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NC Sea Grant and APNEP Name 2021 Fellow

Stacy Trackenberg
Stacy Trackenberg


Katie Mosher,

Stacy Trackenberg, a doctoral student at East Carolina University, is the recipient of the 2021 joint fellowship from North Carolina Sea Grant and the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, known as APNEP.

“Stacy’s fellowship project will tie together existing resources with new approaches to best support seagrass community restoration efforts,” says John Fear, deputy director of North Carolina Sea Grant and the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute. “Seagrass is one of the most productive habitats in our coastal ecosystems.”

The competitive fellowship, now in its fifth year, supports graduate students from institutions based in North Carolina who conduct applied research within the North Carolina portion of the APNEP region. That region covers most of the Albemarle-Pamlico watershed, including the Neuse, Tar-Pamlico, Pasquotank, Chowan, lower Roanoke, and parts of the White Oak River basins.

“The resulting insights from this research will help guide future coastal habitat restoration strategies in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system, which is home to one of the most productive and biodiverse seagrass resources on the Atlantic seaboard,” says Tim Ellis, APNEP’s quantitative ecologist.

Trackenberg works with Rachel Gittman, an assistant professor and biologist based at the ECU Coastal Studies Institute based at ECU in Greenville, NC.

Gittman says Trackenberg’s research has the potential to further understanding of seagrass restoration and “helps moves the needle” on restoration efforts for submerged aquatic vegetation in North Carolina. “Stacy has the research experience and determination needed to lead this project and serve as the 2021 Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership and North Carolina Sea Grant joint fellow,” Gittman says.

Trackenberg will study seagrass restoration in Back Sound in Carteret County, North Carolina, by transplanting healthy, native seagrass from a donor bed. She says her research will reveal which fish utilize newly restored seagrass beds.

“I can also compare my previous observations of communities in natural beds with the communities found in these restored beds to see if they support similar communities,” she adds.

Trackenberg is originally from Morristown, New Jersey. She earned a bachelor’s in biology with a minor in marine science from the College of William and Mary in 2016.

Read more about this and other Sea Grant fellowships and funding opportunities at  

Learn more about the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership at