WSG News Blog

Three Washington Graduate Students Selected for the 2019 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship

August 21, 2019

Washington Sea Grant is excited to share that three of the eight graduate students selected for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)–Sea Grant Fellowship this year are from the University of Washington. Through the fellowship, doctoral students are provided with two- and three-year research opportunities in either population and ecosystem dynamics or marine resource economics, including direct experiences working closely with local NOAA experts on thesis issues of public interest and relevance to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

The 2019 NMFS–Sea Grant Fellows from Washington are: 

John Best

Project: Improving spatial indices of abundance with fishery-dependent and -independent data

Faculty Advisor: André Punt, University of Washington

NOAA Mentor: James Thorson, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle

John is a doctoral student in the Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management program at the University of Washington. His research focuses on applying spatiotemporal statistical models to questions in fisheries management and ecology. In particular, he is exploring approaches to improving indices of abundance by combining fishery-dependent and -independent data, accounting for preferential sampling in fishery-dependent data, and allowing for more realistic spatial structure. He earned a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2016, where he developed a spatial model for mapping permafrost in Alaska. Prior to graduate school, he worked in aviation maintenance and the outdoor industry.

Megan Feddern

Project: Quantitative Ecosystem Chemistry: time series modeling of a century of coastal productivity and predator trophic position indicators derived from archival bone

Faculty advisor: Gordon Holtgrieve, University of Washington

NOAA mentors: Eric Ward and Christopher Harvey, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle

Fisheries Science Center and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Canada).

Megan grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She first became interested in aquatic ecosystems while majoring in biology at Boston University and eventually conducted her senior thesis investigating prey quality of forage fish in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem in collaboration with Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Upon graduation, Megan worked at Kauaʻi National Wildlife Refuge, where she developed a greater appreciation the cultural value of natural ecosystems. Currently she is a doctoral student at University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Megan’s fellowship project aims to model how the role of harbor seals in the Salish Sea and coastal Washington has changed over the past century in response to prey availability, environmental productivity and legislative action, using chemistry of museum skull specimens.

Maia Sosa Kapur
Project: Effects of Spatial Mis-specification in Management Strategy Evaluation for Northeast Pacific Sablefish

Faculty advisor: André Punt, University of Washington

NOAA Mentors: Dana Hanselman and Melissa Haltuch, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Auke Bay and Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle

Maia received her master’s degree in marine biology from the University of Hawaii (2016) and bachelor’s degree in environmental science from UC Berkeley (2014). She worked in the life history and thenstock assessment programs at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (NOAA) before joining the doctoral program with Dr. André E. Punt at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences in fall 2018. Her work emphasizes theimportance of correctly specifying spatial processes (such as movement and climate forcings) in assessment models when performing management strategy evaluation, with a focus on the Pacific sablefish stock. This project is a collaboration between the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Alaska.

Congratulations to all!