FAU Harbor Branch Researchers Receive First FAU Research Cores Internal Pilot (RCIP) Grant

Boca Raton, FL  Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute recently received the first FAU Research Cores Internal Pilot (RCIP) Grant to support water sample nutrient analysis project with FAU’s Research Cores Water Analysis Lab (WAL) facility. The awarded funding will be used by researchers Megan Davis, Ph.D., research professor; Paul Wills, Ph.D., research professor and associate director for research; and Jordon Beckler, Ph.D., assistant research professor, to further investigate optimal growing conditions for various species of the halophyte ‘salt-loving’ plant, also known as sea vegetables, for the purpose of applying the findings to commercial growth, harvest and sale of sea vegetables for human consumption.

“Sea vegetables are mineral-rich plants and make a great addition to our diets,” said Davis. “When cooking with these sea vegetables, there is no need to add salt since natural salts are available. Our sea vegetable plants flourish on the nutrients provided by the fish in the aquaculture system. This grant opportunity gives the research team the means to measure nutrient levels associated with optimal growth patterns of the plants, a critical step in implementing the most sustainable processes for commercial growth and harvest of sea vegetable species.”  

Water sample nutrient analysis researchers were awarded $5,000 and will be using FAU’s WAL facility to measure the water chemical compositions and nutrient concentrations in water samples taken from sea vegetable tanks in the Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture system (IMTA) at Harbor Branch. Water samples will be collected and analyzed before and after sea vegetable reservoir water changes – which is set to occur weekly – and daily during the week-long period. The concentrations observed will provide insight into the microbial processes and nutrient cycling yielding optimal growth of the plants.

The newly established RCIP grant program exists to provide investigators access to FAU Research Core services for research projects that have potential to obtain external and competitive grant programs targeted to the subject matter. The pilot awards are offered to FAU researchers in sums of $500 to $5,000 for use at any of the current FAU Research Core facilities. To learn more, visit www.fau.edu/research-admin/cores/.

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students across six campuses located along the southeast Florida coast. In recent years, the University has doubled its research expenditures and outpaced its peers in student achievement rates. Through the coexistence of access and excellence, FAU embodies an innovative model where traditional achievement gaps vanish. FAU is designated a Hispanic-serving institution, ranked as a top public university by U.S. News & World Report and a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit www.fau.edu 

About Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute:
Founded in 1971, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University is a research community of marine scientists, engineers, educators and other professionals focused on Ocean Science for a Better World. The institute drives innovation in ocean engineering, at-sea operations, drug discovery and biotechnology from the oceans, coastal ecology and conservation, marine mammal research and conservation, aquaculture, ocean observing systems and marine education. For more information, visit 
www.fau.edu/hboi.

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