Soliciting proposals for use of Aquarius U/W habitat
Alina M. Szmant
szmanta at uncwil.edu
Thu Jul 19 19:00:19 EDT 2001
The deadline for submission of proposals for coral reef or related research
using the unique research facility provided by the U/W Habitat Aquarius is
fast approaching. The habitat is located at ca. 60 ft depth at the outer
edge of the Florida reef tract, off Conch Reef. It is an ideal research
platform for studies that require lots and lots of U/W time and night
diving, and/or require access to computers and other electronic lab or
field equipment. It can accomodate dive teams of 4 scientists, and
additional scientific support can be accomodated on-shore at the field
lab. The NURC/UNCW program tries to fund 6 to 8 research programs each
funding year for high-quality research using the habitat. Investigators
can also request additional day-boat support for complimentary work in
Proposals are due August 20th. A more detailed description of the entire
NURC RFP follows. Please contact Dr. Steven Miller or myself if you'd like
more information about the capabilities of the habitat, or to discuss
potential research ideas. We strongly encourage investigators from other
countries to consider applying for Aquarius time.
CORAL REEF RESEARCH FUNDING: FINAL NOTICE
Aquarius Underwater Laboratory in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Aquarius is part of a multifaceted coral research program that is operated
by The National Undersea Research Center at the University of North
Carolina at Wilmington. The underwater laboratory is a saturation diving
facility located at Conch Reef, 3.5 miles offshore, approximately 60 feet
deep, and adjacent to well developed deep spur and groove coral reefs. The
advantages of saturation diving from Aquarius over conventional surface
based diving are significant:
1. Nearly unlimited bottom time (9 hours at 95 feet or less)
2. Platform with sophisticated power and computer capabilities to conduct
in situ experiments
3. Round the clock access to the coral reef that is independent of surface
Educational and outreach opportunities also exist based on newly installed
video conferencing equipment that allows point-to-point connections
anywhere in the world fast and easy. Web cameras and video streaming are
also routinely used to support education and outreach efforts. For more
information please visit: http://www.uncwil.edu/nurc/aquarius
Projects are selected by peer review based on scientific merit and
relevance to the program's mission. A maximum of $50,000 in science support
may be requested. Awards from previous years averaged $25,000 and are
partly determined by NOAA funding to the center, and partly by peer review
rankings. Undersea system and support vessel time are provided by the
center at no cost to the principal investigator. A full description of the
entire 2002 research announcement for work throughout the southeast United
States can be found at the center's web site:
For 2002, in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Dry
Tortugas the following projects are identified as high priority, but
proposals are not limited only to these topics:
Descriptive and process based studies that evaluate the effectiveness
of marine protected areas.
Coral reef research and monitoring programs that help managers
identify factors affecting the condition of coral reefs in Florida,
especially work that helps distinguish between natural and humancaused changes.
Studies that increase our knowledge of factors that affect
biodiversity on coral reefs and other nearshore habitats in the Florida Keys.
Monitoring and research projects that specifically identify factors
responsible for causing direct and indirect effects of coral decline. For
example, how much coral is killed by coral bleaching, disease, and other
Coral studies that focus on factors affecting recruitment, including
ecology, population genetics, and innovative work that enhances recruitment
rates for restoration.
Studies that measure coral growth and/or bioerosion rates, especially
within the context of factors affecting coral reef condition.
Innovative projects that use or develop bioindicators (at biochemical
or organismal scales) to assess overall reef condition, or detect
significant ecological or environmental change (e.g. nutrient enrichment,
chemical pollution, global warming). Whole organism studies are sought
that focus on (but are not limited to) echinoderms, smaller benthic
invertebrates, and other benthic species that respond quickly to
Available systems in addition to Aquarius (as indicated in previous
announcements) to support undersea research in 2002 include:
Scuba and nitrox diving throughout the Keys, including shore based
and laboratory support out of the center's Key Largo facility.
Mixed gas scuba diving to 300 fsw.
Remotely Operated Vehicles to 900 fsw.
Saturation diving from the Aquarius undersea laboratory
Preliminary proposals are strongly encouraged to ensure that proposed
research is appropriate for current science initiatives and are
operationally feasible. Preproposals consist of a brief, twopage or less
description of the proposed investigation, including objectives, methods,
justification and budget. Proposal guidelines contain a full description of
center facilities and systems, proposal conditions and format, and required
forms and are available at the Center's web site (address above).
Proposal deadline: Final Proposals must be received by the center no later
than August 20, 2001.
For further information, contact:
5600 Masonboro Loop Road
1 Marvin Moss Lane
Wilmington, NC 28409
pottst at uncwil.edu
For questions related to the Florida Program or Aquarius please contact:
Dr. Steven Miller
millers at uncwil.edu
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