Virginia Marine Resource Bulletin
Volume 44, Number 2, Summer 2012
By Margaret Pizer
Virginia Sea Grant has awarded two-year Graduate Research Fellowships to five students at Virginia institutions. The fellowship supports Ph.D. students engaged in coastal and marine research relevant to Virginia and the VASG strategic plan. The program emphasizes communication skills, and fellows work with outreach or end-user mentors to ensure that their research results are used by stakeholders.
Billur Celebi is advised by Dick Zimmerman at Old Dominion University. She is studying the effects of climate change on eelgrass, and she will work with outreach advisor Chris Witherspoon of the Virginia Aquarium to develop educational programming about seagrass for a variety of ages and audiences. Read more here about the seagrass research team at ODU.
Anna Murphy is advised by Mark Luckenbach and Iris Anderson at VIMS. She is investigating the flow of nitrogen in areas of intense clam aquaculture. Murphy is part of the research team featured in this photo-essay. Outreach mentor Karen Hudson, the VASG Commercial Shellfish Extension Specialist, will work with Murphy to help her make contacts in the clam aquaculture industry and discuss her results with them to help keep their farming efforts sustainable
Ryan Schloesser is advised by Mary Fabrizio at VIMS. His research investigates indicators of health in juvenile fishes and the impact of these characteristics for the dynamics of striped bass, summer flounder, and Atlantic croaker populations in the Bay. Schloesser will work with outreach advisor Robert O’Reilly of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and will have the opportunity to participate in fisheries management discussions that VMRC is involved in. Read more about Schloesser’s research.
Mark Stratton is advised by Rob Latour at VIMS. He will characterize the ecology of the nearshore fish communities of the U.S. East Coast by studying the abundance, distribution, and diets of fishes found in several trawl surveys. He will work with outreach mentor Geneviève Nesslage of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to incorporate his results into efforts to model, understand, and manage multiple fish species simultaneously using ecosystem-based fisheries management.
Xiaoyu Xu is advised by Michael Newman at VIMS. For her thesis work, she has created a database of mercury concentrations in commonly eaten fish species in the Lower Chesapeake Bay and is modeling the mercury exposure of specific populations of people in the region based on their fish consumption. Outreach mentor Erica Holloman of Southeast Care Coalition is advising Xu in the creation of outreach materials based on her research to communicate the benefits and risks of fish consumption to local people.