2007 Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation: Developing New Tools for Ocean Protection

Contact: Justin Kenney, 215.575.4816, Polita Glynn, Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation, 305.421.4231


Miami, Florida - 02/16/2007 - How will climate change alter life for those dependent on Alaska's Bering Sea and Australia's Pacific Ocean for their food, traditions and incomes? How can marine protected areas safeguard migratory sea turtles, seabirds and whales in the Western Mediterranean Sea? Will a network of marine protected areas designed with local community input restore the severely degraded ocean habitats of the Philippines? How can an adaptive management plan conserve Japan's Shiretoko Natural Heritage site in the Sea of Okhotsk?

Five individuals from Australia, Japan and the United States will search for answers to these questions as recipients of the 2007 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation, awarded by the Pew Institute for Ocean Science. Each Fellow will receive $150,000 to conduct a three-year conservation project designed to address critical challenges to healthy oceans: two will focus on the challenges of global climate change in managing ocean ecosystems in the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean, and the three others will explore new strategies to design and develop marine protected areas in Japan, the Philippines and Spain. The recipients join more than 100 Pew Marine Conservation Fellows from 27 countries. This year, for the first time, the program adds Japan to the list of nations home to a Pew Fellow.

"Each year, we are privileged to select five new Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation from an outstanding group of international nominees. We are able to support rising stars who are developing new solutions to critical marine conservation issues," says Ellen Pikitch, Ph.D., a Pew Fellow herself and executive director of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. "The 2007 Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation are an impressive, accomplished group, and we hope that this award will further propel their efforts to conserve the ocean environment."

This year's Pew Fellows include:

  • Dorothy Childers, B.S. is a program director at the Alaska Marine Conservation Council in Anchorage, Alaska. Her Pew Fellowship project will address the challenges of fisheries management in the Bering Sea in the face of climate change. Ms. Childers will focus on developing new approaches to managing fisheries in a manner that fosters ecological resilience to warming oceans and encourages Alaskan natives, fishermen, and field scientists to fully engage in the process by sharing their unique perspectives.   
  • Patrick Christie, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the University of Washington's School of Marine Affairs and the Jackson School of International Studies in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Christie's Pew Fellowship project will address the unprecedented loss of biodiversity, habitats and ecological function in the Philippines by facilitating the formation and management of marine protected area networks in the region. Working in collaboration with the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, a non-governmental organization in the Philippines, Dr. Christie will conduct a multi-stakeholder process for the network design and implementation   
  • David Hyrenbach, Ph.D. is a research scientist at the Duke University Research Laboratory, in Durham, North Carolina and presently, a visiting scholar at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Hyrenbach's project will evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of establishing protected areas for highly-mobile marine vertebrates, such as birds, mammals and turtles, in the Alborán Sea of the Western Mediterranean. The project will also establish a framework for developing conservation measures in other areas of the Mediterranean Sea.   
  • Hiroyuki Matsuda, Ph.D. is a professor at the Yokohama National University in Yokohama, Japan. The first Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation from Japan, Dr. Matsuda will use his fellowship to develop a marine management plan for the Shiretoko World Natural Heritage site, which is a part the Sea of Okhotsk. His project will assess populations of Steller sea lions, sea birds (including Steller's sea eagles) and walleye pollock as benchmarks to measure the benefits of ecosystem management. He will also evaluate international co-management strategies since a large part of this region lies between Japan and Russia.   
  • Thomas Okey, Ph.D. is a senior quantitative marine ecologist with the Department of Marine and Atmospheric Research at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Queensland, Australia. Dr. Okey's Pew Fellowship project will evaluate the current and future impacts of climate change on the marine ecosystems of North American and Australian Pacific ocean regions. Dr. Okey will also develop strategies and tactics to assist national and international policy-makers in these areas.
In announcing the recipients of the 2007 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation, Dr. Pikitch recognized the complex problems that the Fellows will tackle. "The 2007 Fellows are well equipped to construct new tools to restore and protect oceans in the face of the daunting challenges imposed by climate change and its impact on ocean ecosystems."

The Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation funds research projects that address critical challenges in the conservation of the sea while also supporting communication of that information to increase awareness of global marine issues. Through the program's rigorous nomination and review process - an international committee of marine specialists selects Pew Fellows based on their potential to protect ocean environments - five unique and timely projects led by outstanding professionals in their fields are selected annually.

The mission of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science is to advance ocean conservation through science. Established by a generous multi-year grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pew Institute for Ocean Science is a major program of the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Photographs and more information about each of the 2007 Pew Fellows are available upon request. Detailed information about all Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation is available at: http://www.pewoceanscience.org.

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