Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2005
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Funds Support University of Maryland, University of South Florida,
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Research Efforts

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded $100,000 to three institutions - University of Maryland at College Park ($35,287), University of South Florida ($47,770), and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission ($16,944) - to study nutrients in microbial communities. The goal of this research is to better understand how the changing nutrient load from the Everglades restoration effort will affect Florida Bay. The funding is the final installment of a two-year grant from NOAA, which has a total value of approximately $200,000.

South Florida is the site of a $7.8 billion restoration effort to revitalize the Everglades and restore the water quality of Florida Bay. Part of this effort will include the return of surface flow through the Everglades, which will change the form, relative amount, and delivery of dissolved nutrients such as nitrogen, carbon, and phosphorus. Based on studying the concentrations, absorption rate, and cycling of these nutrients in microbial communities, researchers hope to better understand the effects of the restoration effort and to suggest strategies for nutrient management.

“Studying microbial dynamics as affected by changing nutrients will give us the tools to better understand linkages between marine resources. This is critical to management of our estuarine communities,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA’s partnership with University of Maryland, University of South Florida, and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission will help us to understand how to reduce nutrient pollution not only to Florida Bay, but all marine systems.”

The researchers will examine nutrient concentration and microbial community makeup, as well as nutrient uptake rates and isotopic composition and change to determine functional relationships. The Florida Bay Science Program recently said that measurements of composition and availability of nutrients to microbial communities are essential to understand the functional relationships in the Bay.

Each year, the NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research awards approximately $25 million in grants to institutions of higher education, state, local and tribal governments, and other non-profit research institutions to assist NOAA in fulfilling its mission to study our coastal oceans. NOAA-sponsored competitive research programs, such as this one, demonstrate NOAA's commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 35 years.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. It balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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