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Waikato takes three of four top honours

7 December, 2011
Waikato takes three of four top honours

Waikato University students have won three of the four top honours in the 2011 Coastal Society scholarships.

Amir Emami from the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences won the PhD scholarship of $5000 for his investigation of beach processes at Auckland’s Muriwai Beach.

Shawn Harrison, also from Earth and Ocean Sciences, received an honourable mention for Modelling sediment exchange in and around ebb-tidal deltas in meso-tidal zones.

Lisa McCartain, from Waikato’s Department of Biological Sciences, received an honourable mention in the Master scholarship category won by Megan Young from Massey University. Lisa’s thesis was on the effects of a thin terrigenous deposit on porewater fluxes in permeable sediments in response to modified hydraulic activities of Macomona Iiliana.

The scholarships were announced at the society’s conference this year there were 17 applicants from universities around the country.

Scholarships are awarded to students conducting research with the potential to lead to solutions for some of New Zealand’s most challenging coastal issues.

From Iran, Amir says the news about the scholarship was the best he has had during his time in New Zealand (nine months). “I was very pleased and the money will help with my field work expenses as well as paying for a conference I want to attend.”

The aim of Amir’s thesis is to develop a conceptual model for the interaction between beach groundwater table, beach processes and beach face volume. The will be accomplished by beach profiling, long-term video monitoring of seepage line, short-term deployment of in-situ instrumentation and long-term local rainfall data. The results of his project could be generalised to other coasts that experience dissipative conditions.
Amir chose Waikato as the place to continue his studies because of its excellent reputation and says he has received high levels of support from his lecturers and supervisors. His previous experience in Iran was also related to sediment erosion and his thesis is entitled Seepage line influence on beach face volume at Muriwai Beach.

Coastal Society Chair Dr Deirdre Hart says the quality and range of research into coastal issues is an indicator of the growing interest in them.

“The judges were impressed by the calibre of all the applications. As an island nation our coastal environment is absolutely critical to our economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being,” she says. “The research being carried out by these students plays an important role in our growing understanding of our coasts.”


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