Introducing the 2018 David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellows



2018 Smith Fellows from Left to Right: Stephanie Borrelle, Kurt Ingeman, Jonathan Koch-Uhuad, Bonnie McGill, and Grace Wu.

The Society for Conservation Biology and the Cedar Tree Foundation announce the recipients of the 2018 David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship

The Smith Fellowship, the nation's premier postdoctoral program in conservation science, seeks to find solutions to the most pressing conservation challenges. Each Fellow’s research is conducted in partnership with a major academic institution and an “on the ground” conservation organization to help bridge the gap between theory and application.

Emerging from an impressive pool of Ph.D. applicants from around the world who competed for the Fellowship are five outstanding scientists who will comprise the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship class of 2018:

  • Stephanie Borrelle will complete a project titled, Mitigating oceanic plastic pollution: modeling inputs and interventions to identify effective reduction strategies” under the mentorship of Dr. Jenna Jambeck at the University of Georgia, Dr. Chelsea Rochman at the University of Toronto and in partnership with Ocean Conservancy.
  • Kurt Ingeman will complete a project titled, Ecosystem-based recovery: Coordinating predator-prey management to optimize conservation outcomes and accelerate restoration of marine food webs under the mentorship of Dr. Adrian Stier at the University of California, Santa Barbara and in partnership with Jameal Samhouri of NOAA and Jodie Toft of The Nature Conservancy.
  • Jonathan Koch-Uhuad will complete a project titled, “The nalo meli 'āpa‘akuma project: Characterizing population genomic diversity of imperiled Hawaiian Hylaeus bees to inform stakeholders on in situ breeding and habitat management strategies under the mentorship of Dr. Jolene Sutton at the University of Hawaii, Hilo and in partnership with Cynthia King of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.
  • Bonnie McGill will complete a project titled, Farming for a smaller Dead Zone: How agricultural conservation practices, artificial drainage, and climate change affect water quality in Iowa under the mentorship of Drs. Amy Burgin and Terry Loecke at the University of Kansas and in partnership with W. Dean Hively of the USGS Eastern Geographic Science Center.
  • Grace Wu will complete a project titled, “Mapping sustainable land use pathways for biodiversity, food, and climate change mitigation” under the mentorship of Dr. Andrew Jones at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and in partnership with Dr. Joseph Fargione at The Nature Conservancy.

While the Fellows' research projects focus on urgent conservation issues, they also learn firsthand the challenges and rewards of conservation applications. The program's focus is to enlarge their professional opportunities and ensure future success by helping them build relationships in the conservation and research communities and by providing opportunities for professional development through targeted workshops and training events.

The fellowship is named after the late Dr. David H. Smith, founder of the Cedar Tree Foundation, and pediatrician, inventor and conservationist. 

The Smith Fellowship seeks to identify and support early-career scientists who will shape the growth of applied conservation biology. It’s also an opportunity for scientists to develop solutions to critical environmental challenges, said Dr. Michael P. Dombeck, executive director of the Smith Fellows program and former chief of the United States Forest Service.

“The Smith Fellowship enables young scientists to improve and expand their research skills and direct their research efforts toward problems of pressing conservation concern, to bridge the gap between research and application,” Dombeck said.

Request for proposals for the 2019 Class of Smith Fellows will be announced in June 2018.  For more information see the Smith Fellows website at