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Volume 5, Number 4
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Knauss Fellows 2007

Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships for 2007 were awarded to three graduate students in Maryland, all at the University of Maryland. The fellowship was established in 1979 and is coordinated by the National Sea Grant Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Named for John A. Knauss, a former NOAA administrator, the program provides graduate students across the country with an opportunity to spend a one-year paid fellowship working with policy and science experts in Washington, D.C.

Lauren McChesney
Lauren McChesney is spending her fellowship year with the Marine Mammal Commission under the supervision of the Executive Director, Tim Ragen. Lauren will have the opportunity to work on a variety of issues, including climate change effects on Arctic marine mammals, possible reauthorization of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and development of U.S. policy for the 2007 meeting of the International Whaling Commission. McChesney completed a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Science at SUNY Cortland in 2003. She finished a wetlands analysis project in the Adirondacks before entering the MEES program at the University of Maryland in 2004. With her advisor, Dr. Katia Engelhardt, McChesney monitored the invasion and expansion of the submersed aquatic weed, Hydrilla verticillata, at Otter Point Creek, Maryland, and studied the effects of sediment particle size and nutrients on the competitive abilities of Hydrilla and a native species, Vallisneria americana. She is currently writing her thesis and will receive her M.S. in 2007.

David Kidwell
David Kidwell began work at NOAA's Center for Sponsored Coastal Research (CSCOR) in the hypoxia research program. He is helping assess the ecological impacts of hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico and develop future research and management strategies for the program. Kidwell obtained his B.A. in Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2001, during which time he volunteered as an aquarist assistant at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. After graduation, he worked for several years as a park ranger in Anne Arundel County Maryland. He began work on his M.S. degree in the MEES program in 2004 and has been conducting his research at USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) under Dr. Matthew Perry. Kidwell's thesis research is focused on the distribution and habitat use of surf scoters in Chesapeake Bay. In addition to his thesis work, he has participated in a variety of seaduck related research at PWRC, including satellite telemetry and food habits, as well as salvaging scoter eggs in Saskatchewan, Canada, for use in a captive colony. Kidwell is writing his thesis and will graduate in 2007.

Tom Smerling

Tom Smerling joined the National Ocean Service's Office of Special Projects (SP), under SP Director Dan Farrow. He is providing support to the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, a regional partnership formed to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf, and he will staff other projects as well.

Smerling comes to NOAA with an extensive background in public policy. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, and a former Humphrey Scholar at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he served as a Leadership Fellow in the American Enterprise Institute's foreign policy program and a Senior Consultant at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Subsequently he founded and directed for 13 years a think tank on U.S. Middle East policy.

As an M.S. candidate in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology at the University of Maryland College Park, Smerling and a team of students recently developed a resource manual for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for estimating the impact of sea level rise on coastal wildlife refuges, including a new quantitative model. His research interests include estuarine ecology and marine mammal conservation.

For more information about Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships, visit the web at www.mdsg.umd.edu/Policy/Knauss.

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