July 29, 2019
The Mid-Shore Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) awarded six scholarships at its June 27 dinner meeting at Bolingbroke Park. The scholarships went to two graduate students studying at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Horn Point Laboratory and four undergraduate students attending various universities.
Funding for the six scholarships, totaling $10,000, came from the estate of Florence Harper in memory of Antonio Johnson, whom she mentored to get an education.
Catherine Fitzgerald and Lexy McCarty were selected from a strong pool of applicants at the Horn Point Laboratory. Lexy McCarty is a graduate research assistant working on a master’s degree with a focus on oyster genetics and aquaculture. Her objective is the development of an oyster line that is bred specifically for Maryland’s low salinity waters. Funds received from the Mid-Shore Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America allowed Lexy to travel to Seattle to attend a week at the Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics (SISG) summer modules at the University of Washington. What she learned will have direct impact on her thesis work in oyster genetics and their adapting to lower salinity.
Catherine Fitzgerald is also a graduate research assistant working on a master’s degree, focusing on zooplankton nutrition to determine the best conditions for growth as food for higher level species. She is fascinated by the complexity of the Chesapeake Bay as a living estuary and is studying ecological systems, specifically the interactions among Choptank larval fish, their zooplankton prey and their collective environment.
Catherine will use funds received from the MidShore Chapter of IWLA to travel to the University of North Carolina Wilmington to receive training in methods of determining energetic and lipid (fat) composition of zooplankton. Later, in Catherine's research, once it is understood what prey the larval fish are choosing and which they aren't, she will be able to use these methods to determine if they are selecting their prey for energetic gain or to gain a compound the fish can't make themselves.