Five distinguished scientists and conservationists based in Canada, India, Indonesia, Palau, and Rwanda, are this year’s recipients of the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation. The three-year fellowships will support research to improve ocean conservation and management, including a study of the link between healthy fish populations and healthy coral reefs off India, an evaluation of the status of marine mammal populations near Tanzania, an assessment of the success of marine protected areas in Palau, a review of traditional laws that govern marine resource use in Indonesia, and an analysis of ecological and societal impacts of sea otter recovery in British Columbia, Canada.
The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation provides fellowships to outstanding scientists and other individuals across the globe to support innovative projects aimed at developing and implementing solutions to critical challenges facing the world's oceans. For the first time in the program's history, fellowship awards are going to citizens of India and Indonesia.
“These fellows, like those who have come before them, bring diverse backgrounds, skills, and experience to the task of harnessing science and research for the purpose of better understanding and protecting the world's marine environment,” said Joshua S. Reichert, executive vice president of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Rohan Arthur, Ph.D., a senior scientist with the Nature Conservation Foundation in Karnataka, India. In his fellowship project, Dr. Arthur will gather data to better understand the contribution of healthy fish populations to the long-term resilience of coral reefs. He also will consult with fishermen to document past and present changes in fishing pressures on coral reef fish in the Lakshadweep Archipelago in India. His research will help promote ecologically sound management of fisheries and reefs.
Gillian Braulik, Ph.D., an independent researcher associated with the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, who is based in Rwanda. For her fellowship project, Dr. Braulik will design a cost-effective protocol for rapidly assessing the status of marine mammals and will apply it to the coastal waters of mainland Tanzania. The information will help guide future research and conservation efforts for at-risk marine mammals in the poorly understood ocean environment surrounding Tanzania. The project results also will serve as a model for other regions of the world.
Yimnang Golbuu, Ph.D., chief researcher of the Palau International Coral Reef Center and the first person from his country to obtain a doctorate in marine science. His fellowship project will assess Palau’s network of marine protected areas. Dr. Golbuu will determine the best design for an expanded network and use oceanographic models to identify priority locations for additional reserves that will protect the country’s biodiversity. He will share his results with other islands in Micronesia to encourage similar conservation efforts.
Meity Mongdong, the Bird’s Head Seascape capacity building manager at Conservation International Indonesia in Denpasar, Bali. Ms. Mongdong will review the largely unwritten traditional laws governing marine resource use in West Papua, Indonesia, and will lead efforts to develop better policies for regulation and enforcement. Using the islands of Raja Ampat in Indonesia as a case study for assessing an improved management approach, she will disseminate lessons learned through trainings, media, and a national-level curriculum for marine protected area managers.
Anne K. Salomon, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. In partnership with British Columbia’s coastal First Nations and the Hakai Beach Institute, Dr. Salomon’s fellowship project will synthesize data on the ecological and social impacts of sea otter recovery, including the effects on shellfish and other commercially and culturally valuable fisheries. She will engage other scientists as well as First Nations to develop community-based and scientifically informed ecosystem-based management policies.
“The 2013 Pew Marine Fellows add their vision and talent to new research and collaboration with stakeholders to help protect our vital marine resources,” said Polita Glynn, director of the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation. “We look forward to helping them advance ocean stewardship around the world.”
The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation has awarded 130 fellowships to individuals working in 33 countries. Each fellow receives US$150,000 to conduct a three-year scientific research or conservation project designed to address critical challenges to the oceans. Through a rigorous nomination and review process, a committee of marine specialists from around the world selects marine fellows based on the strengths of their proposed projects, including the potential to protect ocean environments. Cutting edge and timely projects, led by outstanding professionals in their fields, are chosen annually. The program is managed by The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, DC.