PAOC members and MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography graduate students Tyler Rohr and Gualtiero Spiro were choosen as finalists for the prestigious John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program, class of 2019. Today, NOAA and the National Sea Grant College Program announced that approximately seventy individuals were chosen nationally for the fellowship, working in Congress or the Executive Branch for a year on critical marine science, policy and resource management issues.
Rohr was one of three sponsored by the Woods Hole Sea Grant program -- which also included another MIT-WHOI Joint Program member Megan May -- and Spiro was the lone selection for the MIT Sea Grant program.
Rohr works in WHOI’s Computational Biogeochemistry Lab Group, using modeling and quantitative analytics to understand biogeochemical controls on ecosystems with an emphasis on the carbon cycle. In the field, he’s examined terrestrial seasonally dry terrestrial ecosystems in Brazil as well as spring phytoplankton blooms in the Southern Ocean. Rohr’s research has strong implications for climate change and developing research-based policies.
Spiro’s research also takes him to fascinating places, particularly from the point of view of an oceanographer and climate scientist like Spiro. Recently, he’s traveled to the Indian Ocean to investigate the ocean’s influence on the rainfall brought about by the Indian monsoon. This phenomenon and the air-sea interactions greatly impact the economic and societal livelihood of human populations in the region. His work in the Bay of Bengal is part of an international project to better understand how the ocean affects the seasonal Monsoon rains over land, and ultimately improve weather forecasts and climate projections for the region.
In the fall, the finalists will travel to Washington, D.C., to interview with several executive or legislative offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowship in February 2019.
“The Knauss fellowship is one of Sea Grant’s flagship programs. Every class of Knauss fellows continues to raise the bar, and the 2019 finalists are no exception,” said Jonathan Pennock, Director of the National Sea Grant College Program. “I’m also happy to share that in response to growing demand for Sea Grant Knauss fellows in federal government offices, we are pleased to include two additional legislative fellowships for the 40th anniversary class.”
This year’s finalists join a group of over 1,200 professionals who have received hands-on experience transferring science to policy and management.