P1 Marine Foundation announces 2014 Student Awards winner

Flora Kent

Flora Kent

11 February 2015: Today P1 Marine Foundation announces the winner of its 2014 National Student Awards. Flora Kent, who is currently studying a PhD in Marine Ecology at Heriot-Watt University, won the Awards for her ground-breaking project ‘The use of ecosystem services to support conservation of shellfish reefs’.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as the winner of the National Student Awards.” said Flora. “My project involves investigating the crucial ecosystem functions provided by horse mussel reefs to inform marine conservation and policy. I will use the award to carry out a food web analysis using samples collected from a horse mussel reef in Scotland.” Floras project focuses on increasing awareness of the value of fragile ecosystems to encourage sustainable use of marine resources, making them available for future generations.

The Awards, which will be presented at a central London venue in May, were launched by P1 Marine Foundation in 2012 to reward students in higher education who produce outstanding work that will help protect and conserve the marine environment. The ceremony will give the students an opportunity to showcase their projects to an audience of academics, businesses and NGOs.

Horse Mussel Reef

Horse Mussel Reef

“The judges thought Flora was an excellent candidate who was fully prepared to think outside the ‘academic box’ in order to achieve conservation objectives.” said Sabrina Taseer, projects and development manager at P1 Marine Foundation. “We are delighted that our National Student Awards are giving prominence to exciting and valuable projects of this nature that go beyond research and analysis to develop solutions to environmental problems.”

The two runners up for the Awards were Clara Mackenzie, also from Heriot-Watt University, whose project focused on ‘Vulnerability of Modiolus modiolus reefs to climate change: from mechanisms to management strategies’ and Ally Evans, from Aberystwyth University, for her project ‘ReefCrete: ecological engineering of artificial marine habitats’.

Award entries from students at universities and colleges throughout the country were judged by a panel that included Kirsty Schneeberger MBE, an advisor at the Office of the Executive Secretary at UNFCCC, and Dr Trevor Dixon, a Marine Pollution Specialist at Advisory Committee of the Protection of the Sea. Flora will receive a trophy, cheque for £1,000 to support her project, the runners up will receive £500 each.