The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has awarded a $750,000 space grant to the University of Guam through its Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program to study the geography of coral reefs in Micronesia. The funding is for three years.
UOG also received a sub-award of $250,000 through a research partnership with the University of Hawaii under its NASA space grant EPSCoR award, bringing the total funding to $1 million.
The UOG Marine Laboratory will spearhead the EPSCoR space grant project, which will create a geodatabase about coral reefs in Guam and Micronesia. Detailed geographic information about ocean and land conditions, including sedimentation, water quality and more will be analyzed in partnership with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists. The data will be used to help predict and forecast reef fish spawning aggregation sites in Micronesia.
“This project will contribute to very sophisticated ocean science analysis that will also bolster our other research projects in the genomics of reef organisms,” said Dr. John Peterson, UOG director of Research and Sponsored Programs.
The geospatial information gathered will further NASA research and technology development by contributing to the science and engineering requirements of coming NASA missions. The geodatabase also establishes the foundation of a cutting-edge resource for the study of coral reef health.
“We expect to increase our capacity in GIS and remote sensing, which will augment the University’s research disciplines,” said Dr. Romina King, assistant professor/UOG NASA EPSCoR associate director. “We hope to also strengthen our relationship with NASA to allow for future research collaborations and to attract quality scientists and students.”
Under its NASA space grant EPSCoR award, the University of Hawaii at Manoa has partnered with UOG’s Water and Environmental Research Institute and College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences to study coastal freshwater discharge from the Northern Guam Lens using thermal infra-red sensing and self-guided drones.
A total of 22 institutions received NASA space grant funding in this cycle.
“We have world-class scientists and researchers here at UOG, and our work greatly benefits our island and Region,” said Dr. Robert Underwood, UOG president. “These grant awards continue to strengthen the University’s research portfolio and develop UOG into a significant nexus of vital research and data exchange.” (UOG)