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Artificial Reef Research Assistantship Program (ARRAP)

Artificial Reef Research Assistantship Program (ARRAP)

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announces its support of a graduate assistantship opportunity called the Artificial Reef Research Assistantship Program (ARRAP). This program provides graduate assistant stipends for up to three years to Master of Science/Arts students enrolled full-time at Louisiana colleges/universities and involved in research relevant to the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program (see: LOUISIANA ARTIFICIAL REEF PROGRAM Strategic Plan 2018-19 through 2022-2023). The program will expose students to LDWF activities related to the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program (LARP) and provide a potential avenue for recruitment of new LDWF personnel. Students receiving assistantships will be required to intern with the Program at least 100 hours each year with a mentor assigned by the Program. ARRAP encourages inclusion of the mentor on the student’s graduate committee to the extent compatible with university policy. The mentor will be responsible for familiarizing the student with the Program’s mission and its place within the Department. Two progress reports for each year of the assistantship are required, as well as an annual report to Louisiana Sea Grant. Students also will be required to present their research to the Artificial Reef Council upon project completion.

Louisiana Sea Grant (LSG) will administer these assistantships with funding provided by LDWF through the Artificial Reef Trust Fund. The assistantships will be available to all faculty pursuing appropriate artificial reef-related research at Louisiana colleges/universities to fund Master of Science/Arts students. It is anticipated that one assistantship will be awarded for the fall 2022 semester, based on evaluations of applications submitted by faculty. The annual student stipend is $25,000 for up to three years, plus associated tuition. ARRAP funds may only be used to cover graduate assistantships and any associated tuition and fringe benefits in accordance with the applicant institution’s policies. Any tuition coverage needed in addition to the $25,000 award must be documented in the application and will be part of the criteria for selection. Preference may be given to applications not requiring additional funds to cover tuition.

This RFP solicits proposals on general topics that have a direct link to important research questions related to goals and research priorities identified in the LARP Strategic Plan. More specifically, ARRAP solicits proposals for research advancements that will assist LDWF in answering the following questions about artificial reefs:

  • What assemblages are utilizing artificial reefs?
    • How do they differ from mud bottom or natural reefs?
      • Can the benthic communities among these habitat types be found in the food webs of species utilizing those habitat types?
    • How do they differ among artificial reefs of different material?
  • What are angler attitudes towards artificial reefs?
  • What are the economic impacts of artificial reefs?

Applications will be reviewed and scored by LARP in the following five categories: Scientific Merit, Relevancy to LARP, Originality, Body of Knowledge and Credibility. Applicants will also be evaluated based on past performance on LARP funded projects, if applicable. Applicants should not list LARP personnel by name or contact them in advance of submitting a proposal. Applications from faculty must be submitted via LSG’s online eSeaGrant system by Feb. 1, 2022; a decision on award of the assistantships will be announced by late February 2022. Funding is anticipated to be available for a project start date as early as July 1, 2022.

The application consists of:

  • An agreement of LDWF terms and conditions
  • A narrative (two-page maximum) description of the research that would be conducted as part of the student’s master’s degree program
  • The anticipated curriculum for the student, including the classes the student might take
  • Indication of whether additional tuition funds will be needed and amount
  • A description of additional current or anticipated funding sources that will be applied to support the research activities proposed for the student (if applicable)
  • 2-page CV of faculty applicant

For information or questions specific to the eSeaGrant system, contact Katie Lea at [email protected].

For additional information on this opportunity, please contact either:

Mike McDonough
Artificial Reef Coordinator
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
[email protected]

Matthew Bethel
Associate Executive Director of Research
Louisiana Sea Grant College Program
[email protected]