NURP/NIUST researcher awarded NSF Grant
This story entered on 14th Jan, 2008 06:58:50 AM
The National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST),
an institute under NOAA's Undersea Research Program (NURP), provided
the seed funding for the study of a new coral disease that led to
a National Science Foundation Grant for a team of scientists at
the University of Mississippi and the University of Alabama.
Dr. Deb Gochfeld, Senior Scientist with the University of Mississippis
National Center for Natural Products Research is part of a collaborative
team with Dr. Julie Olson at University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa
and Dr. Bob Thacker at the University of Alabama at Birmingham that
will look at a new disease plaguing a particular species of sponge
in the Caribbean.
Aplysina Red Band Syndrome was first identified in the summer of
2004 in the Bahamas with seed funding from a NURP/NIUST grant.
The newly identified disease attacks one of the most abundant species
of sponges on the reefs in the Bahamas. Ten percent of this
particular sponge is already affected, said Gochfeld, it
has the potential to cause a lot of damage.
Gochfeld, Olson and Thacker plan to study the ecology, microbiology,
genetics and chemical ecology of this disease on Caribbean reefs,
in order to learn how the disease is transmitted, what is causing
it and what its effects are. By attacking the new disease from all
possible angles, the biologists hope to identify ways to stop the
potential damage to this already fragile reef system.