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11 posts in Student Spotlight

PhD candidate Natalie Mastick Jensen featured in new whale documentary “Fathom”

PhD candidate Natalie Mastick Jensen will be featured in an upcoming documentary premiering on June 25th on Apple TV+. As a research assistant, Natalie worked with Dr. Michelle Fournet for two weeks in southeast Alaska on a humpback whale playback study. The team worked to determine the social function of a certain non-song vocalization called the whup call.

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Harbor seal skulls provide clues to Puget Sound’s past food webs

The adage “you are what you eat” generally turns out to be true. Foods we ingest are broken down into amino acids and absorbed into our bodies, leaving trace elements in our bones. In turn, these amino acids can be traced back to their source like a biological receipt, revealing information about the environment. Using this knowledge, researchers are conducting isotope analysis of amino acids in harbor seal skulls to determine the composition of historical marine food webs.

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Capstone Highlight: New Species of Damselfish

Capstone research projects provide an exciting opportunity for students to put classroom learning into practice—and sometimes even publish their work. These senior projects are the culmination of the undergraduate experience here at SAFS.
Emily McFarland (BS 2020) published her capstone, “A new species of Chromis damselfish from the tropical western Atlantic (Teleostei, Pomacentridae),” this past December. The new species—Chromis vanbebberae —was revealed through phylogenetic analyses to be distinct from Chromis enchrysurus, commonly known as the Yellowtail Reeffish. 

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Julia Indivero awarded ESA 2021 Graduate Student Policy Award

Julia L. Indivero headshot

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is honored to announce the Katherine S. McCarter Graduate Student Policy Award (GSPA) 2021 cohort. This award provides graduate students with the opportunity to receive policy and communication training before they meet lawmakers. ESA selected 23 students to receive the award including Julia L. Indivero from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

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Bear hair sheds light on their diverse diets

Samples of bear hair in vials

Researchers from the University of Washington recently assessed the contribution of salmon to the diet of brown bears in Southwest Alaska. Their findings confirmed that while the bears are reliant on large seasonal salmon runs, they also eat a variety of other foods, including both vegetation and fauna. The research results were published November 5 in the online issue of the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management.

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Helena McMonagle awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Three graduate students from the College of the Environment have been awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, which recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This year’s awardees include Irita Aylward and Zoe Krauss from the School of Oceanography, and Helena McMonagle from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

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