SECOORA is proud to announce that the winner of the 2020 Vembu Subramanian Ocean Scholar Award is Julie Vecchio, PhD, University of South Florida College of Marine Science.
“Winning the Vembu Subramanian Ocean Scholars Award is a fantastic honor. I had the pleasure of knowing Vembu and look forward to continuing my work in his spirit of kindness, generosity, and community!” – Dr. Julie Vecchio (pictured right)
The scholarship will support Dr. Vecchio’s attendance and participation at the 12th International Conference on the Applications of Stable Isotope Techniques to Ecological Studies. The June 2021 event will be held Gaming, Austria.
Dr. Vecchio will present her PhD dissertation on the use of stable isotopes in fish eye lenses combined with traditional fisheries datasets – including stomach-content analysis and fishery-independent survey data – to understand the movements and diets of Red Grouper, Epinephelus morio, an important fisheries species in the SECOORA region. It appears likely that the shape of the isotopic signature (δ13C) profile in Red Grouper reflects a diet shift from small shrimp and crabs to squid and fish accompanied by cross-shelf movement over the first one to two years of life.
Dr. Vecchio’s research suggests that eye-lens stable isotope analyses can become incorporated into fisheries stock assessments. This has the potential to increase assessment efficiency and decrease the cost of monitoring and maintaining healthy fish populations into the future.
The International Conference on the Applications of Stable Isotope Techniques to Ecological Studies allows Dr. Vecchio, an early career scientist that graduated in May 2020, to network with a diverse array of scientist conducting cutting-edge research. With fewer than ten labs using stable isotopes analyses in fish eye lenses throughout the world, Dr. Vecchio will be bringing awareness of this new technique to a broader audience.