CSULB’s Ryan Freedman Named 2014 California Sea Grant State Fellow

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Ryan Freedman

Ryan Freedman

Ocean tidal flow has improved at Huntington Beach seashore wetlands thanks to several restoration projects in recent years, but just how much those efforts are benefiting sea life is one focus of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) marine biologists.

Ryan Freedman of Long Beach, a master’s student in the lab of CSULB Marine Biology Professor Christopher Lowe, has been studying movements of juvenile sharks and sport fish who use the wetlands when young. Freedman graduates this spring and now has a new opportunity to advance his training by being selected as one of 16 California Sea Grant State Fellows for 2014.

Originally from the Edgebrook area of Chicago, Freedman earned his bachelor’s degree in 2011 at the University of Miami with a double major in marine science and biology and double minor in chemistry and geography. He then chose Lowe’s internationally recognized Shark Lab at CSULB for his master’s.

At Cal State Long Beach, “Because movement patterns show us how fish use estuaries, these data can easily identify preferable fish habitats. My project used fish movements to identify what estuarine habitats best support fish communities in restored estuaries,” he said.

“Ryan really brought a nice suite of skills to the lab with his solid field biology background and his GIS spatial analysis training,” Lowe said. “His research project was multifaceted and unique, providing a powerful set of tools that can be used to evaluate how fishes use restored habitats. I wasn’t surprised that so many agencies in the Sea Grant fellowship program were so eager to lure him to their programs.”

Starting this fall, Freedman will spend a year working in Santa Barbara. “In my fellowship, I will be looking to work with a number of scientists to encourage and facilitate research within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary,” which includes about 1,470 square miles of water surrounding Santa Barbara, Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands. “I will also be working with researchers and attempting solve some of the scientific issues relevant to sanctuary needs especially the issue of shipping lane traffic and its potential to impact whales.”

California Sea Grant is one of 33 national programs funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to support marine research, education and outreach. This year represents the largest cohort of California Sea Grant Fellows, who receive a $3,450 monthly stipend to support their professional development assignment.

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