Durham, NH – Recent UNH graduate John Meyer, who completed his M.S. in zoology last spring, has been awarded a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship for 2006. Sponsored by the National Sea Grant College Program, the year-long paid fellowship program matches recent graduate students with hosts in the legislative and executive branches of government.
Beginning in February, Meyer will spend one year in Washington, DC, working with U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R, Maryland) on marine-related policies and regulations. "I've been into ecology for a long time, but I've always had policy in the back of my mind," Meyer says.
Meyer, originally from San Diego, first became interested in marine policy while earning a B.A. in environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. As a master's candidate at UNH, Meyer worked with assistant professor of zoology Jeb Byers to study ecology in the Gulf of Maine. Specifically, he investigated how the creation of the Western Gulf of Maine Closure Area, an area closed to ground fishing, has affected the local community of invertebrates.
Meyer has also been involved with the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. The project, based at UC Santa Barbara, brings researchers together to synthesize ecological data, making it available to both policy makers and the public. Through his research and his work with NCEAS, Meyer has been able to pursue his interest in ecosystem-based management, a process that blends biological, social and economic factors into a comprehensive strategy for protecting natural resources.
"I think ecosystem-based management is going to be a big issue in coming years," Meyer predicts. He looks forward to becoming even more involved through his work on Capitol Hill. "This is exactly what I'm into: bringing science to inform policy," he says.
The Knauss fellowship program is named in honor of John A. Knauss, a former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a founder of the Sea Grant program. Sea Grant is national network of more than 30 programs that provide support, leadership and expertise for university-based marine research, extension and education.
Sea Grant is now accepting applications for the 2007 Knauss Fellowships. The program is open to graduate and professional students in marine- or aquatics-related fields. The deadline for applications is April 6, 2006. For more information, visit the NH Sea Grant fellowship information page. – Kirsten Weir, NH Sea Grant Science Writer