relevance, and the overall contribution the project will make to increasing our scientific knowledge of Port Phillip Bay and surrounding coastlines and habitats. Strong preference is given to students in the early stages of their particular degree, and whose research is based at Queenscliff.

Support is also offered through the professional associations AMSA and the ASFB. The VMSC prize is offered for best presentation with a temperate theme at the associations' annual conferences.

Previous winners of the VMSC Postgraduate Award are listed below.





Marlenne Rodriguez-Malagon

PhD - Deakin University. Marlenne's research focusses on individual foraging specialisation in Australasian Gannets (Morus serrator) and it's reproductive consequences.

Hon. Lisa Neville MP, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water presented the award.


Marlenne Rodriguez gannet colony Jan2015 2 



Rhys Cartlidge

PhD - RMIT University. Rhys's research will investigate the impact of temperature on the toxicity of petroleum hydrocarbons to native marine invertebrates with the use of novel 3-D printed and laser cut assays for customised flow through testing.


Natalie Manahan

Masters of Biology and Biotechnology - RMIT University. Natalie's research will investigate the effect of ocean acidifaction and ocean warming on sea urchins.

Rhys and Natalie are pictured withThe Hon. Ryan Smith,
Minister for Environment and Climate Change


rhys natalie vccaward

Camille White

PhD - The University of Melbourne. Camille's research will investigate the ecological consequences of aquaculture-derived terrestrial fatty acids in the marine food web.

Camille is pictured with Professor Mick Keough from The University
of Melbourne and VMSC Director

 cam and mick

Michael Sievers

Masters of Science - The University of Melbourne. Michael's research centres around biofouling in mussel aquaculture and aims to increase the knowledge about these often invasive fouling species and help the mussel industry identify and reduce their detrimental effects.

Michael pictured with Mr Jon Hickman, VCC Chair, (L) and The Hon. Ryan Smith,
Minister for Environment and Climate Change

 michael sievers1

Benjamin Wegener

PhD - Monash University. Ben's project, 'Male reproductive strategies in cephalopods: Sepiadarium austrinum, the Southern Bottletail Squid', focuses on animal behavioural evolution and aims to further extend developments made in current sexual selection theory exploring male mate choice and sperm competition.

Benjamin with The Hon. Ryan Smith, Minister for Environment and Climate Change,
and Ms Libby Mears, VCC Chair


Zoe Squires

PhD - The University of Melbourne. Zoe's project, 'The evolution of female multiple mating (polyandry) in dumpling squid, Euprymna tasmanica',  aims to answer questions relating to one of the most exciting yet least understood areas of evolutionary biology and has important implications for gene flow and the maintenance of genetic variation.

Zoe is pictured with The Hon. Gavin Jennings MLC, Minister for Environment and Climate Change


Isla Fitridge

PhD - The University of Melbourne. Isla's project, 'Seasonality, seduction and foul play : the hydroid fauna of Port Phillip Bay' aims to study how the hydroid communities of Port Phillip Bay are composed and how these communities change with regards to larval recruitment and the presence, absence, growth and fertility of adult colonies. The study also examines hydroids as fouling species within local mussel culture operations.

Isla pictured out in the field on Port Phillip Bay

isla fitridge

Corey Green

PhD - The University of Tasmania (UTAS), in conjunction with the Marine and Freshwater Fisheries Research Institute (MAFFRI). Corey is studying population structures in arrow squid Nototodarus gouldi, of south eastern Australia. Over recent years, research on arrow squid has advanced; however, it highlighted the need for more detailed research concerning the effect environmental conditions has on squid populations.

Corey (R) pictured with The Hon. Gavin Jennings MLC, Minister for Environment and
Climate Change

corey andminister

Peter Macreadie

PhD - The University of Melbourne. Peter's project investigates effects of seagrass fragmentation on fish species, with the changes linked to the collapse of fisheries. It's anticipated this work will improve our understanding of how fish respond to seagrass fragmentation and lead to better management of Australia‚Äôs threatened coastal habitats.

Peter is pictured (L) with The Hon. John Thwaites MLA, Minister for Climate Change


Daniel Grixti

PhD - Deakin University. Daniel's project investigates the survival of recreationally caught snapper and black bream after their release to the water; the project also explores ways of improving release survival through hook and angling technique changes.


Justin Bell

PhD - Deakin University. Justin is researching the basic biology and reproduction of elephant fish, an ancient group of cartilaginous fish. Although little is known in southern Australia, they are taken in commercial fisheries, and Justin's work provides key information for an ecological risk assessment that will be a basis for sustainable management of these fish.

Justin (R) pictured with The Hon. John Thwaites MLA, Minister for Climate Change


Jackie Myers

PhD - Deakin University. Jackie's PhD research investigates factors affecting the germination, growth and toxicity of selected dinoflagellates and cyanobateria in the Gippsland Lakes.

Jackie receiving the inaugural VMSC Postgraduate Award from Sir Gustav Nossal,
together with Dr Mick Keough and Dr David Smith