6 Apr 2022

North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) continues its investment into the future of marine science following the announcement of the inaugural Ayling Prize recipient.

Congratulations to James Cook University (JCU) graduate, Caitlin Kelly, for becoming the first scholar to receive the $500 prize.

The prize is awarded to a third-year student with the highest overall GPA in the Bachelor of Marine Science.

NQBP continues Ayling legacy

Diver Dr Avril Ayling completing a coral survey for James Cook University at Holburone Island, near NQBP's Abbot Point Port. Picture: Sea Research

Diver Dr Avril Ayling completing a coral survey for James Cook University at Holburone Island, near NQBP's Abbot Point Port. Picture: Sea Research

The ‘Ayling prize in Marine Science’ is proudly donated by NQBP in recognition of Dr Tony Ayling and his wife Dr Avril Ayling’s service to the field of Marine Science.

The prize celebrates over 40 years of front-line environmental monitoring, research and reporting on the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland coastline.

The Ayling’s contribution to our understanding of coral reefs and benthic communities is substantial.

Young talent represents future of Marine Science

Caitlin Kelly at her James Cook University graduation in March.

Ayling Prize recipient Caitlin Kelly graduated from James Cook University with a Bachelor of Marine Science in March.

Caitlin spoke from her Townsville Graduation Ceremony, saying “JCU provided me with so many amazing opportunities throughout my degree.”

“From lectures through to classroom practicals and fieldwork, I have been able to work alongside an array of like-minded individuals who share my passion for marine science,” she said.

“My favourite aspect of the Bachelor of Marine Science was the multidisciplinary approach, which encouraged us to consider marine science from multiple perspectives.

“Studying a wide variety of courses including biology, chemistry, physics, geology, geomorphology and sedimentology really allows you to develop a breadth of knowledge and find your niche.

“Since finishing my degree, I have taken a break from study to enjoy my hobbies and explore some new interests. I'm now seeking full-time work and am open to any opportunity that comes my way!

“Thank you so much for your generosity. I am incredibly grateful to receive this award.”

James Cook University partnership

The Ayling Prize is part of a long-standing partnership between NQBP and James Cook University.

It has grown significantly over more than 25 years of marine monitoring and research and includes a range of student scholarships to help the next generation of scientists.

Read more about the partnership.