The Hall Conservation Genetics Research Fund is specifically for students in the UW College of the Environment conducting research that incorporates modern molecular approaches to address challenges in fields of ecosystem conservation, natural resource management, and restoration of biodiversity.

Examples might include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • population genetics of endangered or imperiled species
  • detection/tracking of invasive, harmful, or cryptic species
  • genetic and epigenetic approaches to environmental impacts and stress response
  • species resilience in a changing landscape
  • biodiversity of nontraditional/manufactured ecosystems

Students should be able to demonstrate how the requested funding will be used to support a student-directed extension of a project in which the student is already engaged (i.e., a thesis or dissertation chapter).  The work should clearly be original and created/designed and conducted by the student.

The project should be designed to be accomplished within the academic year following the award. A scholarly research product, ideally a manuscript submitted to peer-reviewed journal, should result from the work by the student’s graduation date. An additional $500 towards publication costs may be requested after acceptance of a peer-reviewed publication resulting from the project.

Proposals are limited to a maximum of $10,000.  Funding is available immediately upon award and should be spent by the end of the following academic year. To access funds, a budget will be set up in the student’s academic unit by the unit administrator. Fiscal oversight is the responsibility of the student, their advisor, and the unit fiscal administration.

Funding restrictions

Funding can be put towards any legitimate research expense.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • travel to field locations to collect samples, or to work in the laboratory of a research colleague able to provide facilities not otherwise available locally
  • sample processing or other contract work that specifically advances the proposed student-directed research
  • materials and supplies the student will consume during the course of the proposed research

Funding may not be used for:

  • student stipend or salary, benefits, tuition or quarterly fees associated with enrollment in the graduate program
  • shared equipment
  • travel to present results of research, for instance at a national meeting


Applications for the 2024-2025 award year are due January 19, 2024. When applying, send required materials to the Dean’s Office (coenvaa@uw.edu).

Required content

Following is a list of required proposal elements. The choice of arrangement and formatting is yours. Your total proposal – exclusive of the cover sheet, budget spreadsheet, references and the letter of support from your adviser – must be no more than 3 pages, single-spaced, 11 point Calibri with one inch margins. If you have figures or tables, you will need to include them within this space limit. Failure to follow the guidelines relative to content and length will result in a proposal being returned unreviewed.

  • Cover Sheet

    Your name, academic unit (department or school), degree sought, year during the proposed research (i.e., your 4th year in a Ph.D. program); thesis or dissertation title; statement of good academic standing (i.e., you are making satisfactory progress towards your degree); adviser’s name.

  • Covid-19 impact

    What is the impact of COVID-19 restrictions (especially travel), if any, on your proposed work?  If there is an impact, please describe your plan for addressing it in order to complete your proposed project.

  • Issue/Question/Hypothesis

    In two sentences (max) please state the specific question your proposed research will address.


    A Plain Language Summary (PLS) is a concise, jargon-free paragraph summarizing a scientific study: the context for the work, the major results, and the So What?  The language should be easy for the interested non-specialist, including researchers from other fields and certainly including members of the public. This Plain Language Summary document provides greater detail on crafting your PLS.

  • Context

    Place your research within a literature or research context.  What work are you advancing with the proposed work?  Why will this work make a difference in conservation genetics?

  • Thesis or Dissertation Context

    How does the proposed work augment your proposed thesis or dissertation work?  Be specific in outlining your current graduate research work and the additional work you are proposing here.

  • Methods/Approach

    How are you going to carry out the proposed work?

  • Product

    What scholarly product will result from this specific piece of research?  If you are proposing a peer-reviewed journal article, what is your target journal?  If you are proposing a national scientific conference, what is the target society, meeting location, and date?

  • Timeline

    Create a simple timeline for the proposed work, from collection of samples/data, through laboratory analyses, to data synthesis, statistical analysis, and writing/presentation production and submission/delivery.

  • Budget

    Detail your proposed expenses so that a reviewer can easily understand how much each element costs, and how many things you are requesting.  For instance, if you are travelling to a field location, your budget could include mileage charges and total mileage to specific field locations, etc.  The best way to show a budget is in an excel spreadsheet.

  • Budget Justification

    Explain each line of your proposed budget so that a reviewer can understand why you need whatever you are proposing.

  • Unit Concurrence

    A letter from your academic unit agreeing to fiscal oversight of the award.

  • Letter of Support

    Your thesis/dissertation adviser must write a letter of support detailing:

    • How the proposed work augments and exceeds what the student is already doing
    • Why current research funding (for instance, grant funding already supporting the student) is not available
    • How the proposed work will result in a significant scientific advance
    • Evidence the student has the skills and ability to carry the proposed work to completion
    • Availability of faculty time and complementary lab resources (e.g., shared equipment, data) that will be needed for the project
    • Why the proposed scholarly product from the work is appropriate

Here are examples of an outstanding proposal and advisor letter of support. Please note that identifying information, including the proposal’s cover letter have been removed.

Proposal review

Proposals will be reviewed by faculty scientists who are experts in conservation genetics, and by faculty who are not experts in the field but who are natural scientists.  Please ensure that your language and explanations are general enough for non-experts to understand your meaning.  The majority of your proposal should focus on what you want to do and why, and how it extends what you are already doing, rather than on a review of knowledge to date.  At the same time, resist the urge to explain your methods in great detail – this takes crucial space you will need to explain your idea and its significance.

Each proposal will receive three independent reviews.  Reviewers will score each proposal on:

  • Impact, innovation and significance to the field
  • Impact on the thesis or dissertation work of the student
  • Likelihood of successful completion

Project requirements

Any publication or presentation of the work must explicitly acknowledge the Hall Conservation Genetics Research Fund. At the end of the academic year following the award, a max one-page report must be submitted to the Dean’s Office (coenvaa@uw.edu). The report should detail:

  • Expenditures
  • Remaining funds
  • Work completed
  • Scholarly product (including in process and expected date of completion)
  • Brief (2-3 sentences) description of results, including impacts of research

Unspent funds will be returned to the Dean’s Office unless a specific proposal for extension (work plan and timeline for extension; reason needed) is submitted and approved.

Hall Award recipients are also eligible to receive up to $500 for publication costs stemming from the research supported by the Award.  At the time of billing, recipients must submit to the Dean’s Office:

  • An invoice indicating award recipient, faculty adviser, and amount requested
  • The article being published, which must include acknowledgement of the Hall Conservation Genetics Research Fund

About the funders

During his 38 years in genetics, UW Professor Emeritus of Genome Sciences and Biology Benjamin (“Ben”) Hall made many key discoveries, including the patented invention “Expression of Polypeptides in Yeast” which the UW-licensed for the production of vaccines against Hepatitis B Virus and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), as well as Human Insulin and other recombinant proteins.  Hall’s more recent research has focused on understanding the speciation and evolution in the genus Rhododendron. Margaret Hall received her Ph.D in History from the UW, doing important thesis work on women in academia, and subsequently devoting herself to teaching.

Recipients of the Hall Conservation Genetics Research Fund


The College is pleased to announce the 2024 Hall Fund recipients:

  • Zinka bartolek

    School of Oceanography (advisor: E. Virginia Armbrust)
    Project: “Microbial interactions in the phycosphere: molecular mechanisms, natural community models, and environmental controls”

  • autumn maust

    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor: Patrick Tobin)
    Project: “Identifying high priority plans in post-fire restoration using Next Generation Sequencing on pollen foraged by native bees”

  • Haila Schultz

    School of Oceanography (advisor: Julie Keister)
    Project: “Using mock communities to account for amplification bias in zooplankton metabarcoding data”

  • chris setzke

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Kerry Naish)
    Project: “Genomic prediction in the wild: A case study in sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)”

  • anna simeon

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Lorenz Hauser)
    Project: “Balancing swimmer protection with ecotourism by providing population estimates for Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in South Africa”


The College is pleased to announce the 2023 Hall Fund recipients:

  • callum backstrom

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Jacqueline Padilla-Gamiño)
    Project: “Microbial symbiosis: investigating endolithic microbial diversity of coral reefs in light-limited environments”

  • yasmine hentati

    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor: Laura Prugh)
    Project: “Impacts of social-ecological factors on urban wildlife population and disease dynamics”

  • georges kanaan

    School of Oceanography (advisor: Jody Deming)
    Project: “Epigenetic adaptations in sea-ice bacteria”

  • mike sadler

    School of Oceanography (advisor: Robert Morris)
    Project: “Assessing the prevalence and ecological impacts of prophages in diverse SAR11 populations”

  • courtney skalley

    School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (advisor: Ryan Kelly)
    Project: “hidden in the bycatch: detecting and documenting an undescribed species of elasmobranch that may be common in bycatch and habitat-areas of particular concern”

  • sarah yerrace

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Luke Tornabene)
    Project: “Deep Reef Aliens: Understanding the threat invasive lionfish pose to vulnerable deep-reef-fish communities”


The College is pleased to announce the 2022 Hall Fund recipients:

  • Bryan briones ortiz

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Kerry Naish)
    Project: “Genome constructions of annual and perennial eelgrass (Zostera marina)”

  • Corinne Klohmann

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Jacqueline Padilla-Gamiño)
    Project: “Quantifying the pathogen filtration capability of eelgrass”

  • Samantha Kreling

    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor: Laura Prugh)
    Project: “Urban Islands: Assessing genetic diversity of Seattle urban coyotes through the lens of island biogeography”

  • Rachel Liu

    School of Oceanography (advisor: Jodi Young)
    Project: “Black carbon and blood snow: Examining the effect of pollutants on snow algae”

  • Natalie Mastick

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Chelsea Wood)
    Project: “Long-term change in the burden of anisakid nematode parasites for marine mammal hosts”

  • Sara Tanja

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Jacqueline Padilla-Gamiño)
    Project: “Characterizing the crustose coralline algae microbiome in response to ocean warming and plastic pollution with implications for coral larval settlement”


The College is pleased to announce the 2021 Hall Fund recipients:


    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor: Kristiina Vogt)
    Project: “Environmental DNA as an index for freshwater conservation and management”


    School of Oceanography (advisor: Jodi Young)
    Project: “Characterizing potential drivers of organic matter turnovers in changing polar oceans: first measures of RNA viruses in sea ice.”


    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor: Phillip Levin)
    Project: “Tracking the ecological impact of the Invasive European green crab (Carcinus maenas) with DNA metabarcoding.”


    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Andrew Berdahl)
    Project: “Characterizing genetically distinct ectomycorrhizal fungal communities adapted to a natural nitrogen gradient along salmon streams.”


  • Natalie Kellogg

    School of Oceanography (advisors: Gabrielle Rocap/Anitra Ingalls)
    Project: “Genomics of Prochlorococcus isolates cultivated from the oxygen deficient zone of the eastern tropical north Pacific.”

  • samuel may

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Kerry Naish)
    Project: “Examining the Effects of Predator Avoidance Behavior on Fitness and Recruitment in Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka).”

  • christina rathwell

    School of Oceanography (advisor: Gabrielle Rocap)
    Project: “Revealing viral activity and ecology of marine Oxygen Deficient Zones through DNA proximity linkages.”

  • Rebecca windell

    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor: Laura Prugh)
    Project: “Impacts of recolonizing wolves on coyote reproduction in Washington.”


  • Victoria Fox

    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor: Jonathan Bakker)
    Project: “Understanding the Microbiome of Pacific Northwest Prairies.”



    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor, Laura Prugh)
    Project: “Wildlife Whodunit: Forensic Identification of Predators to Improve Wildlife Conservation.”

  • Marta Gomez-Buckley

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Luke Tornabene)
    Project: “Assessing biodiversity, community ecology, and reef connectivity of cryptic coral reef fishes in two central south Pacific archipelagos.”

  • Lila westreich

    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor: Patrick Tobin)
    Project: “Conservation of Native Plant Genetic Variation to Understand Native Bee Foraging Behavior”



    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Steven Roberts)
    Project: “Characterization of Physiological Effects of Multiple Stressors and Identification of Biomarkers for the Pacific Oyster, Crassostrea gigas.”  Click here for more on Yaamini’s scholarly work.


    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Steven Roberts)
    Project: “Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of environmental stress response in Ostrea luridas.”  Click here for more on Laura’s scholarly work.


  • Martin Arostegui

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Thomas Quinn)
    Project: “Adaptive Genetic Variation in Rainbow Trout with Alternative Nonanadromous Life Histories: Informing Conservation of Intraspecific Diversity with High-density Genotyping.”  Click here for more on Martin’s scholarly work.

  • James Dimond

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Steven Roberts)
    Project: “Phenotypic plasticity and the delineation of coral species: can epigenetics account for incongruence between conventional and molecular taxonomy?”  Click here for more on James’ scholarly work.

  • Korena Mafune

    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor: Daniel Vogt)
    Project: “Creating a genetic database of fungi in canopy soils of rainforest canopies of the Olympic Peninsula.”


  • Tyler Dann

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: James Seeb)
    Project: “Improved understanding of the genetics of Pacific salmon advances management of commercial fisheries.”

  • Shannon Kachel

    School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (advisor: Aaron Wirsing)
    Project: “Snow leopards, wolves, and the ecology of fear in Central Asia.”  Click here for more on Shannon’s scholarly work.

  • Wesley Larson

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Lisa Seeb)
    Project: “Transforming conservation genetics theory into practice: using adaptively important genes to conserve discrete populations of economically important fishes.” Click here for more on Wesley’s scholarly work.


  • Meryl Mims

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Julian Olden)
    Project: “Conservation genetics of a Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the cryptic dryland amphibian Hyla wrightorum (the Arizona treefrog).”  Click here for more on Meryl’s scholarly work.

  • Charlie Waters

    School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (advisor: Kerry Naish)
    Project: “Reducing Genetic Risks to Wild Populations: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Managed Gene Flow to Reduce Adaptation in Captivity in Supportive Breeding Programs.”  Click here for more on Charlie’s scholarly work.