Loren McClenachan, assistant professor of environmental studies, is one of 126 scientists to receive a 2013 Sloan Research Fellowship, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced Feb. 14.
The fellowship program seeks to “stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise,” according to the foundation’s website. The prestigious two-year fellowships, which include $50,000 in research funding to be applied at the discretion of the recipient, have been awarded annually since1955 “in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field.”
McClenachan earned her Ph.D. at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2009 and joined Colby’s faculty in February 2012. She won one of the eight Sloan Fellowships dedicated to marine science.
Her research in marine resources management and conservation uses historical documents, including photos and early fisheries data, to establish baselines for marine animal populations on which recovery targets can be set. She has worked in tropical marine environments in the Caribbean, Florida Keys, and the Hawaiian Islands.
Her research has been covered in mainstream publications including Scientific American, the New York Times Green Blog, the Washington Post, and the New Scientist. Those articles described one of her research projects that showed ancient Hawaiians caught more fish by fishing less and another suggesting that one in every six families of marine animals corresponding to characters in the Pixar movie Finding Nemo is threatened with extinction.
In the list of 126 Sloan Research Fellows named this year, McClenachan is the only one on the faculty at a liberal arts college.
"The Sloan Foundation fellowship is an extraordinary recognition for a young scholar," said Colby Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Lori Kletzer. "Professor McClenachan's outstanding promise, reflected by this award, is magnified by her deep commitment to undergraduate liberal arts training."