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Wager Receives Prestigious Scholarship Award

Bethany Wagner

Congratulations to Bethany Wager, NC State University, PhD student, Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology in the Department of Applied Ecology, who has been awarded a Dr. Nancy Foster scholarship award through NOAA. According to NOAA, “This scholarship is named for Dr. Foster in tribute to her outstanding contributions in advancing NOAA’s mission through her excellence leadership, mentorship and her lifelong passion for marine science.”  The scholarship award will cover Wager’s tuition, provide an educational stipend for her PhD work, and include support for a four-to-six-week program at a NOAA facility.  This support will continue throughout her PhD program.

Wager is partnering with both Monitor and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuaries in her current research which focuses on, “investigating the role of national marine sanctuaries in the greater ecosystem by evaluating differences in fish communities and large predator population dynamics at natural and artificial reefs over time.”  Wager says, “Understanding the influence of a changing climate and differing habitat characteristics on fish communities is of utmost importance as this information is a key factor in fisheries and habitat management plans.” 

In addition, Wager says, “understanding the population dynamics of large predators like sand tiger sharks is important for understanding reef fish community dynamics. Results from this work will provide a better understanding of the living and natural resources within the sanctuaries and surrounding waters. It will [also] provide estimates of apparent survival and detection probability of sand tiger sharks in NC waters, which has yet to be studied.”

Wager says she is “incredibly grateful for this scholarship opportunity” and looks forward to “conducting research on sharks and shipwrecks which are engaging topics for people of all ages.”