A grant from UMass President Robert Caret’s 2015 Science and Technology Initiatives Fund has been awarded to SMAST Professors Cynthia Pilskaln, research leader, and Brian Howes, collaborator, for the “Sustainable Seafood Collaboratory” project.
With a focus on assessing and advancing opportunities for marine aquaculture in the Commonwealth, the Collaboratory integrates sustainable seafood research across the academic, non-profit, and industry sectors. The Collaboratory will facilitate the development of marine aquaculture research through design and testing of mariculture systems that support healthy, sustainable, and resilient fisheries in the Commonwealth.
“The project is focused on shellfish (primarily oysters) health and development–we would like to examine this relative to changing nutrient, dissolved oxygen and pH regimes,” says Pilskaln.
Portions of the grant totaling $125,000 will also be divided among UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, and the New England Aquarium to address issues in the state’s marine economy.
The SMAST grant amount, which will be distributed over an 18-month period, will provide partial salary support for the lead scientist, a technician, and graduate research assistants, as well as support costs of stakeholder workshops. Seed funding will be utilized for pilot research on monitoring and mitigation of seafood-borne illnesses.
Additionally, the grant will be leveraged to secure funding from federal agencies such as the USDA, NOAA, and NMFS; private foundations such as the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; and private sector partners, including Benchmark Holdings, PLC.