Cawthron Scholarship - Comparing Responses of Shellfish to Aerial Exposure Project


Cawthron Scholarship - Comparing Responses of Shellfish to Aerial Exposure Project

Scholarship project: Evaluate the response of different species of shellfish to aerial exposure under controlled experimental conditions in order to understand the effects of the commercial transportation of live individuals out of the water.


Scholarship term: Approx. 10 weeks beginning in November 2019

Scholarship base: Cawthron Institute, Nelson (help organising accommodation will be provided)

Scholarship stipend: $5000

Applications close: 9th August 2019


 Background to project 

New Zealand export live shellfish to overseas markets in large quantities from the aquaculture and fisheries industries. Mostly, transportation is done without water, leaving the animals exposed to a stressful environment in which their ability to cope with it determines the shelf life of the live product. 

Within the shellfish aquaculture programme, we have been working closely with industry to help them understand the factors driving survival of GreenshellTM mussels during transport and how their shelf live can be manipulated. What we have learnt with mussels could be applied to other commercially valuable species such as Pacific oysters and Geoducks which are also mostly exported live. This work also informs transport practices of early life stages such as mussel or oyster spat that are transferred to the aquaculture farms.


Objectives and outcomes of scholarship project

The objective of this project will be to complement the work already done with mussels as well as applying similar approaches to evaluate the behavioural and biological response of other species such as oysters and geoducks to aerial exposure. The scholar will work with different species of shellfish under controlled experimental conditions and will gain insight into shellfish behaviour, desiccation, blood chemistry changes, and survival when they are out of water.

The student will be expected to participate during the project planning, set-up and development, including sampling, data collection, analysis, and interpretation. This will be achieved by the student through presentations to the scientific community and industry partners. Other outputs generated may take the form of reports or scientific publications.


Student requirements

  • Successfully completed at least 1 year of tertiary education course (as of Nov 2019)
  • NZ citizen or resident
  • Careful and detail oriented
  • Confident using delicate equipment
  • Interest in aquaculture
  • Committed and responsible
  • Well organised



To apply for this scholarship project, you will need to provide the following:

  1. A cover letter
  2. CV
  3. Letter of recommendation from tertiary institution
  4. Grade Point Average (GPA) or similar for years of tertiary study


Cawthron scholarships overview

Cawthron scholars are guided by our scientists to develop the skills and knowledge needed to solve pressing environmental issues as well as providing students with work-place experience. There are three scholarships available.

  • Sir Theodore Rigg scholarship - male or female undergraduate students
  • Kathleen Curtis scholarship - female undergraduate students
  • Te Pītau Whakarei Karahipi - Maori undergraduate students or students enrolled in Maori Studies, offered in partnership with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.


If you have questions, please contact Kat –



Job no: FZAM92291

Location: Nelson - Halifax Street, Nelson - Glenhaven

Closing Date: Sunday 11 August 2019