Western Washington University’s Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes has been awarded two federal grants, totaling $867,000.
The grants are from the National Science Foundation and the North Pacific Research Board. The three-year NSF grant will be used to research microscopic bacteria that is responsible for much of Earth’s photosynthesis. The four-year NPRB grant will be used to study groundfish in Alaska.
Below is the release from WWU:
Western Washington University’s Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes, has been awarded more than $867,000 in the form of two federal grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB).
The three-year NSF grant, in collaboration with scientists at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, will investigate a group of microscopic bacteria that is responsible for a large proportion of the Earth’s photosynthesis from its habitat in the ocean’s surface waters. This diverse group of microbes is responsible both for production of atmospheric carbon dioxide as well as the production of carbon sources at the base of the oceanic food web that ultimately supports larger animals in the sea.
The project will examine the dynamics between the microbes and the tiny predators that may control their diversity and ecological success. One element of the research will be to examine the hypothesis that these tiny bacteria possess chemical defenses against predation, leading to their dominance as regulators of food web dynamics in the world’s oceans. The project will use approaches ranging from genes to ecosystems and will involve undergraduate and graduate students.
The four-year NPRB project, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Washington, University of Alaska, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will examine factors that lead to large variations in survival of five commercially important groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska.
The study, whose funding will become available in October, will focus on Pacific perch, sablefish, Pacific cod, arrowtooth flounder and walleye pollock. Shannon Point Marine Scientist Suzanne Strom and her students will study the organisms and processes at the base of the food web that support these species and that are likely instrumental in influencing their annual variations in abundance. They will carry out their studies on multiple oceanographic cruises in the Gulf of Alaska. Their results will be incorporated into analyses that include other components of the study such as the survival and transport of larval fish and the forage fish that are the primary prey of adults. The goal of the study is to understand and predict how climate and ecosystem processes influence the production of these commercially important fishery species.
The Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes is a program and facility of Western Washington University with a mission to support of academic programs in the marine sciences at the university. To learn more about the facilities and programs of SPMC, access its web site at www.wwu.edu/spmc.