HRI Graduate Meghan Martinez selected for NOAA coastal management fellowship

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Meghan Martinez

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Recent HRI graduate Meghan Martinez has been selected for the NOAA Office of Coastal Management’s prestigious Coastal Management and Digital Coast Fellowship Program. Martinez received her master’s in marine biology in December under the mentorship of HRI Coastal Restoration and Conservation Chair Dr. Jennifer Pollack and defended her master’s thesis, “Reef restoration provides resilient habitat for oysters and fauna,” at HRI in November 2019.

The two-year postgraduate program provides on-the-job education and training opportunities in coastal resource management, policy and coastal issues. Martinez has been paired with the California State Coastal Conservancy. She will be supporting a community-based wetland restoration program with the goal of increasing coastal wetland resilience.

“We are all so proud of Meghan for the honor of being selected as a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow,” said Pollack. “It will be exciting to watch Meghan apply her training from HRI and TAMUCC to restoration challenges at the California State Coastal Conservancy.”

Martinez was previously a scholar in the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME) programShe spent the summer of 2019 at NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, immersed in the agency’s Office of Habitat Conservation’s Restoration Center learning about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the environmental impacts and restoration projects that are still ongoing today.

She inventoried information related to oyster monitoring programs and mapping and assessed data gaps in the Gulf of Mexico under the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). As a final product, Martinez produced decision-making tools that would assist in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of oyster habitat restoration.

She also traveled to Maryland and Virginia to learn about local oyster restoration project mapping and oyster aquaculture.