Two emerging researchers from the University of Newcastle Central Coast campus have been recognised for their work on fish stocks with national awards.
Steve Lindfield and Shanti Mors took out the honours awarded to junior researchers at the recent Australian Society for Fish Biology (ASFB) National Conference in Canberra.
The ASFB is the peak body for fish biology in Australia, and only two awards are given to junior researchers each year based on their presentations to the national conference.
Mr Lindfield, a Bachelor of Science (Honours) student won the Gilbert P Whitley Memorial Award for his presentation on the spatial, temporal and depth-related variations of rocky reef fish in the Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park.
His research investigated the distribution of reef fish in the marine park to depths of fifty metres and provided useful baseline data on the abundance of fish species before the marine park was established.
Mr Mors, also a Bachelor of Science (Honours) student, was presented with the John Lake Award for his presentation about his investigations into the feeding behaviour of the Eastern Fiddler Ray in coastal waters off New South Wales.
The Eastern Fiddler Ray is a species commonly seen by divers in New South Wales, and large numbers of stingrays are accidentally caught during trawling operations.
Little is known about the ecological impact of the Eastern Fiddler Ray's removal from the marine ecosystem because little is known about the species. Mr Mors' research will provide information on the stingray's diet, and therefore the likely impact on removing these species on their prey.
Research supervisor, and Director of the Ourimbah-based research group Sustainable Use of Coasts and Catchments, Dr Bill Gladstone, said the awards recognised the high calibre of marine research undertaken at the Central Coast campus.
"I am pleased that the high standard of work being done by researchers at the Central Coast campus continues to receive national recognition, and it further cements our claim as a leader in marine biology and research," Dr Gladstone said.
"We encourage and support our research students participation in conference such as this one as part of their development as scientists, and it gives them the opportunity to share their work with their peers.
"These awards are worthy recognition of the passion and dedication both have for fish ecology, and will be a great boost to the research careers of Steven and Shanti."