Hillary is a Ph.D. student in the University of Maryland’s Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences Program based in Dr. Tom Miller’s lab at the Chesapeake Biological Lab. Her research focuses on the impact of climate change on young blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay. Hillary is examining how increases in water temperature and acidity may affect crab growth, feeding, shell composition, and metabolism. She will use these data to predict the population-level impacts of climate change on blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay. Before starting her Ph.D., Hillary worked on monitoring the health and growth of restored oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay with Dr. Ken Paynter. While the oyster monitoring was interesting, Hillary is excited to now be working with a more active species! Hillary has a master’s degree in marine science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Emory University. When she’s not getting crabby in the lab, Hillary can be found canoeing in southern Maryland and generally enjoying the outdoors with her husband and their dog, Spaghetti.
Fellowship Experiences Blog Posts
See Hillary's post to Fellowship Experiences, Maryland Sea Grant's blog written by and about graduate fellows and their research:
Smithville is a community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, on the edge of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. A century ago, Smithville had more than 100 residents. Today, it has four, in two homes: an elderly couple, and one elderly woman and her son, who cares for her.
Though fish populations typical experience spatially varying mortality, abundance, and fishing pressure, stock assessments commonly model a population that is assumed to be well-mixed. When assumptions about population mixing are not met, these models can result in biased estimates. Spatial population estimates are particularly beneficial to the Chesapeake Bay as this region faces unique challenges as a result of climate change, fishing pressure, and land use within the watershed.