California Sea Grant celebrates two national fisheries fellowship winners

Caitlin Scully

California PhD students Nima Farchadi and Thomas Anderson have each been awarded a 2021 NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)-Sea Grant Fellowship.

Farchadi and Anderson are among the seven graduate students nationwide who were selected for the competitive research fellowship, which supports students pursuing doctoral degrees in population and ecosystem dynamics as well as marine resources economics. 

The fellowships offered within this program are aimed at training the next generation of specialized experts in fisheries management. The program addresses the critical need for future fisheries scientists with expertise in stock assessment and related fields. 

“This partnership effort between Sea Grant and the National Marine Fisheries Service represents NOAA’s sustained dedication to developing the next generation of fisheries scientists,” says Nikola Garber, Ph.D., Sea Grant’s deputy director and partnerships lead. “We are excited to welcome the incoming class of NMFS-Sea Grant fellows.”

Since 1999, the NMFS-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship program has supported students pursuing doctoral degrees in population and ecosystem dynamics as well as marine resource economics. 

The field of population and ecosystem dynamics is critical to making high quality fishery stock assessments in order to properly manage U.S. fisheries. Fellows’ research focuses on modeling and managing systems of living marine resources, which includes assessing the status of fish, invertebrate, marine mammal, seabird and other protected species stocks. Many of the research projects for this year’s fellows are examining how such populations will be affected by climate-driven changes. 

Farchadi is awarded the Population and Ecosystem Dynamics Fellowship and his project is titled Improving Predictions of Distribution Change Under Anomalous Conditions Using a Joint Fishery-Species Distribution Model.

The marine resource economics fellowship concentrates on economics related to the conservation and management of living marine resources. This year’s research projects focus on strategies for reducing antibiotic use in aquaculture and factors influencing participation and diversification in small-scale commercial fisheries.

The Marine Resource Economics Fellowship is awarded to Anderson, and his project is titled Cost-Effective Strategies for Reducing Antibiotic Use in Aquaculture. 

Fellows are chosen through a competitive process that involves national review by an expert panel. During their fellowship, fellows are guided by at least two mentors, one from the fellow’s university and one from NOAA Fisheries, and they are required to participate in a yearly research symposium.

Since the fellowship began, it has supported over 100 population and ecosystem dynamics and 36 marine resource economics doctoral fellows. A 2018 review of the program found that 92% of fellows remain in their field and about 30% work for NOAA as fisheries scientists. Alumni of this fellowship typically hold future positions in NOAA Fisheries, other agencies, academics and fishery management councils.

Meet the California Sea Grant 2021 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellows 

Population and Ecosystem Dynamics Fellow

Nima Farchadi is a PhD student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Ecology at San Diego State University and University of California, Davis. His interests are in studying the impact of anomalous conditions, such as marine heatwaves, on the spatiotemporal dynamics of pelagic predators and fisheries. Nima earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Maryland in 2014 and a Master’s degree in Marine Science from University of San Diego in 2018.


Marine Resource Economics Fellow

Thomas Anderson is a PhD student in the Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics Department at the University of California, Davis. He has a longstanding interest in marine resource management and recently completed the "Sustainable Oceans: From Policy to Science to Decisions" NSF Research Traineeship. He received an Undergraduate Degree from the University of Florida and a Master's Degree in Applied Economics from Cornell University.



To learn more about the field of fisheries management and how experiences like the NMFS-Sea Grant fellowships address the need for career development opportunities in this specialized field, see this report to Congress and this academic paper.

More information

NOAA/Sea Grant announcement
NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship details