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George Mason University environmental scientist selected for Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program

Amy Fowler, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science and Policy
Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

Amy Fowler, an associate professor in George Mason University’s College of Science, received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to conduct research in Finland between July 2024 and January 2025 from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Fowler will travel to Turku, Finland to research an invasive crab species within the Archipelago Sea, located in the Baltic Sea. She will collaborate with renowned seaweed expert, Dr. Veijo Jormalainen, to complete field and laboratory experiments at the University of Turku’s Archipelago Research Institute. According to Fowler, the invasive crab preys upon native organisms of the Archipelago Sea and has the potential to positively affect seaweed biomass. By consuming native herbivores and keeping their abundances low, seaweeds may thrive under reduced feeding pressure. Comparing to data collected in the 1990s, Fowler will measure the abundance and diversity of native herbivores in response to the crab invasion and observe if there are changes in the rates at which the seaweeds grow and spread. 

The data collected from her study will inform international efforts toward understanding and forecasting invasions while also establishing management and prevention strategies. As part of the fellowship, Fowler will also teach a graduate-level course on invasive species in Scandinavia, focusing on ecology and management.

“Invasions are a global problem, and through this fellowship, I seek to broaden the scope and reach of my research to the Archipelago Sea and help increase understanding of and attention to biological invasions,” said Fowler who has conducted extensive research on invasive species, including parasites affecting crabs residing in the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. 

Fowler is also grateful that George Mason University is supportive of her family joining her in Finland for the entirety of the award. Her partner, Dee Arrington, also works for George Mason University as the Site Coordinator for the Potomac Science Center. They will be accompanied by their four-year-old daughter Charlotte.

Fulbright U.S. Scholars are faculty, researchers, administrators, and established professionals teaching or conducting research in affiliation with institutes abroad. Fulbright Scholars engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions.