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College of Charleston Student Secures Research Fellowship

Apr 1, 2011 | News

Jennifer Hein, a candidate in the Master of Science in Environmental Studies Program at the College of Charleston, has been awarded a Coastal Research Fellowship for 2011.

The two South Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserves (North Inlet-Winyah Bay and ACE Basin NERRs) and the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium established this new fellowship for South Carolina-based graduate students with significant support provided through North Carolina Sea Grant. The fellowship is designed to foster collaborative research with the two NERRs.

Hein will study and compare the impacts of an invasive parasitic species on American eel populations in each of the two NERRs and the more developed Cooper River. The invasive parasite, originally from East Asia, infects the swim bladder of American eels.

Hein will study eels collected by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources from the three sites. She speculates that the NERRs are healthy ecosystems that maintain healthier eel populations, which are more capable of resisting infections by this invasive parasite.

Her hypothesis is that eel populations from the three different sites, representing a range of development impacts, will exhibit different abilities to resist infection.

“I am very excited about this project,” Hein said, “especially because I will be collaborating with so many different groups, including the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the NERRs, and Sea Grant. It’s a great networking opportunity and an excellent chance to learn from experienced scientists and professionals.”