The Simons Foundation has announced a $40 million grant to the University of Hawai'i to launch the Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology at U-H Manoa.
With the aim of advancing understanding of the biology, ecology, and biogeochemistry of microbial processes that dominate the planet's largest biome, the oceans, the collaborative effort will measure, model, and experimentally manipulate a complex system representative of a broad swath of the Pacific Ocean roughly a hundred kilometers north of Oahu.
More specifically, a multidisciplinary team of scientists who share a common interest in microbial oceanography will work to address some of the long-standing scientific challenges and previously unattainable research goals of the discipline through highly resolved spatial and temporal analyses of a representative ocean benchmark, Station ALOHA, which is located in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.
"The Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) and the Hawai'i Ocean Time-series program have been studying Station ALOHA for over twenty-five years," said professor David Karl of UHM's School of Ocean and Earth Science Technology. "So we have a good understanding of its physical variability and how that's structured. And now we want to build upon that information — and add new measurements, that include genomics, metabolism, molecular biology — to better understand the blueprint of life in the open ocean setting, how everything is connected, and how all of these independent phenomena work together to make the ecosystem whole."
"SCOPE is the foundation's first project in microbial oceanography," said Marian Carlson, director of life sciences at Simons Foundation. "We are confident that collaborative efforts by this terrific team of scientists will lead to new discoveries and deeper understanding of the microbial ecosystem."