The Second Century Stewardship Science Research Fellowship program will seek to advance conservation and ecosystem science and provide information to support stewardship of park resources. A high profile competitive program will contribute to strengthening and broadening public understanding of the importance of parks for science and science for parks and society. The science conducted through the fellowships program will be leveraged to advance science understanding and appreciation among the public.
Allyson Jackson will study the importance of emergent aquatic insects to riparian bird diversity. Specifically, she'll look at these birds' exposure to mercury contamination after consuming insects that emerge from the aquatic environment. She will use citizen scientists to collect data and track seasonal changes in both birds and bugs.
Jackson holds biology degrees from Juniata College and the College of William and Mary and is scheduled to receive her Ph.D. from the Fisheries and Wildlife department at Oregon State University. Her dissertation explores the food web interactions that influence mercury exposure in avian species.
She has worked at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City and as a wildlife research biologist for the Biodiversity Research Institute in Maine, researching mercury in forest songbirds. She has had papers published in the journals Science of the Total Environment, Ecotoxicology, and Journal of Wildlife Management.
Alessio Mortelliti will study how seed predation may affect the successful dispersal of trees and shrubs and may limit their ability to expand into northern habitats in response to climate change. He hopes the results of the field experiments will allow managers to predict how local forest communities might change in the coming years as global warming causes new species to move north and take appropriate actions.
Mortelliti, who holds degrees from the La Sapienza (University of Rome), is an Assistant Professor in Wildlife Habitat Conservation at the University of Maine, where his lab's research is focused on the impact of land-use change on vertebrate species (mammals and birds). He combines large-scale field-based projects with cutting-edge quantitative approaches and has conducted projects in Europe, Africa, the United States, southeast Asia, and Australia.
He serves as an associate editor of PLoS One and Hystrix Italian Journal of Mammalogy and has been published in Diversity and Distributions, Biological Conservation, Journal of Applied Ecology, and Animal Conservation. He is a recipient of the NERP-EDG for science communication, the Australian National University Fellowship, the Brusarosco Prize, and a World Wildlife Fund Biodiversamente grant, among other honors.
Chris Nadeau will catalog and study freshwater rock pools at Schoodic Point, and use them as a model system to increase understanding of how climate change may affect biodiversity. Understanding biodiversity in these pools will provide new opportunities for interpreters and visitors and provide baseline data to support long-term research. Predicting future biodiversity in these pools will help researchers understand whether unique fauna will be lost from the park due to climate change and contribute to global research attempting to understand how climate change will affect whole ecosystems.
Nadeau, who holds degrees in natural resources from the University of Arizona and Cornell University, is a Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Connecticut. He studies the potential impacts of climate change on species populations around the globe using simulation modeling, field observations, and experiments to help predict where species might be most vulnerable to climate change and how conservation organizations can mitigate negative impacts in their region. He also studies avian monitoring and management techniques, with a focus on rare and elusive wetland birds.
He spent nearly a decade as a wildlife biologist in Arizona and has work published in Global Change Biology, Restoration Ecology, and Wetlands. He also organized a symposium on Spatial Tools to Address Climate Change Impacts at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Elizabeth “Abbey” L. Paulson will study the “Environmental DNA analysis of soil and intertidal communities and freshwater habitat connectivity in Acadia National Park.” By focusing on the whole community ecology of the park—with a particular emphasis on the freshwater, soil, and intertidal zone systems of Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Peninsula, and Isle au Haut and the organisms found there—she will strive to understand the impact of global phenomena, such as biological invasions and climate change, on the local ecosystem.
Paulson, who holds a B.A. in environmental science from Mills College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, has studied the Mojave ground squirrel in California, desert springs of Nevada, rainforests of Belize, and butterflies in Colorado.
She has published articles in Biological Invasions and Conservation Genetics and given presentations at a variety of meetings, including the Ecological Society of America, the Guild of Rocky Mountain Ecologists and Evolutionary Biologists, the International Association for Landscape Ecology, and the Desert Fishes Council.
Photo Credit: Ann Rappaport.