Virginia Marine Resource Bulletin
Volume 44, Number 2, Summer 2012
By Margaret Pizer
Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) supports research efforts in a wide range of disciplines—from ecology to oceanography and from animal health to social science—all providing benefits to Virginia’s coastal environments and communities. VASG offers funding opportunities for graduate student projects, preliminary and pilot research, and larger-scale studies.
VASG’s Coastal and Marine Science Request for Proposals (RFP) supports research projects conducted by faculty and staff at Virginia higher education institutions. Funding priorities are guided by the VASG strategic plan, which has four focus areas: safe and sustainable seafood, healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems, sustainable and resilient coastal communities, and coastal and ocean literacy.
Twelve core research projects on topics ranging from Bay scallop restoration to mercury contamination in fish are currently wrapping up, and three core research projects began receiving funding in February of 2012.
VASG also collaborates with other Sea Grant programs in the Mid-Atlantic region to fund research on topics in marine and coastal science and social science that impact the entire region.
Program Development Funding
VASG also offers less formal funding opportunities for small-scale and exploratory projects, which allow researchers to collect enough preliminary data to prove a concept or strengthen an application for a larger grant.
Recent program development grants have supported research on living shorelines by a new faculty member at Christopher Newport University, preliminary investigation of selection for larval production in oysters at VIMS Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center (ABC), and several studies on microorganisms that affect the safety of Virginia’s shellfish for human consumption
As part of the national network for Sea Grant programs and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, VASG administers a variety of funding opportunities that emerge from those national programs. Several current research projects in this category focus on climate change adaptation, and others relate to Virginia’s aquaculture industry.
Graduate Research Fellowships
VASG has always supported graduate research, but this funding is now the central focus of the VASG Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Five fellows have been chosen to be part of the first cohort of this grant, and their research and outreach efforts are described on page 16 of this issue.