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DMR Hires Two New Research Scientists

The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) hired two new scientists in March. Jesica Waller of Newcastle will be responsible for conducting biological studies on lobster that will benefit the Department’s understanding of the resource and contribute to future stock assessments. She will also support a new collaborative lobster research initiative DMR initiated to respond to the changing Gulf of Maine ecosystem. Waller received a B.S. degree from the University of New Hampshire in 2013 and an M.S. degree in marine biology from the University of Maine in 2016. Working under UMaine professor Rick Wahle, Waller investigated the effect that warmer water in the Gulf of Maine and increased carbon dioxide in that water would have on lobster larvae. While pursuing her graduate degree, Waller also worked as an intern at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, as a fellow at the University’s Canadian-American Center and as a teaching assistant at the Darling Center. After completing her degree, Waller returned to Bigelow Laboratory as a research technician, where she designed and performed laboratory and field experiments and contributed to peer-reviewed publications and grant proposals. “This is a vital new position that will enhance existing monitoring work and allow the Department to focus on emerging research priorities,” said DMR Science Bureau director Carl Wilson. “Jesica brings the academic and professional background necessary for the growth of our lobster research program.” Rebecca Peters, from Silver Spring, Maryland, will coordinate the Maine/New Hampshire inshore trawl survey, filling a vacancy left by last summer’s retirement of longtime project coordinator Sally Sherman. The inshore trawl survey, conducted since 2000 in spring and fall, evaluates marine resources inside the coastal waters of Maine and New Hampshire, giving researchers a record of the status of groundfish, lobsters, recreational finfish species, and non-commercial marine species. Peters received a B.S. degree in biology from Old Dominion University in 2012 and an M.S. degree in marine estuarine and environmental science from the University of Maryland in 2016. Upon receiving her degree, Peters was awarded the Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in 2017, which allowed her to work in the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology. “Rebecca brings relevant, valuable experience to the inshore trawl survey,” said Wilson. “The trawl survey provides critically important data for issues such as fish stock recovery, fisheries management, essential fish habitat designations, and adaptation to the changing ecosystem.”

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