University of South Alabama (USA) doctoral student Steve Garner has been awarded a two-year, $77,000 fellowship through a program funded jointly by Sea Grant and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service. Garner is one of seven students selected from around the country in the highly competitive program, designed to cover the cost of tuition and living expenses for the recipients as they pursue their field of study.
Population dynamics is the study of the effects of fishing mortality, growth, recruitment and natural mortality on wild fish populations. Garner’s project, “Modeling the impacts of gear regulations in the northern Gulf of Mexico recreational reef fishery,” will assess the impact of gear-size regulations, particularly hooks, on red snapper populations in the Gulf of Mexico. William F. Patterson III, associate professor of marine science at USA, will mentor Garner as he conducts his research at Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
“My research is looking at ways to reduce discarding rates for red snapper and other reef fishes,” said Garner. “Determining the impacts of different hooks to fishes, how species are impacted by hooking and the fishing power and selectivity of different gears will increase our understanding of fishing’s effects on the ecosystem and how to reduce waste in the fishery.”
*Tara Skelton is a freelance writer in Ocean Springs, Miss.*