UCT students win top conservation awards

26 September 2008 | Story by Newsroom

Dr Samantha Petersen
Dr Samantha Petersen won first prize at the 2008 UNEP/CMS Thesis Award on Migratory Species Conservation.

Two UCT students have excelled at the 2008 UNEP/CMS Thesis Award on Migratory Species Conservation, clinching the first and third prizes.

Dr Samantha Petersen took top honours, which carries a prize money of €10 000 (R120 000), and Dr Ross Wanless, who won the Faculty of Science Medal for the best PhD Thesis in 2007, was placed third. Both are PhD students in the Department of Zoology.

Petersen is supervised by Associate Professor Peter Ryan, Les Underhill, Len Compagno and Ronel Nel. Wanless' supervisors are Ryan and Geoff Hilton.

Dr Ross Wanless
Dr Ross Wanless

The accolade was launched by the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in 2004, and is sponsored by the National Geographic Deutschland and Lufthansa in Germany. In association with Museum Koenig and the Global Register of Migratory Species in Bonn, CMS gives the award every three years to promote scientific research and conservation of migratory species, as defined by the Convention.

About 32 candidates from 18 countries submitted abstracts of their theses online, but the relevance to the vision and goals of UNEP/CMS to protect and improve the conservation status of migratory animals made Petersen's thesis the top ranking submission.

Petersen worked closely with fishermen at sea to reduce bycatch of threatened seabirds, turtles and sharks for her thesis, Understanding and Mitigating Vulnerable Bycatch in Southern African Trawl and Longline Fisheries.

Wanless conducted research on, Impacts of the Introduced House Mouse on the Seabirds of Gough Island, and his thesis also made valuable contributions to the conservation of migratory species, a statement said.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.