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Society for Conservation Biology Marine Section
Conservation Research Small Grants Program

These are the 2015 SCB Marine Conservation Research Small Grants recipients, in the program's inaugural year. For more information on the program, please see the Small Grants page.

Michela Catena

Project Title: Ridding India's Waterways of Fecal Bacteria, One Step at a Time
Project Country: India
Michela is currently working in Kochi, Kerala, India on a Fulbright scholarship; her project focuses on determining the dominant source(s) of bacterial pollution in the Cochin backwaters, which holds immense ecological, economic, and cultural importance in Kerala. She'll be utilizing next-generation sequencing to compare water samples from the Cochin backwaters with fecal samples from humans and animals in the area. In her spare time, Michela enjoys traveling, hiking, and seeing live music. 

Eka Maya Kurniasih

Project Title: Baseline Data Collection of Ocean Sunfish (Family: Molidae) Distribution Along Bali and East Java
Project Country: Indonesia
I am Eka Maya Kurniasih from Indonesia and a Junior Research Fellow of the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) which is located in Bali. As a Junior research fellow, I have been assigned to various research project. Currently, I am working on Phylogenetic study of reef fishes, Marine Biodiversity inventory through DNA Barcoding, Decapods Biodiversity using Dead Coral Heads in Indonesia and also participating on Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) project across the Indonesian Archipelago. I am also interested in Marine Mega fauna include Molidae Family, especially using molecular techniques to support direct management and conservation in Indonesia. I love to travel as well as do research. I want to be a marine biologist and relate important science issues to the public in a more conversational way.

Lalith Ekanayake

Project Title: Marine Turtle By-catch Reduction and Rescue Programme in the Gulf of Mannar, Northwest Sri Lanka
Project Country: Sri Lanka
Lalith Ekanayake is the Founder & Chairman of the Bio Conservation Society (BCS), Sri Lanka. After his B.Sc. degree he started research on sea turtles and has completed his M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, on sea turtles. Currently conducting community based sea turtle & coastal biodiversity conservation and research.

Robert Eliakim Katikiro

Project Title: Locally-based and Cost-effective Tools for Protection of Turtle Nests
Project Country: Tanzania
Born in Tanzania, Robert Katikiro is a marine ecologist by training and has been a researcher and conservation practitioner since 2005, maintaining a strong passion for conservation of marine biodiversity. Robert has a broad experience in tropical marine ecology and has been involved in marine impact assessment and monitoring in protected areas, restoration of marine habitats and he has been heavily involved in implementation of measures which aim at reducing mortality of critically endangered marine species to enhance the health of ocean ecosystems. He is currently the conservation manager at the Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park in southern Tanzania where is responsible for public awareness programme on marine protected areas including developing locally based methods of handling sea turtles for fishermen.

Maarten De Brauwer

Project Title: Assessment of Abundance of Pygmy Seahorses in Bangka Island, Indonesia
Project Country: Indonesia
Maarten is a PhD candidate at Curtin University in Perth. His research focuses on rare and camouflaged marine species such as seahorses and frogfishes. He looks into their importance to local communities in Indonesia and Philippines.

Tilen Genov

Project Title: Educational Exhibition: Research for the Conservation of the Adriatic Sea - the Slovenian Dolphin Project
Project Country: Slovenia
Tilen Genov is primarily active in the area of conservation biology and ecology of marine mammals and marine turtles. After graduating in Biology at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, he enrolled in the Master of Research degree in Marine Mammal Science at the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom, where he graduated with an overall distinction. In 2013 he enrolled in a PhD study at the University of St Andrews. Tilen has been involved in marine mammal field research and conservation for 15 years, which involves various projects in the Adriatic Sea, eastern and western Mediterranean, Red Sea, North Sea, and the North and South Atlantic. He is the founder and president of Morigenos – Slovenian Marine Mammal Society, and a coordinator of the Slovenian Dolphin Project, which received the Ford Environmental & Conservation Award. He currently works at the University of Primorska, Slovenia, with a researcher position at the Science and Research Centre and a teaching assistant position at the Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies. His current roles include being a Council member of the European Cetacean Society, member of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and a member of the Scientific Committee of ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic Area).

Kara Pellowe

Project Title: Life History Science to Improve Conservation Management of the Mexican Chocolate Clam in Loreto, Mexico
Project Country: Mexico
Kara Pellowe received a B.Sc. in Environmental Biology from Cornell University, and now attends Brown University, where she is a Ph.D. student in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and an M.A. student in Sociology. Kara is interested in the dynamics of coupled social-ecological systems, especially how ecological processes, together with human activities, influence ecosystem function and the delivery of valuable ecosystem services. Kara’s dissertation work focuses on understanding how ecological and social factors affect the resilience of the Mexican chocolate clam fishery in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Catherine Kim

Project Title: Coral Health and Disease Across an Anthropogenic Gradient in Timor-Leste
Project Country: Timor-Leste
Catherine is completing her PhD at the University of Queensland Australia focusing her research on the coral reefs of Timor-Leste. Previously she studied and worked at Cornell University for Professor Drew Harvell managing her Research Coordination Network Grant on the Ecology of Infectious Marine Disease and was a program assistant for the Earth and Environmental Science Sustainability Semester based in Hawai‘i.