Alaska Sea Grant in the News

UAF students win fellowships for excellence in fisheries research

Date: April 2, 1999

FAIRBANKS, Alaska--The Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center has awarded fellowships to nine graduate students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

Fellowships were awarded to students who've demonstrated outstanding academic excellence in their area of research, and whose research will either benefit scientific knowledge or be applied to a specific fisheries issue. The fellowships cover the cost of tuition at the university and pay a small stipend that allows the students to focus on their research.

This year's awards were given to students studying interactions of forage fishes with marine mammals, genetic stock identification of salmon and salmon life history studies, and interdisciplinary studies on fishery stocks.

The center was established in 1994 with a one-million-dollar endowment from National Bank of Alaska founder Elmer E. Rasmuson. Since then, Rasmuson has made several additional contributions, including more than $130,000 this year. Other contributors include Wards Cove Packing Company, which contributed more than $100,000 to the center. Interest earnings from the endowment fund the fellowships.

Rasmuson established the Fisheries Research Center out of a long-standing goal of seeing the state's commercial fishing industry become a sustainable economic mainstay in Alaska. He foresaw the value of a strong university-based research program in achieving this goal.

"I think [the research center] has proven to be successful in sharpening the focus [of research at the university]." Rasmuson said.

The Alaska seafood industry is the state's largest non-government employer and second largest revenue industry. More than half of the U.S. seafood harvest comes from Alaska waters. Last year, commercial fishermen in the state caught more than one billion dollars' worth of crab, salmon, pollock, halibut and other fish species.

Since 1994, 19 students have received Rasmuson Fellowships for research aimed at addressing specific fisheries issues of importance to fishermen and fisheries managers.

This year's Rasmuson Fellows are:

Grace Abromaitis, M.S., "Carbon and Nitrogen Ratios in Thick-billed Murres: A Proxy for Bering Sea Primary Production."

Dmitri Churikov, Ph.D., "Evolutionary History and Contemporary Structure of North Pacific Pink, Chum, and Sockeye Salmon Populations Derived from Allozyme, Mitochondrial DNA, and Microsatellite DNA Analysis."

Sherri C. Dressel, Ph.D., "Habitat-Focused Surveys and Analysis Measures for the Assessment of Interannual Fluctuations in Juvenile Flatfish Abundances."

Julia Mabry, M.S., "Condition and Food Availability to Pacific Sand Lance in Prince William Sound, Alaska."

Franklin Satterfield, M.S., "Trophic Structure Analysis of North Pacific Salmon in Two Oceanic Regimes: A Retrospective Study Using Stable Isotopes d13C and d15N

Karen Scheding, M.S., "Bathymetric Distribution of Dungeness Crabs in Bays with and without Sea Otters."

Zhenming Su, Ph.D., "Optimal In-season Management of Pink Salmon Given Uncertain Run Sizes and Declining Economic Values."

Stephen J. Trumble, Ph.D., "Assessing the Dietary Significance of Commercially Important Fishery Species on the Health Status of Captive and Free-Ranging Pinnipeds in Alaska."

Steven Whitney, M.S., "Impact on Commercial Fishes by the Schyphomedusa Chrysaora melanaster (brown jellyfish) in the Bering Sea."

For more information, contact Al Tyler, Director, Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center, 907-474-6732.

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