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NC Sea Grant/APNEP 2016 Fellow to Study Seagrass Restoration


John Fear, 919-515-9104,

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

Stacy Zhang is the recipient of the 2016 Graduate Fellowship in Estuarine Research, awarded by North Carolina Sea Grant and the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, or APNEP.

Stacy Zhang
Stacy Zhang

The one-year fellowship provides graduate students based in North Carolina or Virginia funding to conduct applied research within the North Carolina portion of the APNEP management boundary.

“Stacy’s work will examine novel restoration strategies for seagrass beds,” notes John Fear, Sea Grant deputy director. “This research will have broad applicability given the importance of this critical habitat type.”

She is a doctoral student in marine science and conservation at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Her advisor is Brian Silliman, a marine ecologist at Duke.

Zhang will study seagrass restoration methods in Back Sound, near Harkers Island in Carteret County. The project will be conducted in concert with oyster-reef restoration efforts led by Joel Fodrie of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences.

By exploring new methods of seagrass restoration that harness positive interactions, Zhang aims to increase restoration effectiveness. “In particular, I will be investigating how planting arrangement and proximity to oyster reefs may influence restoration success,” she says.

“Studies that evaluate various aspects of restoration, including those deemed novel, are needed to guide managers in developing the most effective regional strategies for seagrass restoration,” adds Dean Carpenter, APNEP program scientist.

Originally from Sanford, Zhang received her bachelor’s degree in biology from UNC-Chapel Hill. At Duke, her graduate research examines the role of species interactions in seagrass restoration, growth and recovery.


North Carolina Sea Grant: Your link to research and resources for a healthier coast