California Sea Grant announces 2019 new faculty awards

Katherine Leitzell

California Sea Grant has selected four research projects in the 2019 Special Focus Award research competition. The projects total over $250,000 in federal funding for one year, designated by Congress through the National Sea Grant College Program.

“California Sea Grant has a long history of supporting new faculty, postdocs, and graduate students, and I was pleased to see the successful proposals in this round, which bring innovative approaches to explore several key challenges facing California’s coastal ecosystems,” says Director Shauna Oh, who joined the program in February.

The following awards run from March 2019 through February 2020.

Fog and fish: Stream temperature reduction due to coastal fog in central California’s anadromous salmonid habitat
Principal Investigator: Sara Baguskas, San Francisco State University
Project Number: R/HCE-10

This project aims to shed light on the relationships between coastal fog and stream temperatures in coastal California streams. The objective is to better understand where cool areas form that can serve as refuges for fish to survive hot and dry weather, which is projected to increase due to climate change.

Assessing the health and productivity of Southern California estuaries using high-throughput sequencing of benthic meiofauna
Principal Investigator: Holly Bik, University California Riverside
Project Number: R/HCE-08

Working with the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP), this project aims to develop the first standardized methods for meiofauna sampling as routine components of environmental assessments and monitoring.

Harnessing the power of population genomics to understand the dynamics of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. harmful algal blooms
Principal Investigator: Carly Kenkel, University of Southern California
Project Number: R/HCE-09

The diatom Pseudo-nitzschia produces a neurotoxin, domoic acid, which can cause serious illness or death in humans and marine animals, and closure of commercial fisheries during harmful algal bloom events. This project aims to develop a new method for assessing whether harmful algal bloom toxicity is influenced by genetic variation of the Pseudo-nitzschia community.

Impact of the San Francisco Bay Plume in the California north central coast
Principal Investigator: Piero Mazzini, San Francisco State University
Project Number R/HCE-11

As water from San Francisco Bay moves out into the ocean, it brings with it nutrients—as well as pollution. This project proposes to build a detailed model to better understand the dynamics of this water flow, providing key information for policy makers and resource managers.