Duke University has announced an $11 million gift from the Grainger Family Descendants Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Chicago Community Trust, for construction and operation of a marine lab research ship.
The gift to Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment includes $5 million to build and $6 million to operate the 68-foot oceangoing research vessel affiliated with the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina. Equipped with wet and dry labs, oceanographic equipment, a galley, and sleeping quarters, the ship will function as an oceangoing classroom where undergraduate and graduate students will receive field training in oceanography and marine biology and researchers from other institutions can conduct research in a range of fields, including marine ecology and conservation, biological oceanography, and renewable ocean energy development.
The ship also will be used to support science outreach programs for local K-12 teachers, students, and community members and will be available to other institutions on a charter basis for scientific or educational purposes. Design and construction is expected to take about two years.
"Our small vessel, the Richard Barber, is a great platform for daylong research trips but is not able to support overnight operations," said Andrew Read, the marine lab's director and Stephen A. Toth Professor of Marine Biology. "The new boat will be able to operate in waters up to a hundred nautical miles from shore and stay at sea for days at a time. We're very excited by the prospect."
(Photo credit: All American Marine)