Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship

by Wells Reserve Contributor
Margaret A. Davidson profile photo.
Margaret A. Davidson was a visionary in the coastal management world, someone who saw the future with clarity and knew how to push for innovation.

Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowships offer graduate students a chance to work with a selected National Estuarine Research Reserve for 2 years. A single fellowship is available at each of the reserve sites.

Each fellow will address a key question to help scientists and communities understand coastal challenges relating to future policy and management issues.

Students will receive an annual stipend for research and travel, while each reserve will receive an annual equipment and supply budget to support their fellow.

Wells Reserve Needs

The following subjects have been identified by the Wells Reserve as priorities for its Davidson fellow.

Invasive Species Biology

Anthropogenic and climate-mediated processes are driving shifts in the distribution of invasive species (e.g., green crab), and estuarine systems are especially vulnerable to high rates of invasions. However, interactions between native and non-native species in our estuaries and coastal waters remain poorly understood. Therefore we seek a better understanding of these connections as it pertains to coastal and marsh dynamics and ecosystem services. Contact: Jason Goldstein

Healthy and Sustainable Fisheries in the Gulf of Maine

Climate change is already having adverse impacts on economically- and ecologically-relevant marine species in the Gulf of Maine, and we expect challenging environmental conditions (e.g., thermal stress, coastal acidification, disease) to persist. Therefore, we would like to expand empirical studies and predictive modeling to inform coastal resource stakeholders of how these stressors affect finfish and shellfish species, especially for those species that are considered data-poor. Contact: Jason Goldstein

Novel Tools/Methodologies to Assess Species of Conservation Concern

Environmental monitoring programs are essential for effective estuarine management, and they provide a strong basis for understanding ecosystem structure and function. But environmental DNA presents an opportunity to harness new technology and fundamentally improve our capacity to monitor biological communities. Therefore, we seek to expand this type of monitoring and develop best practices/analyses to provide end-users with a novel management tool. Contact: Jason Goldstein

Coastal Resiliency

Shorelines are increasingly vulnerable to storms, sea level rise, and erosion. In response, vulnerable coastal communities are making complex management and policy decisions about how to adapt to change. One issue related to adaptation remains difficult. ‘Relocation’ raises hard questions about property rights and emotional attachments to place. Therefore, research is needed to better understand the challenges of developing adaptation strategies and relocation policies and the methods for engaging communities in dialogues that build resilience. Contact: Chris Feurt

SWMP Data Science & Synthesis

The System-wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) measures changes to water quality and sea-level rise to inform coastal zone management. We seek to better synthesize these data to compare changes within our ecological communities, but we lack the analytical tools to comprehensively analyze such large datasets. Therefore, the development of new tools and analyses are needed to amplify these data with better precision to facilitate monitoring of other parameters (e.g., carbonate chemistry) in the future. Contact: Jason Goldstein

About Margaret

Margaret A. Davidson served in many leadership roles at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She was the founding director of the Coastal Services Center, acting director of the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, and acting assistant administrator for the National Ocean Service. She focused her professional work on environmentally sustainable coastal development practices, the reduction of risk associated with extreme events, and climate adaptation. NOAA is building upon her boundary-stretching legacy by training future coastal leaders through this fellowship program.

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Adapted from Watermark 36(1): Summer 2019

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