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Grant Awards Other 2
Image: Karl Spencer, iStock

Scientific Research Disaster Recovery Grants 1 (Awarded 2018)

Topic: Small Grants to Help with Repair, Replacement, or Recovery of Equipment, Data, or Other Research Materials Damaged or Lost as a Result of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and Their Aftermaths
Total Awards: 22 projects totaling $621,548
Grant Type: Other
- Cycle 1
- Cycle 2

Aaron Adams
Award Amount: $29,800
Affiliation: Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
Purpose: To replace monitoring equipment used in a long-term effort tracking populations of two coastal fish species, permit and Atlantic tarpon, to inform fisheries and habitat management. The equipment was lost as a result of Hurricane Irma.

Anna Armitage
Award Amount: $10,000
Affiliation: Texas A&M University–Galveston
Purpose: To assist with the removal of Hurricane Harvey debris from a coastal wetland research site.

Bruce Barber
Award Amount: $33,106
Affiliation: Gulf Shellfish Institute
Purpose: To support the recovery of a research project examining the relationships among filter-feeding bivalves, water quality, sediment quality, and seagrass distribution. Hurricane Irma caused significant losses of clam specimens and related support equipment at the project’s experiment site.

Kim Bassos-Hull
Award Amount: $8,863
Affiliation: Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Purpose: To replace equipment used to support the long-term monitoring of animal movements in Sarasota Bay and adjacent Gulf of Mexico waters. The equipment, which provides data to a variety of research efforts, was lost during Hurricane Irma.

Bernard Castillo II
Award Amount: $38,053
Affiliation: University of the Virgin Islands
Purpose: To support the recovery of a research project examining factors that affect the movement and colonization of areas by lionfish, an invasive species in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Impacts from Hurricane Irma contributed to project delay, resulted in lost equipment, and necessitated new data collection due to major disruptions to study areas.

Katy Cummings
Award Amount: $9,716
Affiliation: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Purpose: To replace equipment used to support the long-term monitoring of coral reefs off the coast of southern Florida. The equipment was lost as a result of Hurricane Irma.

Judson Curtis
Award Amount: $49,657
Affiliation: Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi
Purpose: To recover and replace equipment and data used in fisheries research that was displaced or lost because of Hurricane Harvey.

Deana Erdner
Award Amount: $45,000
Affiliation: The University of Texas at Austin
Purpose: To replace toxic algae research specimens lost as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

Colette Feehan
Award Amount: $18,362
Affiliation: Montclair State University
Purpose: To replace equipment and establish new study sites for coral reef research disrupted by Hurricane Irma.

Lee Fuiman
Award Amount: $49,412
Affiliation: The University of Texas at Austin
Purpose: To replace equipment used in marine ecosystem research that was destroyed during Hurricane Harvey.

Dean Grubbs
Award Amount: $11,060
Affiliation: Florida State University
Purpose: To replace and deploy equipment used to support the long-term monitoring of animal movements in the Apalachicola Bay in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. The equipment, which provides data to a variety of research efforts, was lost during Hurricane Irma.

Darren Henrichs
Award Amount: $30,459
Affiliation: Texas A&M University
Purpose: To replace equipment and restore the operations of a system that monitors for harmful algae blooms along the Texas coast. The system has been offline since Hurricane Harvey due to storm-incurred losses.

Adeljean Ho
Award Amount: $46,500
Affiliation: Bethune-Cookman University
Purpose: To support the recovery of a research and demonstration project to evaluate and promote the effectiveness of using living shorelines to reduce nonpoint source pollution from urban runoff. Project sites were significantly damaged by Hurricane Irma and require reconstruction.

Xinping Hu
Award Amount: $9,814
Affiliation: Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi
Purpose: To repair and replace sensors used in ocean acidification research that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

Stephen Kajiura
Award Amount: $6,175
Affiliation: Florida Atlantic University
Purpose: To replace equipment used to support the long-term monitoring of animal movements along southeastern Florida. The equipment, which provides data to a variety of research efforts, was lost during Hurricane Irma.

Larry Lloyd
Award Amount: $23,833
Affiliation: Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi
Purpose: To replace equipment and restore a water quality monitoring platform in San Antonio Bay. The platform, which provides data to a variety of research and environmental management efforts, was damaged during Hurricane Harvey.

Aran Mooney
Award Amount: $46,500
Affiliation: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Purpose: To replace equipment used in coral reef research that was lost during Hurricane Irma.

Jenny Oakley
Award Amount: $7,119
Affiliation: University of Houston–Clear Lake
Purpose: To assist with the replacement of a research vehicle used in river monitoring research that was destroyed during Hurricane Harvey.

Brice Orange
Award Amount: $42,700
Affiliation: OrangeWave Innovative Science, LLC
Purpose: To replace equipment and restore a network of environmental monitoring stations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Impacts from Hurricane Irma contributed to destruction of the monitoring stations, which provide data to a variety of research efforts.

Brandi Reese
Award Amount: $17,170
Affiliation: Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi
Purpose: To replace sensors used in a Texas wetland study that were lost or damaged during Hurricane Harvey.

Michael Starek
Award Amount: $41,084
Affiliation: Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi
Purpose: To re-establish and install equipment for research sites used in Gulf of Mexico geospatial modeling research that were impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Robert Weisberg
Award Amount: $47,165
Affiliation: University of South Florida
Purpose: To repair real-time meteorological and oceanographic monitoring research moorings that were damaged during Hurricane Irma.


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Grants - Awards - Other 3
Image: NOAA Okeanos Explorer

Collaboration Grants 2 (Awarded 2018)

Topic: Seed Grants for Gulf Research Program Early-Career Research Fellows to Collaborate on Projects That Take Their Research in Previously Unexplored Directions
Total Awards: 4 projects totaling $412,724
Grant Type: Collaboration
Grant Type Description: To support cross-disciplinary research among the Gulf Research Program’s network of Early-Career Research Fellows

Assessment of Coupled Human-Infrastructure Systems Adaptation to Evolving Flooding and Storm Surge Hazards Under Sea-Level Rise
Award Amount: $80,000
Co-Project Directors: Ali Mostafavi (2017 Early-Career Research Fellow; Texas A&M University) and Ashley Ross (2017 Early-Career Research Fellow; Texas A&M University–Galveston)
Project Team Affiliations: Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University–Galveston
Overview: Climate change is altering the hazard profiles that face coastal communities. Hurricanes are becoming more intense and frequent, sea level rise is encroaching on the built environment, and flooding associated with changing precipitation patterns is becoming more acute. Meanwhile, these changes are unfolding amid aging urban infrastructure serving growing populations that drive continued development and sprawl. Within discussions of community resilience and coastal adaptation, not enough attention has been paid to societal expectations for infrastructure resilience and the implications of these expectations for infrastructure decision making relating to adaptation. This project is examining where, how, and to what extent public perceptions of changing hazard profiles and expectations for infrastructure systems interact with adaptation planning and infrastructure prioritization in coastal communities. The aim is to provide guidance for infrastructure decision makers on how to better account for societal expectations and objectives in their decision processes.

Do the Microbiomes of Benthic Foraminifera Facilitate Heavy Metal Resistance?
Award Amount: $108,189
Co-Project Directors: Michael Martínez-Colón (2017 Early-Career Research Fellow; Florida A&M University) and Cameron Thrash (2017 Early-Career Research Fellow; University of Southern California)
Project Team Affiliations: Florida A&M University and University of Southern California
Overview: Microorganisms play an important role in many environmental processes, including bioremediation of contaminants. The rapid response of certain microorganisms, specifically benthic foraminifera (shelled protists), to develop a resistance to heavy metal pollution has led to their widespread use as bioindicators of ecosystem health in coastal and estuarine ecosystems. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms responsible for their heavy metal resistance and the roles these mechanisms might play in decontamination processes. It is thought that associated microbial communities may be an important part of these mechanisms. This project is examining the microbiomes associated with heavy metal resistant benthic foraminifera to identify specific microbial community members that mediate heavy metal resistance and thereby detoxify their sediments. Findings will assist in estuarine environmental management.

Is Gulf of Mexico Marine Benthic Ecosystem Resilience Geochemically Coupled to Riverine-Derived Mineral Delivery?
Award Amount: $125,379
Co-Project Directors: Jordon Beckler (2016 Early-Career Research Fellow; Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute), Michael Martínez-Colón (2017 Early-Career Research Fellow; Florida A&M University), and Christoph Aeppli (2017 Early-Career Research Fellow; Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences)
Project Team Affiliations:
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Florida A&M University, and Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
Overview: Many shallow and deepwater hydrocarbon exploration sites are geographically located in areas of the ocean significantly influenced by riverine inflows, which deposit terrestrially derived organic matter and minerals. Terrestrially influenced sediments can provide geochemical protection against hydrocarbon and heavy metal contaminants by potentially accelerating their degradation. These geochemical and ecological processes occurring in the benthic zone
the area that includes the sediment surface and some subsurface layerscan play a relatively large role in controlling the chemistry of the water column above this zone, thereby having implications for what happens during an oil spill. This project is examining how terrestrially derived deposits from river inflows affect contaminant degradation and influence the resilience of benthic ecosystems, with an emphasis on mitigating future hydrocarbon spills. Findings could inform river discharge management, offshore well placement, and expected benthic degradation processes and rates in the event of a future spill.

Mitigation of Toxic Oil Weathering Products by Microbes
Award Amount: $99,156
Co-Project Directors: Christoph Aeppli (2017 Early-Career Research Fellow; Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences) and Cameron Thrash (2017 Early-Career Research Fellow; Louisiana State University)
Project Team Affiliations: Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and Louisiana State University
Overview: After a marine oil spill, a variety of byproducts are formed as the oil interacts with the surrounding environment. Oxygenated hydrocarbons are one such byproduct that is produced when oil on the surface of the water interacts with sunlight. While oxygenated hydrocarbons are potentially toxic to aquatic organisms, there is only a limited understanding about their environmental fate. It is known that marine bacteria play an important role in the degradation of other oil byproducts, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and hydrocarbons in general; it is not known what role marine bacteria play in the degradation of oxygenated hydrocarbons. This project aims to address this knowledge gap for oxygenated hydrocarbons. The goal is to increase the understanding of the processes that affect hydrocarbon cycling and degradation in marine environments and to improve the capabilities to predict the ecosystem and human health risks of oil residues after oil spills.


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Grant Awards Other 1
Image: Tom MacKenzie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Collaboration Grants 1 (Awarded 2017)

Topic: Seed grants for the Gulf Research Program's Early-Career Research Fellows to collaborate on projects that take their research in previously unexplored directions.
Total Awards: 3 projects totaling $147,239
Grant Type: Collaboration
Grant Type Description: To support cross-disciplinary research among the Gulf Research Program’s network of Early-Career Research Fellows

Assessing the Use of Two Rapid Sensing Techniques to Determine Oil Content and Source of Persistent Oil in the Marine Environment
Award Amount: $73,821
Co-Project Directors: Anna Michel (2015 Early-Career Research Fellow; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) and Helen White (2015 Early-Career Research Fellow; Haverford College)
Project Team Affiliations: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Haverford College
Overview: Oil enters marine environments from a variety of sources, including oil exploration and extraction, accidental spills, and natural seeps on the ocean floor. Once oil enters these environments, its residues can persist and migrate for decades, intermixing with oil residues introduced at various times from various sources. Identifying the source of oil residues is important for addressing specific sources and for understanding the cycling and long-term fate of oil in the marine environment. However, present techniques for doing so are time consuming and require technical expertise. This project aims to develop a quick and reliable method requiring minimal expertise that can be used to detect and distinguish oil residues from different sources through chemical signatures. Ultimately this technique could result in a tool for use by first responders and coastal communities dealing with oil spills.

Polymer Thin Films as Sensors of Atmospheric Particle pH to Predict Impacts on Climate and Air Quality
Award Amount: $49,566
Co-Project Directors: Julie Albert (2015 Early-Career Research Fellow; Tulane University) and Kerri Pratt (2016 Early-Career Research Fellow; University of Michigan)
Project Team Affiliations: Tulane University and University of Michigan
Overview: Atmospheric aerosol particles are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the atmosphere. These particles are introduced from both natural sources (e.g., volcanoes, dust storms, vegetation) and human activities (e.g., vehicle emissions, power plants, industrial processes) and can significantly impact climate, air quality, and human health. In the Gulf of Mexico and other areas with offshore energy production, oil and gas extraction operations are a major source of atmospheric aerosol particles. Presently, much remains unknown about the formation, transport, interaction, and toxicity of these particles, particularly submicron particles that can be difficult to detect or analyze, and their effects on coastal communities. This project aims to develop a sensor to better characterize properties of submicron atmospheric particles. This information can then be used to improve the understanding and prediction of the impact of aerosol particles on air quality, human health, and climate, particularly in coastal communities.

Surface Modifications to Underwater Gliders for the Deterrence of Remoras
Award Amount: $23,852
Co-Project Directors: Jordon Beckler (2016 Early-Career Research Fellow; Mote Marine Laboratory) and Julie Albert (2015 Early-Career Research Fellow; Tulane University)
Project Team Affiliations: Mote Marine Laboratory and Tulane University
Overview: Underwater gliders are playing an increasingly essential role in ocean exploration. Unfortunately, glider missions in the coastal waters of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico often fail because remoras, a type of fish also known as “suckerfish,” attach themselves to the gliders, causing them to sink. This interaction ends the glider missions and creates challenging situations for retrieval of the devices. Little is presently known about the mechanisms involved in remora interactions with gliders, such as where the remoras attach to the glider structure and where and when interactions are most likely to occur. This lack of understanding limits finding solutions to the problem. This project aims to improve glider operation success in the Gulf of Mexico by trying to determine where, when, and how remoras attach to gliders and by using that information to build mechanisms into glider design that can help reduce the occurrence of remora attachment.


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