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Lindsay preparing cameras for deployment on a NOAA ship.

Christopher Lindsay, a 17-year-old high school student from Honolulu was recently awarded a $50,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship from the Davidson Institute of Talent Development for his project, Kahakai to Hohonukai: Environmental Studies of Marine Biota Using Underwater Time-Lapse Photography and Multiple Camera Arrays at Various Depths. He is one of only 4 students from across the country to receive this level of award.

“As a Davidson Fellow Laureate, my research celebrates mankind’s curiosity, ingenuity, scientific achievements and determination to explore the unknown,” said Lindsay.

Lindsay worked with Margo Edwards, interim director of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) at the University of Hawaiʻi and interim executive director of Applied Research Laboratory at UH, along with HIGP Specialist Mark Rognstad on the Hawaiʻi Undersea Military Munitions Assessment. Lindsay developed new methods to observe marine life using arrays of inexpensive underwater time-lapse cameras. His project demonstrated that time-lapse photographic studies are crucial to assess the effects of human debris on marine environments and yielded unexpected results concerning the effects of pollution in our oceans.

When asked about the significance of Lindsay’s work, Edwards replied, “The global ocean is in trouble, but it’s so large—covering two-thirds of our planet—and so hard to study, that we only see a fraction of the big picture. That makes it very hard to understand much less solve the problem. Chris’ cameras are an incredibly cost effective way to study the ocean ecosystem at night, in remote locations, over longer intervals or at depth. His investigations have already documented things that were either unknown or poorly understood before, for example, reef sharks resting for long periods in relatively shallow water; cannibalistic deep-water shrimp; and species movements and interactions.”

About Christopher Lindsay

Christopher Lindsay

Raised among scientists and musicians, Lindsay spent his childhood playing multiple instruments. He has performed in classical and jazz venues in the United States and Japan, as well as helped discover an extrasolar planet, and spent time aboard a NOAA research vessel.

Lindsay has competed in more than 25 science fairs and won two national essay competitions honoring America’s veterans. He also earned a black belt in Shotokan Karate and competed nationally in USTA tennis. He is skipping his senior year of high school and has accepted an invitation from the University of Southern California to participate in their Resident Honors Program and Thematic Options Honors Programs, and will pursue degrees in astronomy and environmental science.

“We are thrilled to recognize the 2016 Davidson Fellows not only for their incredible projects, but also for the journey they forged to reach this point,” said Bob Davidson, founder of the Davidson Institute. “Every year I am amazed by the depth of the Fellows’ accomplishments. Through encouragement and recognition, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development anticipates that gifted students like these will be among the pioneers who will solve the world’s most vexing problems.”

Lindsay was honored, along with the other 2016 Davidson Fellows, at a reception in Washington, D.C., on September 21 hosted by Senators Harry Reid and Chuck Grassley.

About the Davidson Institute

Founded by Bob Davidson in 1999, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development recognizes, nurtures and supports profoundly intelligent young people, and provides opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference. The Institute offers support through a number of programs and services, including the Davidson Fellows Scholarship and the Davidson Academy of Nevada.

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship has provided more than $6.7 million in scholarship funds to 286 students since its inception in 2001, and has been named one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships by U.S. News & World Report. It is a program of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Reno, Nevada. that supports profoundly gifted youth.

For more information about the 2016 Davidson Fellows, please visit

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