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$800K Awarded to Study Climate Change Effects in Narragansett Bay

Narragansett – The University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resource Center (URI) served as host to recipients of $800,000 in environmentally based research grants on Thursday. The purpose of the grants awarded was to determine the effects of climate change and climate variability on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island’s marine life ecosystems.

Gov. Gina Raimondo poses with recipients of 2015 STAC grant awards in February at URI's Coastal Institute.

Gov. Gina Raimondo poses with recipients of 2015 STAC grant awards in February at URI’s Coastal Institute.

Grant funding was awarded to six teams of Rhode Island researchers in conjunction with the National Science Foundation (NSF). The teams gathered at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography to receive the awards from the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) and Governor Gina Raimondo.

The 2015 Rhode Island Research Alliance Collaborative Research Grants were based on cooperative projects, marrying Rhode Island’s public and private university researchers and the Environmental Protection Agency in scientific collaboration.

David Savitz, STAC Co-Chair and Vice President of Research at Brown University, considered the economic development and benefit influences of the projects.

“We recognize that competing for federal research dollars, we are not the only ones doing that. There’s a whole country full of very smart people with great ideas,” said Savitz.

Video – “We need more shots on goal.” ~ David Savitz

David Savitz, STAC 2015 from Tracey O’Neill on Vimeo.

“I’m excited,” said Raimondo. “It’s days like these that make me happy to be Governor and I’m proud of you.”

Finding a positive in the overwhelming adversities of climate change, Raimondo looked for a “silver lining” in the possibility of job creation.

The 2015 Rhode Island Research Alliance Collaborative Research Grants were based on cooperative projects, marrying Rhode Island’s public and private university researchers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in scientific collaboration.

Comprised of members from the University of Rhode Island and its Graduate School of Oceanography, Brown University, Roger Williams University, Rhode Island College and the EPA, teams are set to study climate change variables affecting commercial and recreational fisheries, including aquaculture.

The Port of Galilee stands quiet on a Sunday afternoon in October 2014. (Photo Tracey C. O'Neill)

The Port of Galilee stands quiet on a Sunday afternoon in October 2014. (Photo Tracey C. O’Neill)

Identifying factors in marine ecosystem response to pollutants, as well as physical and chemical changes in Narragansett Bay were key goals of the projects.

Teams also planned to focus on development of monitoring tools, including coastal waterway modeling as a means of economic and environmental risk assessment.

“The state in its wisdom has given us additional funding on top of the match (NSF) so that we can expand this type of research,” said Gerald Sonnenfeld, STAC Co-Chair and University of Rhode Island Vice President of Research and Development.

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