WSG News Blog

Two UW graduate students selected for the 2023 NMFS–Sea Grant Joint Fellowship

August 15, 2023

We are pleased to announce that two University of Washington (UW) graduate students, Zoe Rand and Anna Simeon, have been selected for the 2023 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship in population and ecosystem dynamics. 

Since 1999, the NMFS-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship program has trained the next generation of specialized experts in fisheries management. The program addresses the critical need for future fisheries scientists with expertise in stock assessment by supporting students pursuing doctoral degrees in related fields. A total of seven population and ecosystem dynamics fellowships and one marine resource economics fellowship will be awarded through this national program.

The field of population and ecosystem dynamics is vital to making high quality fishery stock assessments in order to properly manage U.S. fisheries. Fellows’ research focuses on modeling and managing systems of living marine resources, which includes quantitatively assessing the status of marine ecosystems, fish, invertebrates, marine mammals, seabirds and other targeted and protected species. The marine resource economics fellowship concentrates on economics related to the conservation and management of living marine resources.

During their fellowship, fellows are guided by at least two mentors, one from the fellow’s university and one from NOAA Fisheries, and they are required to participate in a yearly research symposium. 

The 2023 NMFS–Sea Grant Fellows from Washington are:


Zoe Rand

Project: Modeling populations dynamics of exploited whales using historical data

Faculty advisor: Trevor Branch

NOAA mentor: Paul Wade

Zoe Rand is a doctoral student in the Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management (QERM) program at UW. Her research involves quantitative analysis of historical whaling data to study the population dynamics of whales affected by commercial whaling. Her current projects include estimating movement rates of Antarctic blue whales, analyzing the impacts of whaling on sex ratios, extracting information from blue whale age data, and an assessment of the status of Antarctic blue whales. She holds a m

aster’s degree in marine mammal science from the University of St Andrews and a bachelor’s degree in Latin AmericansStudies from Mount Holyoke College. In her free time, Zoe likes to hang out with her cat, Cedar, go for walks around Seattle, swim, and experiment with gluten-free baking. 


Anna Simeon


Stress testing close-kin mark-recapture (CKMR): How does sampling bias in CKMR affect spawner population size in sockeye salmon?

Faculty advisory: Lorenz Hauser

NOAA mentor: Eric Anderson

Proudly Alaska-grown, Anna’s passion for all things ocean-related has spanned her entire life. As an undergraduate at UC San Diego, she worked with researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which led to an internship studying coral reef ecology at the CARMABI Research Station in Curaçao. Intrigued by the tropics, she relocated to complete her master’s degree in biology at the University of Guam, where she studied the genetic diversity of tropical marine plants. Enticed by the flexibility and broad utility of genetic analyses, she moved to Seattle to help establish and support a genetics-based research program to inform stock assessment and management practices at the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Anna is now a doctoral student at the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Outside of her studies, Anna is an outdoor enthusiast and spends her free time playing in the waters and mountains around Puget Sound. 


Since the fellowship began, it has supported over 120 population and ecosystem dynamics and 38 marine resource economics doctoral fellows. Alumni of this fellowship typically hold future positions in NOAA Fisheries, other agencies, academics and fishery management councils. To learn more about the field of fisheries management and how experiences like the NMFS-Sea Grant fellowships address the need for career development opportunities in this specialized field, see this report to Congress and this academic paper.


Washington Sea Grant, based at the University of Washington, helps people and marine life thrive through research, technical expertise and education supporting the responsible use and conservation of coastal ecosystems. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

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