Biology Student’s Snapper Study Earns Her NOAA Scholarship

MELBOURNE, FLA.—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced that Michelle Sampaio Tishler Meadows, a master’s degree student in Florida Institute of Technology’s Department of Biological Sciences, has won a 2010 Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship. These prestigious awards recognize outstanding scholarship and encourage independent graduate level research, especially by female and minority students.

Meadows’ research project, “Spawning of Snapper Species (Lutjanidae) along the East Coast of Central and North Florida,” was identified as a high priority and well-constructed proposal.

“The content and timing of Meadows’ project were very strong, given the information needs for more sustainable management of Florida’s fishery resources,” said Ken Lindeman, co-adviser of Meadows’ project and research professor in Florida Tech’s Department of Marine and Environmental Systems. Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarships provide an annual stipend of $30,000 for two years, annual cost-of-education allowances up to $12,000 and up to $10,000 support for a four-to-six week research collaboration at NOAA facilities. A maximum of $94,000 may be provided to master’s degree students over two years.
“The competition for this coveted award was very tough,” said Jonathan Shenker, co-adviser for Meadows and associate professor in Florida Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences. “Ms. Meadows’ proposed study to determine historical and current snapper spawning sites is of tremendous importance, especially given the recent closure of the snapper/grouper fishery to allow the populations to recover from fishing. Her research will be of great use to managers assessing stock structure and current population status as they are responsible for reviewing or modifying current fishery regulations.”

Meadows recently returned from a NOAA Scholarship Orientation Training program in Silver Spring, Md., where she met with staff from NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries program. She said, “I look forward to working with a diverse array of anglers, scientists and managers to accomplish my research objectives. I feel well-prepared, given the rigorous training that Florida Tech students go through.”

She joins five other 2010 recipients and the approximately 45 scholars who have earned the scholarship since the program was initiated 10 years ago.

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