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IWFA SCHOLARSHIP TRUST
SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS' RESEARCH PROJECTS

 

Dr. Song

Dr. Song research program on the spotted sea trout. Click here to enjoy some detailed information about the research and how it's moving along - spotted seatrout research


Katherine “Kate” Rose:

“The Florida stone crab fishery is generally considered “sustainable” because only the claws are harvested, thus providing an opportunity for crabs to be fished more than once in their lifetime. However, after the trauma of claw removal they seldom return to the fishery. My study aims to evaluate the physiological decline that crabs are expected to experience in traps, especially given that some fishermen are increasing the amount of time their traps are soaked for.”


Jessica Quinlan:

I am a student in the Predator Ecology and Conservation Lab at Florida International University. My research involves developing a method to collect species and size-specific catch data from the shark fishery in Belize, investigating if the application of a genetic technique can determine the relative abundance of sharks in an area, and conducting a genetic stock identification analysis on the third most traded species of shark fins in the Hong Kong seafood market. Often, developing nations lack the resources to collect important data to assess the sustainability of their fisheries, the objective of my dissertation is to test different cost-effective techniques that can aid managers in collecting these critical data.


Taylor Pantiga:

My research focuses on eelgrass (Zostera marina) populations located in north-central California. Due to climate change, eelgrass may be at risk of increased levels of seagrass wasting disease. My goal is to better understand the relationship between the pathogen responsible for seagrass wasting disease (L. zosterae), host plant genetic variation, and environmental stressors. The results from my research should provide insight for how to best conserve and restore eelgrass populations in this region.

 


Kaitlyn Tonra:

In the Caribbean, an invasive species of algal crust called Ramicrusta textilis has been rapidly overgrowing and killing corals since at least 2010. Ramicrustaalso seems to prevent new settlement by other algae and invertebrates, leaving an inhabitable layer of crust over huge swaths of previously diverse reefs. My current research is focused on the mechanisms behind the spatial dominance of this species. Specifically, I am interested in understanding more about the chemical properties of this species that may reduce herbivory. Coral reefs are already facing pressures from ocean acidification, warming, and other factors, and the introduction of this aggressive alga may tip the scales towards irreversible reef damage.”


Eleanor DiNuzzo:

For my PhD, I am examining how the invasive Asian Shore Crab disrupts community structure while occupying multiple trophic levels in the rocky intertidal. This work will provide possible insights about how the Asian shore crab facilitates mussel declines and help local fisheries understand what is driving the blue mussel collapse, which are an important basal resource that supports recreational and commercial fisheries in New England.

 


Sara R. Dixon:

Climate change represents a two-prong problem for coastal marine animals: rising temperatures means they need more energy to perform baseline functions, but declining food availability means they have less energy available to them.  Creating effective conservation solutions amid these alarming shifts requires an understanding of response and resiliency of marine species to changes in food availability.  My work uses novel methods to quantify the feeding ecology of three coastal species along the natural gradient of productivity (i.e., food availability) of the Atlantic coast of the United States.  This work will allow us to create a predictive model for how changes in food availability may affect the feeding ecology of species, a valuable tool for management and conservation efforts in the face of global change.

 


Stacy Calhoun:

"I am a PhD student at UL Lafayette studying the role of jellyfish in marine food webs—specifically in open ocean and deep-sea environments. Jellyfish are often underrepresented or omitted from food web models due in part to the general lack of knowledge surrounding their contributions food webs, both as prey and as producers of by-products such as nutrient-rich mucus. In addition to developing a vertically-integrated, oceanic food web model, I will be quantifying jellyfish mucus production and examining how quickly mucus aggregates sink and are metabolized by bacteria in marine systems."

Ashley Morgan:

My research investigates how ocean microplastics and harmful plastic additives (like UV protectants and phthalates) bioaccumulate and biomagnify in higher trophic level fishes. Stable isotopes and chemical analysis of tissue samples are used to determine how these plastics are absorbed in small invertebrates like shrimp and lobster and, subsequently, larger species groups like snappers, groupers, and barracuda.


Kiran Reed:

My masters thesis examines how recovering populations of giant sea bass (GSB) may impact the behavior of mesopredator fishes on nearshore rocky reefs in southern California. GSB fill a unique niche, being the only resident, teleost apex predator on the rocky reefs of southern California. GSB were fished to near extinction during the 20th century and their populations have only started to recover recently. My study will establish a baseline for understanding how GSB may influence the ecology of kelp forests in California.