2017 Fellow Meaghan Faletti

Meaghan Faletti maintains the position of the research vessel Fish Haven in 2014 as she prepares to survey artificial reefs as part of an effort to enhance fish habitat in the Gulf of Mexico. The boat was operated by the Artificial Reef Program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Meaghan was one of the first recipients awarded the Forage Fish Research Program (FFRP) fellowships in 2017 while completing her MS in marine science at University of South Florida. Her graduate research shed new light on the population dynamics of pinfish in the Gulf of Mexico by examining traces of carbon and nitrogen isotopes within their eyeballs. Pinfish are the most abundant forage fish species in the Gulf’s seagrass beds where they represent a primary prey item for game fish such as tarpon, snook, snappers, and several grouper species. Pinfish are also a key contributor to healthy seagrass ecosystems through grazing and enrichment. 

Meaghan’s fellowship research focused on four Gulf estuaries: Charlotte Harbor, Big Bend, Tampa Bay, and Apalachicola Bay and she was able to document where pinfish spawn, their movements in and out of the estuary environments, and whether similarities between pinfish behavior in differing estuaries existed. 

A publication of Meaghan’s work can be found here Population dynamics of Pinfish in the eastern Gulf of Mexico (1998-2016)

Following her graduate studies, Meaghan transitioned here work into a career with the United States Geological Survey where she is an information specialist at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center. She now facilitates communication among partner organizations, stakeholders, and resource managers to encourage collaborative research and problem-solving.