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Pew Names Five Marine Conservation Fellows for 2015

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GLOBAL - Five distinguished scientists and conservationists from Canada, Australia, Russia, and the United Kingdom are the 2015 recipients of the Pew fellowship in marine conservation.

The fellowships will support research to improve ocean conservation and management, including work to investigate the impact of ocean noise on marine life, a study to identify factors that help maintain coral reef "bright spots," an endeavor to better protect whales and dolphins in the Russian Pacific, a new effort to encourage bycatch reduction, and a collaborative project with Arctic Inuit to establish an artisanal fisheries research program.

The program awards recipients US$150,000 each for a three-year project designed to address ocean conservation challenges. It has awarded 140 fellowships to individuals from 32 countries since 1996.

"For nearly 25 years, the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation has provided world-class ocean scientists and conservationists with the chance to address some of the most critical challenges facing the world's oceans," said Joshua S. Reichert, executive vice president and head of environment initiatives for The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The 2015 Pew marine fellows:

  • Olga Filatova, Ph.D., a research fellow at Moscow State University, works to identify and protect the habitat most critical to the whales, dolphins, and porpoises of the Russian Pacific.
  • Aaron Fisk, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Windsor, seeks to engage Inuit community members in artisanal fisheries research, monitoring, and management in the Arctic.
  • Josh Cinner, Ph.D., a professor at James Cook University, strives to understand global coral reef "bright spots" and conditions that contribute to their success.
  • E.J. Milner-Gulland, Ph.D., a professor at Imperial College London, aims to reduce fisheries bycatch through use of novel incentives already successfully employed in terrestrial conservation.
  • Rob Williams, Ph.D., a marine conservation scientist with the Oceans Initiative and the Oceans Research & Conservation Association, conducts research to better understand the effects of marine noise on whales and to help officials set limits and establish protected areas.

"The 2015 Pew marine fellows are investigating creative ideas to improve ocean protection," said Polita Glynn, director of the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation.

"From understanding the special practices that help corals thrive, to finding innovative ways to reduce bycatch, these individuals are leading the way for marine conservation. I have no doubt their contributions will make a difference."

Through a rigorous nomination and review process, a committee of marine specialists from around the world selects the fellows based on the strengths of their proposed projects, including the potential to protect ocean environments. Five unique and timely proposals by outstanding mid-career professionals are chosen annually.

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