Student Spotlight: Jenny Bueno

Jenny Bueno – a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography – was awarded a Margaret A. Davidson fellowship from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) for her accomplishments in marine research. 

The Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship is a two-year program that allows graduate students to conduct research with one of the 30 NOAA coastal reserves. The fellowship is named for Margaret A. Davidson, an innovator in coastal management. 

Bueno began her FSU career by entering the Master’s in Geography program. While in the graduate program, she had the opportunity to study intertidal oyster reefs in Apalachicola Bay, Florida. This project sparked an interest in research, and in 2022 she applied for the Davidson Fellowship and entered the Geography Ph.D. program at FSU. 

“Being honored with the Davidson fellowship marked another significant turning point in my academic journey, reinforcing my decision to transition to a Ph.D. program,” Bueno said. “I believe I’ve made the right decision and I’m eager to demonstrate my commitment to the field of marine and coastal science.” 

The project Bueno is leading is titled “Using high-resolution aerial imagery to assess mangrove encroachment into estuarine habitats in Apalachicola Bay.” She is working under the guidance of NOAA’s Apalachicola Reserve and Sarah Lester, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Science. 

Winter temperatures are increasing due to climate change, allowing mangrove populations to expand into higher latitudes such as Apalachicola Bay. Bueno is using aerial imagery to examine mangrove encroachment in the region and studying the differences between the two mangrove species in the area. This information can reveal the effects of mangrove expansion and inform conservation efforts. 

In addition to conducting her own research, Bueno mentors an undergraduate researcher through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). 

“My most impactful experience at FSU has been participating in UROP,” Bueno said. “Through this program, I have had the opportunity to closely mentor Sophia Maslyn, a sophomore, who has shown remarkable growth and dedication.” 

After earning her Ph.D., Bueno plans to work as a specialist in the application of remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to address pressing ecological questions within coastal ecosystems. 

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