PhD candidate Chris Henderson from Griffith’s Australian Rivers Institute has been awarded a grant in the prestigious Australian Academy of Science annual awards.

Chris is this year’s winner of the Margaret Middleton Fund for endangered Australian native vertebrate animals. The research grant of $12,000 will further enable his studies into the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in preserving mobile predatory fish species along the east coast of Australia.

“This Australian Academy of Science funding will allow me to attach acoustic tags to predatory fish to track their movements within theMoreton Bay Marine Park,” Chris said.

“From this I hope to be able to establish what the minimum protection range needs to be for these critically important species and whether current no-take fishing zones are effective in protecting them.”

The Margaret Middleton Fund offers annual science grants to support conservation-based research of Australian ecosystems (including off-shore islands and the continental shelf) that will ultimately lead to tangible outcomes for management.

Postgraduate students and early career researchers who are within three years of completing their PhD are eligible to apply.

Mr Henderson said he is very happy to have had his research recognised by the Academy.

“Current fish protection methods commonly focus on the protection of sedentary species that move only a short distance so established marine protection zones are known to be adequate for these species,” Chris said.

“Top predators, however, which are highly important for ecosystem functionality, tend to have larger territories. In order to provide adequate protection for mobile predatory fish species, we need to know if marine reserves are extensive enough.