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Staff Updates

Marte Thabes Kitson

Marte Kitson

Marte Thabes Kitson, joined the Minnesota Sea Grant staff in 2010 thanks to a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant creating a liaison position in collaboration with the National Park Service in Grand Portage. With a background in biology (B.S. and M.S., University of Minnesota Duluth) and in psychology and sociology (B.S., Gustavus Adolphus), Kitson is already making her mark as Sea Grant's Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist and National Park Service Liaison.

Kitson conducts invasive species outreach and education between Duluth and Grand Portage. In addition to teaching audiences to identify invasive species to prevent the spread of harmful species. She's been involved in the product development of a traveling kiosk, new signage, and other items that extend the National Park Service's efforts to prevent the spread of invasive species like spiny waterfleas and earthworms.

Larissa Herrera

Larissa Herrera

Sea Grant Grad Student Wins Fellowship
"I'm really a city girl," said Sea Grant scholar Larissa Herrera. "It's sort of funny that I spent the summer splashing around in streams measuring rocks and will be spending the winter holed up in a laboratory identifying possibly 13,000 aquatic insects."

Herrera is pursuing a master's degree in Water Resources Science at the University of Minnesota with direction from Valerie Brady, research coordinator with Minnesota Sea Grant and research associate with the University's Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth. Thanks to a fellowship awarded in August, Herrera is also getting guidance from noted aquatic biologist Tom Nalepa of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environ-mental Research Lab (GLERL) in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Herrera won one of two fellowships given to emerging aquatic scientists in the Great Lakes region. The fellowships became available through a partnership involving the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER), GLERL, and Sea Grant. The award includes a $23,000 graduate stipend.

The yearlong fellowship is allowing Herrera to develop a diagnostic tool using characteristics of stream insects to assess harm to stream communities from sedimentation.

In addition to Sea Grant and CILER/GLERL/Sea Grant fellowship support, Herrara's work is supported by a grant from the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program.

By Sea Grant Staff
December 2010

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