Songlin Wang Awarded Pew Fellowship to Support the Conservation of China’s Largest Eelgrass Habitat

QMCS President and Ocean Outcomes Strategic Advisor selected as recipient of 2021 Pew fellowship

Songlin Wang, a core partner of Ocean Outcomes and founder and president of the Qingdao Marine Conservation Society, has been selected by The Pew Charitable Trusts as a recipient of the 2021 Pew fellowship in marine conservation. Ocean Outcomes will support Songlin in the fellowship as the grant host.

As one of nine international conservation researchers awarded the fellowship this year, Songlin will receive $150,000 over the next three years to support the effective conservation and management of the Bohai Bay Eelgrass Bed, China’s largest eelgrass habitat.

“Becoming a 2021 Pew Marine Fellow is a real honor and one of most significant milestones in my 15-year conservation career. I am thrilled by the opportunity to collaborate with the global community of Pew Fellows and colleagues,” said Songlin. “Working together, we are more likely to achieve our shared mission of improving the health and ecological integrity of our Blue Planet through science-based solutions.”

Eelgrass beds once flourished in the Yellow Sea Ecoregion, an area that includes the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea. Over the past 30 years, however, these habitats have declined largely due to impacts from humans. In 2015, China’s largest eelgrass bed, spanning nearly 20 square miles, was discovered in the country’s Bohai Sea. This habitat, known as the Bohai Bay Eelgrass Bed, currently has no legal protection or conservation plan and faces various threats.

“The Bohai Bay eelgrass bed is an essential habitat for hundreds of species and provides important coastal protection. We are pleased to award this fellowship to Wang Songlin, and we look forward to his collaborative research, which will help inform restoration efforts for this key marine habitat,” said Polita Glynn, project director of the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation.

Songlin and his team will study the ecological and socioeconomic benefits provided by the Bohai Bay Eelgrass Bed, as well as its vulnerability to local stressors, to provide a foundation for effective management of this ecologically-rich marine habitat. In collaboration with local academic specialists, he will collect and analyze data to assess the biodiversity and productivity of the BBEB and its value as a natural carbon sink—or an ecosystem that sequesters atmospheric carbon.

They will also work with local fishers, who rely on the Bohai Bay Eelgrass Bed for subsistence, to jointly develop fishing practices that are less harmful to eelgrass. He will also convene multi-stakeholder workshops, develop and disseminate educational materials, and publish a set of effective practices for eelgrass bed management, protection, and restoration.

“O2 is extremely pleased to support Songlin’s Pew Marine Fellowship aimed at understanding and protecting this unique, diverse eelgrass ecosystem,” said Rich Lincoln, President and CEO. “The endeavor reflects Songling’s outstanding civil society leadership in China’s science based marine conservation space.”

Songlin joins Pew’s global community of 189 marine fellows from 40 countries all working to expand knowledge of the ocean and advance the sustainable use of marine resources. For 25 years, the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation has supported mid-career scientists and other experts seeking solutions to challenges affecting the world’s oceans. Fellows are selected by an international committee of marine science experts following a rigorous nomination and review process.

Songin established Qingdao Marine Conservation Society, a nonprofit advocating for conservation and sustainable fishing practices, in 2017 while he was the China Program Director at Ocean Outcomes. He earned a master’s degree in environmental management from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in marine ecology from the Ocean University of China.