NERTO Students

Andrea Fenner

Andrea Fenner
PhD, Ecology, Graduate

Internship Location: American Samoa

Internship Date: Summer 2018


Fenner received her undergraduate degree in Biology from California State University San Marcos. Her previous research experience includes biochemical analyses to determine the structure of thin aggregative fimbriae (Tafi) observed in Salmonella. Tafi is thought to play a role in the long-term survival of respective organisms. Following her doctoral studies, her career interests are to further investigate carbon flux in semi-arid shrublands as a research scientist and to become a college professor

NERTO Research Project Title:

Effects of human activity, land use, and land cover on water quality in American Samoa

NERTO Project Details :

NERTO Synopsis: National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) is composed of six protected areas covering 13,581 miles of nearshore coral reef and offshore ocean waters across the Samoan Archipelago. The sanctuary supports a variety of corals, invertebrates, fish, turtles, marine mammals, and marine plants, as well as hydrothermal vent and deep-water habitats. The Sanctuary Program provides protection of these natural resources through research and education, which foster public understanding and stewardship of this nationally significant marine area.

The objective of this internship is to engage graduate studies in coral reef ecology and ecosystem studies in support of NOAA and NMSAS missions. This project provides the student opportunities to develop field work skills; conduct data collection analyses; enrich themselves in a unique Pacific Island culture; correlate data with current and former studies conducted in American Samoa; and foster a connection with NOAA’s Marine Sanctuary System.

NERTO Outcomes:

The water quality samples collected during my NERTO have allowed us to gain a better understanding of the level of nutrients in particular watersheds on the island and how such nutrients may be affecting coastal coral reef communities.

Value of NERTO to the Line Office:

This NERTO contributed supplementary information and research that will support future presentations and program objectives. Additionally, these contributions will facilitate the research and scientific inquiries of other agencies within American Samoa. This collaborative effort enables all parties to elevate their understanding of the marine ecosystems on this small island

NERTO Skills:

Yes, I was able to learn how to properly collect water quality samples and further my knowledge in data analysis using R.