LMRCSC is pleased to announce that doctoral student Jan Vicente (UMCES IMET) has been awarded the prestigious NOAA Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship. Administered through NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the Scholarship program supports students conducting research in areas which will contribute to the understanding and management of the ecosystems and cultural resources of the sanctuaries. Jan was one of three students to receive the Scholarship, selected from among 254 applicants, and is the first LMRCSC student so honored.
While much current research is being focused on the potential impact of ocean acidification – a result of rising carbon dioxide levels and climate change – on reef-building corals, less attention has been paid to the effects on sponges, an important component of coral reef communities. Many sponges construct skeletons of calcium carbonate spicules or collagen fibers and it is unclear how this process would be affected in an acidified environment. Jan’s research, under the guidance of Dr. Russell Hill, will focus on the production of silicatein and collagen in black ball and red vase sponges common to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary under simulated acidification conditions.
The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship provides a stipend of $30,000.00 and $12,000.00 in tuition and travel support per year for 4 years.
“It’s an incredible feeling of accomplishment” said Jan. “It makes all the work I have done worthwhile”