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Davidson Graduate Fellowship at the Hudson River Reserve

The application process is now open for one two-year graduate fellowship. Applications are due December 20, 2019. Applicants will be notified in May 2020 and will start August 1 to September 1, 2020.

Through a research project, the fellow will address a key coastal management question designed to help scientists and communities understand coastal challenges and impacts that may influence future policy and management strategies. The research topics which address Hudson River Research Reserve management needs are listed below, with full descriptions at the bottom of the page. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Hudson River Research Reserve before applying to discuss their project ideas and determine if it is appropriate for addressing Reserve needs.

  • Eel population dynamics and distribution using eDNA
  • Transplantation of submerged aquatic vegetation
  • Historic formation of tidal wetlands
  • Societal value of ecosystem services

Based on congressional appropriation, NOAA anticipates providing an annual stipend for one student at our Reserve of $41,000 for research and travel, and an additional equipment and supply budget of approximately $7,000. Research being conducted at the Reserve is intended to be a substantial part of the fellow’s degree research.  At least 6 weeks must be spent at the Reserve each year. 

Detailed information from NOAA,  including FAQs and the application, can be found here:

Be one of the next generation of coastal leaders!


The Davidson Fellowship honors the legacy of NOAA’s Margaret A. Davidson. Margaret was a true visionary in the coastal management world, someone who saw the future with clarity and knew how to push for innovation and, frankly—shake things up. She defined excellence in many categories, always raising the bar with the goal of helping coastal communities thrive. This approach is what NOAA and the research reserves are striving to achieve with this fellowship program.


Research Topics for the Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship at the Hudson River Reserve

Full description of research topics are listed below. For more information, points of contact for each topic are listed in the descriptions.


Submerged Aquatic Vegetation

There was a 90% loss of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the Hudson during an extreme storm event in 2012, and we know from GIS data that while Vallisneria americana is recovering, it does not include all pre-2012 areas and seems to be a genetic monoculture. But we do not know if transplanting native Hudson River SAV is a viable restoration option, therefore to prepare for large-scale restoration, we want to know if transplantation of native Hudson River SAV is feasible and if so, what conditions maximize restoration success.

Reserve point of contact for additional information: Dan Miller, Habitat Restoration Coordinator,, (845) 889-4745 x110.


Tidal Wetlands

The Hudson River estuary is sediment rich, and we know that tidal wetlands seem to be accreting sediment to keep pace with sea level rise, but we do not know if accretion rates differ with different formations of tidal wetlands that have been GIS mapped throughout the estuary and span a salinity gradient, have different sediment supplies, and can be protected behind structures or exposed. Therefore, we want to know what we can learn from the historic formation of tidal wetlands to better manage their resilience in the future.

Reserve point of contact for additional information: Sarah Fernald, Research Coordinator,, (845) 889-4745 x111.



The American eel is an important species in the Hudson, and we know that barriers to their upstream migration are one contributing factor to population declines, but we do not know how far they are moving up different tributaries. Therefore, we want to know if monitoring techniques such as eDNA can help us to better understand eel population dynamics and distribution.

Reserve point of contact for additional information: Sarah Mount, Educator,, (845) 889-4745 x106.


Ecosystem Services

Decisions often do not consider nature’s services because of the challenge to attribute a dollar amounts to them, and we need to understand the range of ecosystem services which are important to society and to improve the general state of knowledge around how to assess, value, and possibly monetize ecosystem services. Therefore, we would like to conduct a pilot study in either Tivoli Bays or Stockport Flats watershed that will help us understand and communicate the societal value of each ecosystem service.

Reserve point of contact for additional information: Emilie Hauser, Estuary Training Coordinator,, (845) 889-4745 x112



Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System

Tivoli Bays Launch Closure – 2020

The canoe and kayak launch on the Kidd Lane access road at Tivoli Bays WMA is closed for renovations until further notice. At this time, DEC does not have an estimated completion date for the project. Please contact Nathan Ermer at 845-256-3047 for more information about this project. Thank you for your patience and understanding.