Meet the 3 Pew Marine Fellows at the Vanguard of Ocean Conservation

From dolphins in Tanzania to sea otters in British Columbia, five scientists and conservationists will pursue a diverse set of marine ecosystem projects across the globe, with a nice stack of cash from Pew Charitable Trusts to support their work.

As the 2013 Pew Marine Fellows, organizations based in Canada, India, Indonesia, Palau and Rwanda will each be awarded $150,000 over the next three years to conduct research projects for ocean conservation. The awards are part of an annual program run by Pew Charitable Trusts, which have so far backed 130 fellows in 33 countries. This is, however, the first year fellowships have gone to candidates in India and Indonesia.

In India, Rohan Arthur will research how fish populations affect the health of coral reefs in the Lakshadweep Archipelago, both by collecting data and interviewing native fisherman. A senior scientist with Nature Conservation Foundation, Arthur seeks to help understand how fish populations and reef resilience are connected. And in Indonesia, Conservation International's Meity Mongdon will analyze and help locals enforce the mostly informal laws for managing marine resources.

Gillian Braulik, independent researcher associated with University of St. Andrews, Scotland, will develop a marine mammal rapid-assessment protocol by creating baseline data that can then be used to target conservation of species. Her study of cetaceans in Tanzania is intended to serve as a model for other regions.

In Palau, Yimnang Golbuu will be working to better integrate and expand the several disconnected marine reserves in his country, which could then be duplicated in other areas in Micronesia, home to ecologically rich coral reefs. The fifth fellow, Anne Salomon, is an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Her work will focus on sea otter populations and how they affect other species and fisheries. She will work in Alaska and Canada to study how the recovery of sea otters can impact shellfish and other species' abundance.

The fellowships are part of Pew Charitable Trusts' sizable marine program, conducting science and advocacy. The program works on issues like species protection — recently sharks and rays — as well as protecting habitats and restoring fisheries. 

Each year, leaders in marine conservation are invited to nominate researchers working on innovative projects. The fellows are usually up-and-coming professionals doing interesting work, with the idea that the Pew award will give their careers a boost.

To find out more about the Pew Marine Fellowship, contact Jo Knight at jknight@pewtrusts.org.