Grad Cap Scholars

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In 2018, three Rutgers graduate students were selected as GradCAP Scholars. The Graduate Student Climate Adaptation Partners Scholars Program (GradCAP) was sponsored by the USDA Northeast Climate Hub and developed to enhance the engagement of graduate students conducting natural/social science research addressing aspects of climate adaptation in the context of agronomic, horticultural, aquacultural, or forest systems. The selected scholars were Michael Acquafredda, Michael Allen, William Errickson.



  • Michael Acquafredda

    Michael Acquafredda

    Michael Acquafredda is a PhD candidate in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources. His research is focused on ways that shellfish aquaculture can adapt to the rising ocean temperatures caused by climate change. Specifically, Mike is studying whether selectively breeding Atlantic surfclams for greater heat tolerance is a viable strategy for enhancing surfclam survival on warming coastal farms. He is currently a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow working at the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program and will be defending his dissertation in late 2020.
  • Michael Allen

    Michael Allen

    Michael Allen received his PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources in 2019 from Rutgers, where his dissertation focused on the interactions between climate, agriculture, and bird populations. He is currently a postdoc in Julie Lockwood's lab in the same department where he is working on coastal resiliency and biodiversity issues.
  • William Errickson

    William Errickson

    William Errickson is a PhD candidate in Plant Biology studying the role of rhizobacteria in ecosystems in the northeast in improving crop productivity and stress tolerance. His research is focused on microorganisms that can be used as biofertilizers to improve plant growth during stress conditions associated with climate change, such as heat and drought. Bill is also the Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County.

Rutgers GradCAP Scholars Michael Acquafredda, Michael Allen, and William Errickson attended a March 2019 workshop in Maine, capping off a year-long project offered by the USDA Department of Agriculture Northeast Climate Hub network. Mike Acquafreda helped to moderate a session and all the scholars participated in paper drafting, gave webinars, and wrote research abstracts.

GradCAP scholars at the March 2019 Conference at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

Publication in 2020
In 2020, all three scholars were co-authors of the essay "Convergence, continuity, and community: a framework for enabling emerging leaders to build climate solutions in agriculture, forestry, and aquaculture" published in Climatic Change. Read their publication here.