Current Award Recipients (FY2020)
2020 Gumbo Limbo Nature Center Grant
PhD student, Aaron Ridall, has just received a grant from the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, a non-profit organization in Boca Raton, Florida, that focuses on inspiring stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems. Gumbo Limbo collaborates with the local community, including schools, to improve sea turtle conservation, foster education about Florida’s marine environments, and facilitate citizen science. Thanks to the generoisty of the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Aaron will be able to conduct his research on how microplastics concentrations in sediments change seasonally. He will be measuring the concentrations of microplastics in ocean sediments in proximity to wastewater outflow into the Gulf of Mexico and in a pristine site to assess differences caused by human populations.
2020 PADI Foundation Grants
Blake Hamilton (l), a Masters student in Dr. Dean Grubbs’ lab, and Aaron Ridall (r), a PhD student in Dr. Jeroen Ingels' lab, were both recently awarded a grant from the PADI Foundation. Blake's research revolves around the effects of environmental variation on trophic interactions, community composition, and fish movement in Apalachicola Bay. Aaron's research focus is on how microplastics concentrations in sediments change seasonally, and how the presence of microplastics influences the effectiveness of nutrient cycling by nematodes in benthic systems. Congratulations to both of these standout students! We look forward to see how each of their research endeavors progress over the coming months.
2020 Explorers Club OceanX Grant
Congratulations to Ethan Cissell, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences (Advisor: Dr. Sophie McCoy), on receiving an OceanX Explorer Grant from The Explorers Club. OceanX focuses on marine exploration and biological discovery in the most inaccessible parts of the ocean. They seek to partner with scientists who are willing to push the boundaries of research in their fields, and provide tools to help them accomplish their goals. Cissell's research aligns perfectly with this pioneering attitude as this grant will help him explore the influence of predation on the bloom dynamics of benthic cyanobacterial mats on reef sites offshore the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory.
2020 FSUCML Board of Trustees Scholarship Recipients
The FSUCML Board of Trustees Scholarship is funded through the generosity of the FSUCML Board of Trustees. This scholarship supports FSU graduate students who use the FSUCML as a base for conducting their research. Congratulations to the 2020 recipients:
Rachael Best, (Dept. Biological Science. Advisor: Dr. Don Levitan) will target her research in the ecology of marine benthic invertebrates and the effect that environmental stressors have on their population dynamics.and researching how stressors, such as high macroalgal cover or sedimentation, effect gorgonian octocoral population dynamics in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Octocorals are largely understudied and Rachael hopes to shed light on the mechanisms driving observed patterns in gorgonian distribution, abundance, and population dynamics between limestone reefs, as well as how increasing stressors will alter these populations
Randi Bowman, (Dept. Biological Science. Advisor: Dr. Sandra Brooke) will research how depth affects coral ecology. Particularly, the relationships between depth and corals in terms of coral-zooxanthella symbioses and community structure. Much of the mesophotic and deep sea remains understudied because of the difficulty associated with accessing such remote ecosystems, but their ecological importance merits continued study. Randi hopes to use her research to add to the existing body of work done in these systems
Ethan Cissell, (Dept. Biological Science. Advisor: Dr. Sophie McCoy) will study interactions between endolithic bacteria and their host coralline algae, as well as viral top-down control on endolithic community composition and abundance. Ethan will focus on nutrient exchanges between the endolithic community and the host coralline, impacts of nutrient exchange on host ecology, and bioerosion of the living host. Empirically based models of bacterial population dynamics in conjunction with viral titre will be constructed to run cost-benefit analysis of bacterial colonization for the host, as well as to explore the consequences of changing ocean chemistry on bacteria-host-virus interactions.
Blake Hamilton, (Dept. Biological Science. Advisor: Dr. Dean Grubbs) will target his research in the field of fisheries ecology, more specifically with respect to elasmobranchs and their interactions with other fishes. Blake also hopes to investigate temporal variation in trophic interactions with the help of stable isotope analysis, and supplement this with spatial data via acoustic telemetry to identify the movement of sharks between environments that may reflect different stable isotope signatures.
2020 John Knauss Marine Policy Fellow
Congratulations to Bryan Keller (Dept. Earth Ocean & Atmospheric Science. Advisor: Dr. Dean Grubbs), 2020 John Knauss Marine Policy Fellow. As a 2020 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow Bryan will be working for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Ocean and Atmospheric Research International Activities Office in Washington D.C. The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides a unique educational and professional experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The Fellowship, named after one of Sea Grant's founders, former NOAA Administrator, John A. Knauss, matches highly qualified graduate students with "hosts" in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one year paid fellowship. Bryan hopes to be in a fisheries office working on management issues.