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NC Doctoral Student is NOAA Fisheries Fellow


Sara Mirabilio, 252/475-3663 ext. 29,
E-Ching Lee, 919/515-9098,

Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Meagan Dunphy-Daly started her three-year stint as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries/Sea Grant Fellow in Population Dynamics in June. The fellowships support doctoral students in fisheries population dynamics or marine resource economics.

                        Meagan Dunphy-Daly

Dunphy-Daly, from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, is studying the effect of marine protected areas, or MPAs, on populations of top open-ocean predators, such as tunas, billfishes and sharks.

The fellowship, which will fund her dissertation research until 2015, has enabled her to assess fishing effort as a function of distance from an MPA in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. She is seeking to determine if the amount of fishing increases around an MPA the longer it has been established and how that affects predators.

"Being able to work with scientists who are familiar with the data that I am analyzing is invaluable. I got to experience daily life at a NOAA center and I will have a chance to join in a NOAA research cruise in July 2013," Dunphy-Daly says. She is collaborating with fellowship mentor Jeffrey Polovina and his colleagues at NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Hawaii.

The Ferndale, Mich., native received her bachelor's degrees in biology and studio art from Oberlin College in Ohio, and her master's degree in biological sciences from Florida International University.

"The fellowship is an excellent means of promoting conservation and management of living marine resources," says Sara Mirabilio, the state fellowship coordinator. "It provides real-world experience to doctoral students and increases their expertise in this discipline, as well as fosters closer relationships between academic scientists and federal fisheries managers." Mirabilio also is a fisheries specialist for North Carolina Sea Grant.

North Carolina Sea Grant will start accepting fellowship applications in early December. Check for an update. For general information, visit For state-specific details, contact Mirabilio at or 252/475-3663 ext. 29.


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