Marine study nets reward for Melbourne graduate
An animal behaviourist building a research career in marine animal reproduction has won a 2012 International Fulbright Science and Technology Award – the most prestigious and valuable of the US Government-supported Fulbright awards for academic exchange.
Amanda Franklin, who recently graduated from the University Of Melbourne with a Masters of Science in Zoology/Marine Biology, will undertake a PhD with full tuition, stipend and living expenses covered by the Fulbright at an American university. She will study the evolution of mating strategies and how this can relate to endangered species’ survival as well as sustainable fishing practices.
Ms Franklin said sexual reproductive behaviour was extremely variable between species and ranged from elaborate courtship dances by male birds of paradise to the provisioning of nuptial gifts from male hanging flies, and even synchronised lunar spawning in many sea creatures.
"The individuals performing these behaviours do so in an attempt to maximise their fecundity and pass on their genes to the next generation," she said.
"Marine animals are ideal for study because they show a great range of bizarre and complex behaviours from sexual cannibalism in octopus, social sex change in wrasse fish from female to male, or male pregnancy in seahorses."
Under the prestigious Fulbright program, university graduates undertake an educational exchange at a University in the US. Recipients will begin a variety of courses at leading US universities and institutes in the next northern academic year.
Other University of Melbourne graduates to win Fulbright Scholarships include:
• Dr Kathryn Field, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Ludwig Institute oncologist and cancer researcher, who will enrol in a Master of Science in Clinical Research or Masters of Public Health focusing on biostatistics, clinical epidemiology, health services research, research design and data analysis. Dr Field is completing a Doctor of Medical Science and has a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (Hons) degree.
• Dr Sue Baker, who has a Bachelor of Forest Science degree will spend three and half months working with the University of Washington and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources evaluating the benefits of retention forestry practices for biodiversity conservation.
• Arts and Law graduate Laura Crommelin will research the relationship between image, identity and urban change in Detroit at the University of Michigan as part of her PhD studies at the University of Melbourne.
• Dr Michael Findlay, a PhD in Tissue Engineering who is currently a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon with the Department of Surgical Oncology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and researcher at the O’Brien Institute, St Vincent’s Hospital, will spend a year at Stanford University to further his work in using stem cells to grow tissues for breast reconstructions.
• Arts and Science graduate Reuben Finighan, who is currently Research and Project Manager with the Climate Group in Melbourne, will spend two years at Harvard University undertaking a Master in Public Policy, specialising in energy and climate policy.
• Dr Claire Gordon, an Infectious Diseases Registrar at the Royal Darwin Hospital and Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons) graduate will work on two research projects in virology and viral immunity at the Columbia University Medical Center, New York for three years, to gain a Master of Arts in Biomedical Informatics.