Inspiring success: MBA Student Member attends international conference thanks to Bursary

MBA Student Member Pablo Alfonso Fuenzalida Miralles was awarded a bursary from the Marine Biological Association (MBA).

MBA Student Member Pablo Alfonso Fuenzalida Miralles attends conference thanks to MBA bursary
MBA Student Member Pablo Alfonso Fuenzalida Miralles

The bursary enabled Pablo to present his research and attend the 11th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference and Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Fish Biology in Auckland, New Zealand.

He said: “For me, it was extraordinary. The conference brilliantly merged scientific research from every corner of the Indian and Pacific Ocean to create a five day marathon of sharing, listening, and learning. As an undergraduate student, I’m still figuring out what area of the marine world I want to focus my post graduate studies on, attending this conference was extremely insightful and helpful.”

Pablo, who is based at University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia is studying the behaviour and conservation of the critically endangered Carcharias taurus (grey nurse shark) along eastern Australia.

He was delighted to recieve the bursary which helped him present his research at his first international conference.

The conference gave him access to a range of sessions from elasmobranch ecology, the emerging use of artificial intelligence in fisheries resource management, and utilising citizen science data to understand problems impacting developing nations.

Pablo also got the opportunity to network with other marine biologists who were at different stages of their careers.

MBA Student Member Pablo Alfonso Fuenzalida Miralles
Carcharias taurus aggregating southwest rocks Australia. Photo by Tatum Wray

He said: “I mingled with leading experts across multiple ecological disciplines, sparked new friendships with students and heard from research labs across the Indo-Pacific on potential posts for post-graduate students.”

He added: “This experience has broadened my perspective and presented a variety of potential avenues for postgraduate studies. I am immensely grateful to the MBA for this opportunity, which represents a significant step in my academic and professional journey. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for this bursary and commend the MBA’s initiative for fostering academic and professional development at such early career stages across the globe, it truly gives hope to those who think a career in this field is unattainable.

I want to thank the MBA once again for providing this opportunity, it was truly incredible to attend such a large conference and learn so much, and it comes at a perfect time in my post-graduate career.”

The MBA Bursary Program aims to provide financial support to individuals pursuing higher education or research opportunities in marine biology. With a strong belief in the importance of empowering the next generation of marine scientists, the MBA seeks to support aspiring marine biologists to achieve their academic and professional goals.

For more information about MBA bursaries, please visit our Student Bursary Application webpage or contact the Membership team at