Six North Carolina graduate students are among the winners of the 2012 Walter B. Jones Sr. Awards, issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The awards for Excellence in Coastal and Marine Graduate Study recognizes graduate students whose research "promises to contribute materially to the development of new or improved approaches to coastal or ocean management." The N.C. town of Plymouth won a Jones award for excellence in local government. (See separate news release.) The awards are named for Walter B. Jones, Sr., who represented North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1966 to 1992, including many years chairing the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries.
Ten graduate student awards are given nationally every other year. North Carolina Sea Grant provided research funding for four of the six North Carolina winners in 2012. Also, three of the graduate students are doing research within N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve sites.
"The high number of North Carolina graduate students among the winners speaks to the excellent quality of marine and coastal research being conducted in our state as well as to the caliber of the students themselves," says Chris Brown, vice-president for research and graduate education for the University of North Carolina system.
Jennifer Cudney-Burch is a doctoral student with Roger Rulifson at the Institute for Coastal Science and Policy at East Carolina University. She was previously a Sea Grant Knauss Fellow in the Highly Migratory Species Management Division of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. As a Knauss Fellow, she made a valuable connection between fishermen and policy makers. Her dissertation research addresses the issue of spiny dogfish management along the U.S. East Coast and Canada. Cudney-Burch's research into spiny dogfish migration, funded by the N.C. Fishery Resource Grant Program, resulted in a new paradigm in spiny dogfish management plans being recognized at national and international levels. An article for Sea Grant's Coastwatch in summer 2010 highlighted her use of acoustics to track fish movement.
For a full list of Jones Awards' winners see: oceanservice.noaa.gov/programs/ocrm/jones-noaa-awards.html.
North Carolina Sea Grant's Coastwatch magazine is available at www.ncseagrant.org.
Sharon Settlage, Ph.D.
Graduate Communications Intern, North Carolina Sea Grant