The John Ray Trust is pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s John Ray Trust Science Prize is Joel Gayford for his research on sharks. Congratulations to Joel for his fascinating project investigating how and why two species of shark, the Pacific Sharpnose and the Scalloped Hammerhead, change in shape as they grow from a juvenile into an adult shark. His meticulous fieldwork, and consideration of the life cycle and adaptations of the sharks to their environment and food sources, demonstrated clear links to the style of natural history John Ray championed during his lifetime.
On Thursday 15 September 2022 Joel attended a special prize giving ceremony at Notley High School and Braintree Sixth Form where he talked to current GCSE and A-Level students about his research project and what it was like to study at the University of Cambridge. Joel carried out his field research in Mexico, and it was interesting for the students to hear more about the practical side of studying the natural world. The talk was very inspiring for this next generation of students, and we hope it has encouraged some of them to considering studying natural history and/or applying to study at the University of Cambridge.
Joel displayed a clear passion for sharks and his career goal to become a leader and expert in the field of elasmobranch [sharks, ray and skate] ecology and evolution. We wish Joel all the best as he begins his MRes in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College London and we are sure we will be continuing to read of his future successes and breakthroughs in this field.