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June 24, 2013

David Karl and Edward DeLong awarded $4.2M to pursue high risk research in marine microbial ecology

L-R: Dr. Karl and Dr. DeLong outside  the Daniel K. Inouye C-MORE Hale laboratory, UH Mānoa. Photo by Anthony Consillio.HONOLULU - The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded Dr. David Karl and Dr. Edward DeLong, both UH Mānoa professors in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) individual grants totaling $4.2M to support their marine research. These awards are part of the Moore Foundation’s national Marine Microbiology Initiative that awarded 16 scientists from 14 different institutions a total of up to $35 million over five years to pursue pioneering research in the field of marine microbial ecology.

The funding will enable researchers to explore how the trillions upon trillions of microscopic organisms at the base of the ocean’s food webs interact with each other and their environment. It will help scientists understand how the ocean’s most abundant yet smallest organisms affect the movement of nutrients in our oceans. The funding will also provide new insights—and lead to new and exciting questions—about our basic understanding of ocean ecosystems and pressing issues like climate change.

“These funds will support a team of students, post docs and technicians to continue our ongoing efforts to understand the complex nature of life in the ocean” said Dr. David Karl.  “Our research will be conducted at sea, where the marine microbes live. We can’t wait to get started!”

The Marine Microbiology Initiative investigators were selected from a strong pool of applicants from around the world through an open competition. Awardees demonstrated creativity, innovation and potential to make major, new breakthroughs.

“We’re very excited and extremely grateful to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation” said Dr. Edward DeLong.  “These awards will allow us to undertake new high risk, high gain research and technology programs, that would be difficult to implement using more traditional funding sources.”

Dr. DeLong is the first scientist the University of Hawai‘i has hired under the auspices of the UH Innovation Initiative.

“Together, these scientists will challenge the way we think about our oceans,” added Chief Program Officer Vicki Chandler. “Marine microbes make up over 90% of the biomass in the ocean, and we know they are critically linked to ocean health and productivity. But even with the advances of the last eight years in understanding who these microbes are, we know little about what they do and how they interact. With these awards, we’re helping support and connect scientists from across different disciplines to identify and fill these gaps in existing knowledge.”

UH Mānoa Chancellor Tom Apple concluded, “These prestigious awards will give our trailblazing scientists the resources to explore new frontiers and make new discoveries that will ultimately benefit us all.”

To learn how you can support the students, programs and research at SOEST, please contact Lori Admiral at  or (808) 956-5747.

You can also make a secure gift online


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