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earth, environmental, & ocean sciences

The Effects of Fishing Down the Food Chain on Shark Species in Chincoteague, Virginia

Emily S. Stauder, Somer E. Barret, Zachary A. Hersh, Kandice M. Liebl, Kayla R. Farkas, and Dr. Ajoy Kumar

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Emily Stauder is currently a junior at Millersville University with a major in Ocean Science and Coastal Studies, and a minor in government and political affairs. Emily is a dedicated member of the Ocean Science Club and has received the Student Grants for Research and Creativity Activity, Noonan Endowment Fund, and the Biology Student Investigator Grant, all of which have allowed her to conduct and lead the shark research and has given her the opportunity to work at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station in the summer of 2023. Emily intends to pursue a career in shark conservation after attending graduate school.

Somer Barrett is a Junior here at Millersville University. Her major is Environmental Earth and Ocean Sciences, and she is very passionate about preservation and restoration. Her love for the environment started at a young age and it has encouraged her to get her advanced rescue diver scuba certification, along with her lifeguard cert, first aid AED an CPR. She wants to make a change in the world someday for something greater than herself. This year she is a part of an independent shark research study that her lovely leader Emily Stauder is conducting. She met Emily through her major and mutual classes and Emily asked her to be a part of her team. In this study they are focusing on shark populations and how they have changed over time. She is very excited to be on a team of amazing, motivated, and caring people that believe in activism for the environment. Emily believed in her and saw what she could bring to the table to make her project even more astonishing. She will be interning down at the Chincoteague Bay filed station this year with her leader Emily Stauder. Together they will continue their research on this project and future projects ahead. She is so grateful for this opportunity to partake in such important research, and she cannot wait to continue the journey.

Zachary Hersh is an Environmental Science major with a focus on Ocean Science. He is a junior here at Millersville University and he is co-leading another research project with Somer Barrett and advisor Dr. Kumar. During his sophomore year he received the Carson and Lidl scholarship for biology which allowed him to expand his knowledge of coastal environments along the coastline of Virginia. He is an avid climate change believer who is pursuing studying the marine environment with the research project on migratory marine species. Zachary is from a small boating town called Goldsboro, Pennsylvania where his passion for marine species began.

Kandice Liebl is a senior majoring in both Environmental Earth & Ocean Science and Business Administrative concentration in International Business. Previous to the research project, she came from mostly a background in business. A course in Marine Policy opened the gates to see how I could combine my knowledge of business with the world of science. I was excited to grow my knowledge, so I got scuba certified, studied at Chincoteague Bay Field Station, and surrounded myself with peers just as eager to grow. Emily, our team leader, saw value in what I could provide to the team, and I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in such important research.

Kayla Farkas is a sophomore at Millersville University. She is a Marine Biology major and her part in this project is shark identification. 

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