Grants / Scholarships / Awards


The Department of Biology offers several research and travel awards for graduate students made possible through donations and endowments from alumni and former faculty. Requests for proposals are circulated in early fall semester. Awards are made once a year by a selection committee appointed by the chair. Inquiries should be directed to the Associate Chair for Research and Graduate Education: Dr. H. Gert de Couet, Department of Biology (

The Charles H. and Margaret B. Edmondson Research Fund- Grants in Aid of Research and Publication for Graduate Students in the area of Hawai’i marine invertebrate zoology.

The trust established in the will of long time University of Hawaii Professor of Zoology and Bishop Museum Marine Zoologist Charles H. Edmondson and his wife Margaret B. Edmondson provides several awards for research and publication. Edmondson Grants-in-Aid are meant to enhance a research project by providing funds to enable a particular aspect of the effort that might otherwise be impossible.  This may include, but is not restricted to, purchase of special supplies or small equipment, research travel, access to special training or facilities (e.g., electron microscopes), or assistance with publication.  The research project must involve marine invertebrate animals and focus on Hawaii.

Recipients in 2013:

Keisha D. Bahr
Project title: Some like it hot: Relative sensitivity of Hawaiian corals to climate change stressors

Raphael Ritson-Williams
Project title:  Patterns of genotypic diversity of the coral Pocillopora damicornis at multiple reefs on O’ahu.

Blake Ushijima, Department of Microbiology
Project title: The effect of the antibiotic produced by the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus strain OCN008 on the bacterial microflora of the coral Montipora capitata.

Christopher B. Wall
Project title: Assessing the functional role of Symbiodinium clades in the autotrophic nutrition and energetics of two reef corals exposed to elevated temperature and pCO2

Jessie D. Kay Memorial Research Grants in Hawaiian Natural History, Zoology and Marine Malacology

The Jessie D. Kay Memorial Fund provides two research grants in the amount of $10,000 every year. Awards are “…to support the study of natural history with an emphasis on zoology and marine malacology, the study of marine mollusks.”  The trust document additionally stipulates that “.… the Fund may support graduate students in zoology, with the preference to those attending the University of Hawai`i, particularly with the interest in the natural history of the Hawaiian Islands.”

Recipients in 2013:

Jessica Maxfield
Project title: Uncovering The Secret Of Sex Change: Mapping the Sex Change Pathway In a Hawaiian Reef Fish.

Nyssa Silbiger
Project title: Bioerosion rates and climate change in the Hawaiian Archipelago.

Elizabeth Alison Kay Endowed Awards for students in Biology/Zoology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

This fund was established in honor of Prof. E. Alison Kay at the time of her retirement from the Department of Zoology in 2001.  Dr. Kay designated that income from the fund provide research awards to students in Zoology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  Specifically, E. A. Kay Research Awards are meant “ … to encourage and reward outstanding students who have an interest in the natural history of the Hawaiian Islands [with] preference to students whose focus is whole organism natural history.”

Recipients in 2013:

Jonatha Giddens
Project title: Experimental removal of the introduced grouper roi (Cephalopholis argus) in west Hawaii; a community-based approach to coral reef system restoration.

Aki Jarl Larusen
Project title: Speciation across the Sea: Elucidating the Sea Urchin Genus Tripneustes.

Dr. Charles and Sandra Guest-Van Riper Endowed Student Travel Award for Graduate Students

The purpose of this Fund is to provide travel and attendance support to professional meetings for graduate students majoring in Biology, with preference to students studying Ornithology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Natural Sciences.

Recipients in 2013:

Jean Fantle-Lepczyk
The Society for Conservation Biology’s (SCB) North America Congress for Conservation Biology (NACCB)