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Webinar: Davidson Fellowship Research in Gulf NERRs (National Estuarine Research Reserve System)

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Thursday, 02 June 2022, 12:00

Thursday, June 2, 2022. 12:00 PM. Webinar: Davidson Fellowship Research in Gulf NERRs (National Estuarine Research Reserve System). Matthew Virden, PhD, candidate at Mississippi State University; Kristine Zikmanis, PhD candidate at Florida International University ; Philip Souza, Ph.D. candidate at University of Texas Marine Science Institute; Mai Fung , Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Alabama; Kira Allen. Sponsored by NOAA/NOS Office of Coast Management. More information here. Register here.

Abstract: National Estuarine Research Reserves across the nation work to address key coastal management questions to help scientists and communities understand challenges that may influence future policy and management strategies on our coasts. The NERRS Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship program provides opportunities for university graduate students to conduct research at reserves that can help address these questions. Through their fellowships, they participate in NOAA-provided career-focused training and professional development opportunities like the NERRS Annual Meeting or GOMCON. During this time, they are also building their professional contacts with their fellowship class, professionals across the reserve system, and throughout NOAA. In the Gulf of Mexico, Davidson Fellows at each of the five Gulf Reserves are in the process of completing their 2 year research fellowships. Working with their Reserve mentor, the fellows have conducted some exciting research at our gulf sites. In this session, each fellow will share some specifics about their research, how they worked with the reserve and their findings. Through their work, the fellows are improving our understanding of our Gulf of Mexico estuaries and bringing together universities, communities and reserves to help solve key coastal management questions.

Matthew Virden - Matthew is a PhD candidate at Mississippi State University. His research interest is coastal conservation and restoration, including living shorelines and oyster reef restoration. And his dissertation and Davidson Fellowship research is focused on evaluating the effectiveness of nearshore oyster reef restoration. His research also includes work with wave energy, wave-plant dynamics, and the use of unmanned aerial systems in coastal conservation and restoration.

Kristine Zikmanis - Kristine is a PhD candidate at Florida International University in the Heithaus Lab for Marine Community & Behavioral Ecology. Her primary interest is in the potential impacts of changing environmental conditions on top level predators, particularly in relation to ecological restoration. Her dissertation research is focused on investigating the impacts of spatiotemporal variation in freshwater flow on juvenile bull sharks in the Ten Thousand Islands. She is aiming to use this knowledge to help predict how bull sharks may respond to the completion of the Picayune Strand Restoration Project.

Philip Souza - Philip is a Ph.D. candidate in the Brandl fish and functions lab at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. He is interested in the impacts of climate change and human modification on the health and function of estuarine communities. And his dissertation work uses passive acoustic and cryptobenthic fish sampling techniques to understand how fish distribution, behavior, and community structure change with local disturbance.

Mai Fung - Mai is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Alabama. She came from a public health background and worked in consulting for four years before beginning her PhD in marine sciences. As a consultant, I looked at the world from a human health perspective and I wanted to transition to looking at the world from a broader, ecosystem health perspective. And her dissertation work focuses on understanding different drivers of eutrophication, and how toxins such as mercury are affected by eutrophication.

Kira Allen - Kira is a Master's student at the University of Central Florida in the Lewis Lab of Applied Coastal Ecology and the Davidson Fellow at Apalachicola NERR. Her broad research interests include food web ecology, fisheries science and climate change impacts. Her Master's thesis and Davidson Fellowship work involves modeling the Apalachicola Bay food web response to freshwater reduction and sea level rise.

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